Pont Cassé tarish pit will remain blocked until the $250k owed is paid, say local truckers

Frustration has once again reached boiling point for local truckers who have not been paid for their services rendered almost six months ago, and as a result, for the past three days, the truckers have been taking action to demonstrate their dissatisfaction.

At 6 am on Monday, June 13, several truckers blocked the entrance to Dominica’s main tarish pit in Pont Cassé, preventing eight foreign trucks from leaving and others from getting in. The truckers have insisted that they will only move when the quarter of a million dollars owed to them is paid.

President of the Tipper Truckers Association of Dominica (TTAD), Anton Laville, explained that following a six-hour “awareness action” taken by local truckers in November 2021 under the Canfield cliff, to highlight the non-inclusion of local truckers in the construction of major projects on the island, their services were engaged earlier this year by Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sotradom Jacque Gaddarkhan for the  East Coast road project.

“From February of 2022, we started work with the gentleman and his company and some of our truckers worked for a period of three weeks. However, up to this date, we have not received any payments from the company,” Laville informed Dominica News Online (DNO) during a live interview at the start of their protest action on Monday.

He continued, “For five months we have not gotten paid. Right now, the project is continuing, tarish is being hauled from the tarish pit and our trucks are parked. The banks are calling me in relation to the other truckers who are not paying their mortgage on their trucks and they even threaten  legal action. So today, we decided to block the tarish pit and  prevent any of the haulings and to get the attention of Mr. Jacque Gaddarkhan.”

Laville said that with the assistance of the association’s lawyer,  13 letters had been sent to Gaddarkhan, but to date, all attempts made to get the monies owed have failed.

The TTAD president further disclosed that they have written to the Minister of Public Works, Senator Cassani Laville, to apprise him of the ongoing situation. He holds the view that the authorities can intervene to stop the further collapse of the trucking industry in Dominica.

“We’ve been trying our best to avoid all of this; some people may call us cowards, but we’ve always been trying our best to get the best outcome and the simplest outcome from the situation,” Treasurer of the TTAD, Everson Magloire, told DNO. “I have made quite a few trips to the office after preparing the bills and I’ve been told that it’s the  government that has not paid. I’ve heard the cheques are signed but we just couldn’t get them at the moment, and more excuses.”

Magloire went on to explain that the issue of the lack of employment for truckers spans over a decade, however, he said the situation has worsened following the passage of Hurricane Maria and fears are mounting that the members are nearing the end of their tether.

As such, outside of the full payment of the monies owed, they are also demanding that local truckers be allowed to work alongside Mr. Gaddarkhan who heads several local projects. They are also requesting that other local truckers be granted greater access to the tarish pit.

“The way we feel is that somebody is profiting from our misery and it is not the banks, because they are calling; it is not our families, and it is definitely not us, so somebody has to be profiting under our misery and today we’ve decided that’s it. We need to have a clear shot at survival in Dominica, so we are not moving, because we too have families to feed,” Magloire insisted.

Following their awareness action last year, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit met with the truckers and announced to the nation the establishment of a committee to propose rates that are “fair and reasonable” for the services offered by those in the trucking industry.

The committee, which is chaired by the Minister of Public Works, comprises representatives of the truckers association, the local contractors association or grouping, representatives of two of the larger foreign-owned contracting firms in Dominica and an internationally recognized and respected agency.

The executive member confirmed that members of the committee have since met and have agreed on some new rates, but these have not gone into effect as the issue of unemployment is still present.

Since the protest action began on Monday, the truckers have been offered a partial amount, but they have refused to accept it. Several truckers have also decided to sleep inside of their trucker for the past two nights, and remain resolute that they will not move unless all their outlined conditions are met.

Information reaching DNO on Wednesday afternoon indicates that the truckers have relented just a little from their hardline position of blocking all traffic in and out of the Pont Cassé tarish pit and have decided to allow access to local truckers seeking to transport tarish from the area for smaller projects on the island.

Magloire made it clear in an interview with journalist, Matt Peltier, that this concession did not apply the projects managed Sotradom.

“This morning after looking at the scene that one of our local truckers had to take her tarish from Portsmouth to bring right up the way here, we recognize that we are inflicting some pain on our own and that’s not the intention,” Magloire stated. “And therefore we’ve decided to make local access to the tarish pit, that if our local trucks want to go and get their tarish, to supply and to continue the construction industry around the country that uses the tarish, they are free to do so.”

However, the TTAD treasurer was adamant that no Sotradom trucks would be allowed to leave or to enter the tarish pit.

“The eight trucks of Gaddarkhan are not going to come out of the tarish pit and whatever we do here is only to give access for our local trucks who chose to go up to load their tarish up there,” Magloire insisted.

DNO’s attempts to get a comment from Sotradom’s management have so far been unsuccessful but we will continue our efforts to reach them as well as the minister responsible for Public Works.

The live DNO interview with some DTTA members can be viewed below.

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  1. June 17, 2022

    I agree with the truckers, you cannot be working hard expecting to get paid and up to now you cannot get 1 cent… while skerrit eating all Dominicans money living like a king smh and Dominicans so tebeh they not seeing that

  2. Lin clown
    June 16, 2022

    So now Robby playing politics.If I was Ghadachan I would stop the project for 3 months,let’s see if the truckers will block the pit for that long.I support the truckers,but a bunch of UWP AHOLES has to play politics with everything.Close the project indefinitely.The truckers should,and must be paid,government should see to that.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 2 Thumb down 18
    • Skipp
      June 16, 2022

      @Lin clown- Can I ask you what you do for work and what is the highest level of education you have attained? I am trying a my best not to look down on you because it is probably not your fault. I just find it very sad that a person with a computer or a phone could be like that.

      Then again you may be working by posting these non-sense and then again stupidity and ignorance often times are terminal illnesses.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 0
  3. N/A
    June 16, 2022

    I think the truckers asking the wrong person. Nothing happens that the government and ministers not aware of when those projects are being negotiated. Blame the govt for not negotiating to employ our local people because once they can line their pockets with the cut they get from making sure these deals go through they dont care about the local person trying to make a daily bread. So point this demonstration where it is supposed to be pointed. For years Skerrit does not care about dominicans and only cares about lining his pockets and the scraps to the ministers to keep their mouth shut. Deals are being made with no provisions for local people to work or any opportunities being created for local people. He only creates avenues for local people to keep begging him and depending on him so he can stay in power. Truckers direct this in the right direction. Ghardakan is just following directives from the contract negotiated by your favorite pm.

  4. winnie
    June 15, 2022

    I wonder if allu serious…

  5. Skipp
    June 15, 2022

    The sad thing about this is probably most of these truckers voted for Labour.- Now they crying, ashamed and are humiliated- reduced to beggar status…. Where JD song boy?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
  6. Bwa-banday
    June 15, 2022

    the truckers are a bunch of blajeers if you ask me!

    While one group blocking the parish pit, another group should be taking control of Gardakhan equipment where they are kept overnight. No security guard can stop a bunch of pissed off truckers. If the police decide to play heavy them then call out those guys with heavy equipment that cannot get work or pay also and the rest will be history. As far as I am concerned, Dca has enough trucks to meet Gardakhan needs. So let me see what Symbort-Gwan-Movement will do now.

    Oh, he may just send his and Molly the boo-week snipers to break the truckers windshield and flatten their tires because even the police fraud them…smh

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 8 Thumb down 2
  7. Ibo France
    June 15, 2022

    The local truckers contribute much to the Dominican economy. The money they earned circulate within the local economy. From the money earned, the truckers buy vehicle parts and patronize local businesses. They also employ local people creating employment. Foreign workers send most of their earnings back to their original places of abode.

    The biggest problem in Dominica is DISUNITY. When a population is divided the citizens suffer.

    The action of the local truckers against the financial abuse of them by the foreign contractor should incense the entire population, who should lend their massive support to this group of beleaguered citizens.

    Dominicans need to adopt this mantra. Any injustice meted out to one Dominica is an affront to all. We need to mobilise and stand with our brothers (local truckers) for we know not when adversity will befall us individually.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
  8. Ccs
    June 15, 2022

    I fully support the truckers 100% imagine not being paid for 4 months, and having to litterally beg for whats owed to you.. They should stop all work until they get there money in full. Im sure there are no delays in the 64K rent payment every month to the pm.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 0
  9. Toto
    June 15, 2022

    Goog! My sentiments are with the truckers. For too that man from Guadeloupe has been riding roughshod over our people. His reputation is zero, even in his own country. That man has no respect even for our PM because he thinks everyone is for sale. He is a very bad egg. And Matt. I heard your inane questioning yesterday of the drivers yesterday. Tell us how long you would work for Q95 if mr. G. does not pay you. Is no different here. Pay the guys what they are owed Jaques. No negotiation.Has noting to do with PM. Their contract is with Jaques Gaddarkhan, nobody else. Good luck


    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 11 Thumb down 0
  10. JAH KAL
    June 15, 2022

    These guys have no balls ,skerrit soon dangle the carrot in front of then and they all gonna put there tail between there legs and go back to work , and forget what they went through . The PRO said the government did not employ them what the hell is police doing in pont casse ,five months without pay . Skerrit boast he payed all his workers during the pandemic and he can not see to that the person that hired you guys pay you all ,the police that show up in pont casse they got payed eh ,tell these police officers to go and look for the missing little princess.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 5 Thumb down 0
  11. Desmond Riviere
    June 15, 2022

    What a shame! As the PM asked “Is Dominica a REAL country?” The government needs to change its policy: ALL local truckers should be employed before a single truck is allowed in the country. These truckers should put pressure on the authorities to protect their livelihood as they say they ARE Dominicans.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 33 Thumb down 3
    • Robby
      June 15, 2022

      But they all voted for the man that treats them unfairly. I’ve got no sympathy for them. Never trust a gangster.

      Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 17 Thumb down 2
    • Jane Doe
      June 15, 2022

      Six months without pay and now allu blocking entrance. You all are a bunch of jokers.

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