Truckers association president sees “hope” for local truckers in recent promises made by PM Skerrit

Trucks lined up under the Canefied cliff

President of the Tippers Truckers Association of Dominica (TTAD) Anton Laville is expressing optimism about the way forward for local tuckers, following a meeting with Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit and other government officials.

On November 15, members of the TTAD, as well as other local truckers staged a six-hour “awareness action” by lining up their vehicles under the canfield cliff, to highlight what they say is the non-inclusion of local truckers in the construction of major projects on the island.

Calling on the government to intervene, Laville said the association was disappointed about the “collapsed” truckers industry and local truckers were doing everything to have this issue resolved amicably.

A few days later- November 18- following a meeting with a few truckers and contractors, the prime minister announced the establishment of a committee to propose rates that are “fair and reasonable” for the services offered by those in the industry.

Laville has since welcomed this development, telling Dominica News Online (DNO) that the last rate review for the trucking industry was conducted in 1983, therefore, members are looking forward to operating under new rates.

The committee, which will be chaired by the Minister of Public Works, will comprise 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. Its work will begin on Monday, November 22nd and is expected to submit its report by December 15th 2021.

One of the committee’s specific tasks the TTAD president says he’s most excited about, is the upcoming audit of available trucks and capacity in Dominica, which the prime minister has said will guide his government’s policy in granting permission to contracting firms to import vehicles or labour into the country.

According to Laville, the awarding of contracts to foreigners has long been an issue for local truckers. He  therefore believes that such an undertaking will allow for greater inclusion of those involved in the sector.

“This is very important for us because one of the points that we pushed across to him [the Prime Minister] is that we should get special privileges in terms of the projects that are being undertaken in Dominica, meaning that when they start, let’s say, the international airport, whoever is the foreign contractor that gets that bid, then we can indicate to them the number of trucks and excavators on island so they won’t have to import more, but instead bring in the equipment which is not readily available on island,“ he explained.

The veteran trucker told DNO that the association has not been given a concise response on how members will be provided with immediate employment, hence, this will be one of the main topics for discussion when truckers meet again with the prime minister early next week.

“We are hoping that we can get some satisfaction from that situation going forward. However, I must say that seeing that the prime minister has reached out to us, we are allowing him some time to work on behalf of the truckers seeing that he has given us his word,” Laville said. “So we’re looking forward to that special protection from the government and it looks like they are willing to work with us so that we do not have those problems that we are faced with right now moving forward.”

In an attempt to return “viability and profitability” to the trucking sector in Dominica, Prime Minister Skerrit has also requested that the truckers, as an association, submit to him, a proposal for consideration for a special regime of concessions to help improve their fleet of vehicles to offer something similar to what was done for those in the tourism sector.

As to the future of local truckers, the TTAD president is optimistic that things will improve and vows to continue to advocate for legislation that will protect local truckers’ rights.

“The prime minister has said that he will address our concerns and I am assuring you that we, the truckers, we’re gonna keep pressing so that truckers and the local contractors in Dominica get the special protection that we need. It happens in other countries, why, not in Dominica?” he questioned.

Laville has also made known that the association will be reaching out to other local contractors, as well as forging greater ties with the Builders and Contractors Association (BCAD) as he believes they should all come together to advance the construction sector in Dominica.

He urged other truckers to join the TTAD pointing out, “there is unity in strength and if all the voices come together, it will be louder.”

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23 Comments

  1. Jonathan Y St Jean
    November 23, 2021

    UNESCO has seen it necessary to reserve 3 seats for the Caricom region because in the absence of that the region wouldn’t have much of a say at the table to have it’s interests and needs met in a meaningful way. Similarly, knowing this, the Skerritt administration, if it really cared about the truckers in Dominca, should know that a percentage of the trucking requirements for projects in the country must be reserved for locals. This isn’t rocket science, but the corrupt and uncaring cabal doesn’t give a hoot about the cries of local truckers for employment in their own country. Even on the issue of rates these have to be set so as to give an advantage to locals. That’s the only way to do things for the development of Dominicans in Dominca. Skerritt’s enablers don’t get a pass in this horrible decision of the government to favor imported foreign trucks and truckers over locals.

  2. Dumpling
    November 22, 2021

    I’ve lived and worked in a few Caribbean islands and I always felt welcome but fully understood I was basically a second class citizen,All priorities and favours were given to the locals and I fully expected and understood this,but DA is the only country I’ve seen that has its own citizens has second class and overseas workers and our political power sponsors (Chinese) taking foot on us and given priority by this money grabbing masters of division gang called our leaders sm?h .

  3. Ibo France
    November 22, 2021

    If Skerrit had climbed one of those trees hanging over the Canefield Cliff, urinated on the truckers on the ground, they would have called it precious showers of blessings. They are that daft.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 4 Thumb down 0
    • Marwin
      November 24, 2021

      Exactly, sooo true.

    • lmckoy
      November 25, 2021

      Notwithstanding your continuous preaching against PM Skerrit, he has been the PM since 2004, 17 years ago and has been voted in by Dominican people time and again; how come, is it that Dominicans are not taking your messages seriously?

  4. Merlin
    November 22, 2021

    :oops: I would think that the gov’t is looking out for its homegrown businesses to make sure the foreign employees and friends include locals when doing business here. I recall when St. Marten required all Indian business to hire locals rather than flood their jobs with strictly Indians. Good thing they did, the move has worked marvelously to this day.

  5. Original
    November 22, 2021

    Skerrit has been giving contacts to foreign forms over Dominicans for years because it’s in his interest, those foreign firms work on economies of scale and could easily out bid any local firm. What makes these truckers think that something is going to change without a change of actual government policy?

  6. Jonathan Y St Jean
    November 22, 2021

    Why does Skerritt have to involve foreign contractors in the decision making about government policy regarding employment for Dominicans. It is common knowledge that even in other countries example in Afghanistan, a certain number of political seats are set aside for women, in Philadelphia a certain portion of government contracts are set aside for Blacks, in other countries a certain quota of the apple is set aside for locals.
    Skerritt is beholden to the overseas contractors at the expense of locals to have the overseas contractors sitting in on a meeting which the aggrieved Dominican truckers forced to discuss their lack of employment opportunities. Skerritt has now turned it into a narrow issue of rates. The contractor can find many loopholes to pay higher rates to imported truckers. Skerritt has issues with Dominican men it seems like. It’s time that Labor party acts in the interest of Dominican citizens. The truckers want “work”.

  7. Frank N Stein
    November 22, 2021

    No wonder people do not sympathize with these coward bootlickers

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 2
  8. Tt
    November 22, 2021

    Too many trucks not enough work for those trucks. Business 101 : supply and demand. In most countries trucks are regulated. You have company owned trucks and you have for hire trucks. Each requiring permits, the permits work to keep the number of trucks down increasing the work available to permitted trucks. Now if everyone has a truck. There will be fewer jobs for each truck. It’s that simple. Same for minibusses and taxis. If a cruise ship has 5000 passengers and say 3000 of them want rides, tours. A bus holds 10 you’d need 300 buses not 5000 buses. Someone will go home empty handed.

    It’s economics. Start thinking for yourself. Government don’t have answers and when they do it usually comes at a cost. On the back end. Tax payers will be footing the bill. I.E you the people begging government for work. Think

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 7
    • Jonathan Y St Jean
      November 22, 2021

      @Ti, you seem to be an economist extraordinary, just like your supreme leader is an honorary doctor extraordinary.If there isn’t enough work for all trucks and truckers then why does the government allow more trucks and truckers to be brought into the country? What economic principle do you posit to explain this one? In all well run countries even if skills are to be brought in to do specific work they ensure that the locals get to do the unskilled work and the majority of the skilled work too. This topic of lack of employment opportunities for local truckers has been going on for years now. Couldn’t a progressive government which cares about the employment opportunities for it’s people help the locals get training in the operation and maintenance of the types of equipment? Man just stop with the nonsense. Think. The government contributed to the problem by allowing foreign trucks and truckers in the country. Were there kickbacks?
      Economist my foot.

      • Tt
        November 24, 2021

        Anyone claim to be an economist here? You think because you made a comment doesn’t mean it makes sense. The government allows anything as they need the money. The foreign companies and trucks are here because the companies given these contracts have guarantees to the government. In order to maximize their profits they bring their own assets and manpower as they see fit cause it benefits their balance sheet.

        What qualities me to speak is probably the fact that I own a firm that is involved in similar industry and have multiple contracts with several larger entities. But you don’t have to listen. Keep buying trucks, buses etc then blame the government for no work. Until we as a people start thinking differently we won’t change our narrative. Try discredit my opinion as if my opinion was the answer to the problem. It’s not. It’s an opinion.

        People please stay in school and even after that seek information.

    • lmckoy
      November 23, 2021

      Now, why do you have to go and introduce logic in the discussion and mess up the whole picture? :) On a serious note, foreign contractors most likely got the contracts based upon their ability to do the work and price to do the job. If haulage/transportation is a significant portion of the cost of job, then the only reason for the contractors to bring in their own trucks is because the cost/reliability of local haulage/transportation is much different. If the government were able to require that contractors use local haulage/transportation where costs and reliability are relatively equal and work to make it so, then a reasonable deal could be reached for the locals and the contractors, where the locals would have employment and the contractors get fair prices and reliable service.

      • Tt
        November 24, 2021

        Exactly!!! Why give you the work if it’s gonna balloon the cost unnecessarily. The donors sometimes require accountability and that often comes with regulations. Again educate yourself on the behind the scenes processes to avoid not knowing how government works. Not a political supporter of any party. Just demystifying common misconception that it’s cut and dry.

        like above comment if the truckers need work it may be possible for some to get this work by being proactive, Meet stake holders and see how your services could benefit them. Often times thats all it really takes.

  9. Mike
    November 22, 2021

    Hope is nothing more than postponed disappointment, it is the worst of all things because it prolongs your torments.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  10. November 21, 2021

    Congrats Mr president fatten your self for more bloaz…hope sure fattens…next try..I want p.m to wrap you on your bambam with a leather strap..I am still hoping Ross comes back…let’s hope..for us to lie to our self’s…Mr president p.m sent laville to negotiate with lazy..and you are now playing a tune..laville is my cousin and I is laville cousin…minister laville and president laville to hell with the rest…truckers nothing will change.. nothing will change

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 0
  11. Ibo France
    November 21, 2021

    Mr. Anton Laville is exuberant and optimistic by the promises made to the local truckers by a habitual, unrepentant LIAR. He (Laville) should be asked to step down from his present position as president of the Trucker’s Association forthwith.

    Look at these unfulfilled promises made by the diseased LIAR to the nation years ago:- International Airport, Geothermal Energy, Electoral Reforms, A New Cruise Village, Roseau Enhancement, Accounting of the Missing Billions from the CBI Funds, Replacement for ROSS University. Have any of these lofty promises been fully materialized? The answer is a resounding NO!

    The only thing Mr. Skerrit does exceptionally well is to lie. Those who still believe him are avaricious hangers-on and the brainless.

    TRUTH and Mr. Skerrit are everlasting enemies.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 1
  12. Charity
    November 21, 2021

    Laville, you as well as most Dominicans are easily pleased and then fooled by this PM. The fact that all you see the need to beg him for work, speaks volumes. If he, as he always states, loves the people of DA why doesn’t he give all you work? After all he is telling us on each and every occasion, but in particular at election time, that he has done a hundred construction projects. But you still feel short changed. Has the man be ignoring you all for years? Has the man been lying again? Doesn’t he love all you? Does he love those foreigners more? I wish all you stopped begging and show some proper action to dispose off that root problem in our beloved country. Shame on all you! Are you men or mice?

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 7 Thumb down 1
  13. Toto
    November 21, 2021

    A promise by Skerrit? Boy wake up. Have you ever tried taking that to the bank? It has the value of a fart in the wind, trust me.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 13 Thumb down 2
  14. Ibo France
    November 20, 2021

    Anyone who believes Skerrit’s promises is a colossal idiot. The president of the Tucker’s Association is such a person, a gullible and pitiable numskull. To believe any words emanating from Skerrit’s mouth, one has to wilfully suspend one’s common sense or you have to be dead from the neck up. The man is not even remotely believable. He has a track record of telling humongous falsehoods. It is as though the gentleman suffers from frequent episodes of hallucination.

    The entire economy needs an injection of incentives to revive it. The ruling administration should incentivise small and medium size businesses and new entrepreneurship involving young business people. Dominica consumes too much and produces too little.

    What is needed most of all to turn around the downward economic trajectory is a shrewd and visionary government. Dominica is heading for a total economic collapse with this present regime in power. Getting rid of this inept regime should be of highest priority.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 12 Thumb down 2
  15. Jonathan Y St Jean
    November 20, 2021

    I’ve got news for Anton Laville and it’s that male pawpaw trees live with hope that they will one day produce lovely fruit worthy of consumption. Keep on hoping, Sir. It must be that Anton is a simpleton and can’t read the event’s right before his eyes and he got giddy having sat at a meeting with the double doctorate dude.
    Dominicans were promised a road through Ravin Cork through Canefield and we are still waiting, the Good Hope to Rosalie road was also promised, the accounting for the $1.2 billion from sale of passports was promised, the cruise terminal at Canefield was promised. let me stop before my allotted space runs out. What strategic plan did Anton put forward to bolster the position of the truckers? He was so excited to be in the presence of the head of the cabal that he’s on cloud nine with a promise. I just wish his association well as it should never have come to this in a well run country with a patriotic and caring government. Keep on dreaming, Anton.

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 10 Thumb down 2
  16. L C Matthew
    November 20, 2021

    A promise is a comfort for a fool. This is the perfect example of the meaning of that quote

    Well-loved. Like or Dislike: Thumb up 9 Thumb down 2

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