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Government will not be ‘extorted’ PM warns bus drivers

by: - April 12, 2021
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With bus drivers around the island now engaged in protest action, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit has said that he will not fall for anyone trying to “extort” the Government of Dominica nor he as the Prime Minister.

The bus drivers commenced protest action this morning [Monday, April 12] forcing massive roadblocks and also forcing many people to walk to their destination, sighting the need for government to provide  “much-needed assistance” to them.

Prime Minister Skerrit speaking on his Annou Pale program last night indicated that his government recognizes that coronavirus has affected everyone, especially people in the service industry and the tourism industry which the bus drivers are part of.

Prime Minister Skerrit during his Annou Pale program on Sunday, April 11th, 2021

“Many of them rely on the cruise season to ply their trade,” Skerrit noted.

The Prime Minister indicated that he met with bus drivers across the country whose challenges, he said, are not dissimilar to that of the vendors or the tour guides. He informed that the government discussed with bus drivers at a recent meeting where forms were put together for the drivers to fill out with a view to assessing their situation and to see what additional support the government can provide to the bus drivers.

However, following this meeting, protest actions were planned by the bus drivers. Skerrit said, “What I will never fall for is for anybody trying to extort the government or extort Roosevelt Skerrit or putting a gun to my head. Anybody who is going to engage me in those kinds of activities, you not going to get your way with me.”

Vehicles backed up on the Canefield Highway near the airport as a result of protest action by bus drivers

“I don’t fall for anybody putting a gun to my head and threatening me or is trying to extort the government believing that they can put pressure on the government,” he declared. “If you’re serious about engaging the government, I’m serious about engaging you, and when I make a promise to people I keep my promise,” PM Skerrit informed.

Videos circulating on social media indicated that some of the protests were not peaceful as police officers and bus drivers clashed as they [police officers] tried to free the chaotic roadblocks.