The Government of Dominica on Monday, April 12, 2021, forcefully condemned the pockets of lawlessness which occurred during protest action by bus drivers.
Many bus drivers, particularly on the West coast, withdrew their services today in a bid to stage protest action resulting in massive “bumper-to-bumper” roadblocks, preventing the free flow of traffic, and causing mass disruptions.
Addressing the matter earlier today, Minister of Public Transportation, Hon. Cassani Laville forcefully condemned the lawlessness which was reported.
“Many bus drivers withdrew their services today, which as unfortunate as it was, is their right. But the lawlessness that was seen in some areas by the blocking of roads and taunting and harassing of police officers, who came to ensure the free flow of traffic, cannot be tolerated under any circumstances,” Laville informed.
He added that based on reports, there were agitators who also sought to incite tensions with police officers during the protest actions.
“The authorities charged with maintaining law and order, will not cower to lawlessness and chaos.”
“Indeed, we have the responsibility to ensure that some of the behavior that we saw today is not allowed to be repeated.”
Laville, however, indicates that the Government of Dominica views these actions by the bus drivers as “ill-advised and ill-thought” — and indeed counterproductive to everyone. “We expect that the bus drivers will return to their routes and will continue the ongoing dialogue they have been having with the Government,” he said.
“We believe that the core of their membership is reasonable and is also committed to the orderly conduct of business in their communities.”
The Minister for Transportation informed that the ongoing pandemic has put a heavy strain on all sectors in the local economy and global economy, including bus drivers and operators in Dominica.
He said the Government’s challenge is to seek the interest of all sectors – and not just one.
“In doing so, any responsible government will have to assess all the competing interests and take into consideration all the challenges, as it seeks to find a balance that will aid national development. Any thought of raising bus prices at this time will be injurious to national economic recovery and will hurt the poorest among us the most. But we accept that in these abnormal times, we will have to look at special assistance to all hurting sectors,” the Minister stated.