The Dominion Post

Drivers on strike over fuel prices


TRAFFIC was minimal in the normally clogged streets of Haiti’s capital yesterday, after a key minibus drivers union called a two-day general strike to protest against high fuel prices.

‘‘The price of gasoline has fallen on the world market, but in Haiti, the poorest country in the world, the authoritie­s do not follow this trend,’’ said Fritzner Jean, who drives a colourful pickup-turned-minibus, known locally as ‘‘tap-tap’’, the Caribbean country’s main form of public transport.

‘‘We want the state to really lower prices because it’s too expensive for us. Look at the hunger that prevails in the country. We cannot tolerate that,’’ Jean said.

In an effort to avoid the strike, the government announced lower fuel prices on Friday but the new prices were still deemed too high by the tap-tap drivers union.

Protesters put up barricades of burning tyres at several key intersecti­ons in the capital. ‘‘We are blocking every tap-tap driver who wants to work,’’ said a man who was pulling a car over. ‘‘We are getting the passengers out, without violence.’’

The cash is badly needed to pay off Haiti’s mounting fuel debt of more than US$1.5b (NZ$2.08b).

Without public transport, the capital’s industrial park, home to several textile factories, authorised employees to stay home.

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