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Gas shortages persist in Haiti despite recent fuel shipments

Two men riding on the back of a taxi van in Haiti
Two men riding on the back of a taxi van in Haiti. Photo by Georges H. Rouzier for The Haitian Times

The Haitian Times
www.haitiantimes.com 
By Murdith Joseph

PORT-AU-PRINCE — Haiti has received thousands of gallons of gas, but the shipment is not enough to fix a recurring gas shortage at local pumps, according to the  director of the National Association of Service Station Owners.

“We will be facing this situation constantly,” Marc André Deriphonse, the director, told The Haitian Times. “The country buys fuel at a high price [only] to sell it at low cost. Shipments coming here are more and more useless.”

As summer approaches, the worldwide hike in gas is already affecting travel to the country. In November 2021, American Airlines said it reduced flights to Haiti due to a gas shortage. 

Providing enough gas for travel inside Haiti will likely be even more challenging, industry experts say.

“Today, we have the capacity to order 10,000 gallons. Tomorrow, we’ll order 7,000,” Deriphonse said. “Orders are significantly reduced and there will come a time we will no longer be able to order. It will be a total collapse if this problem isn’t solved.”

In recent years, Haiti has faced persistent gas shortages because the government has been unable to pay for fuel shipments with the country’s credit tightening.

One group extremely affected by the constant gas shortages is public transportation drivers. Angry, they have been demanding that the government puts an end to the fuel shortage.

“We have been facing this problem for a while,” said Junior Jean-Baptiste, a taxi-moto driver. “Gas shortage happens all  the time. If BMPAD’s director doesn’t manage to solve this as soon as possible, he will hear from us.” 

Jean-Baptiste was referring to the Office of Monetization of Development Assistance Programs, a government agency that oversees development funding.

Evens Petit-Homme, another taxi-moto driver, also voiced his frustration. He does not have another job to take care of his family. 

“I am in a contract with the owner of the motorcycle I drive,” Petit-Homme, a father of three, said. “We must be able to eat, my children and me. The gas shortage, and to add to it the insecurity crisis, is strangling us.”

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