[Translation of an article from Espacinsular of Santo Domingo for January 15. See original here and related article here.]
Santo Domingo, January 14 – The continuing presence of the more than 100 Haitian workers in front of the Ministry of Labor represents a conflict with international repercussions to which the government should respond in order to avoid damaging the country’s image abroad, sociologist Max Puig has declared.
Also a former minister of labor, he expressed surprise at statements by authorities that it is a problem affecting exclusively the justice system, “when the workers labored more than ten years in businesses that were not legally registered,” for which he wondered, “where were the Migration inspectors, where were the Labor inspectors, where was the national police?”
The one-time presidential candidate believes that what is being denounced basically goes well beyond a simple labor demand. “It is a matter of a business that has caused Haitian citizens to come from Haiti to a country that has been accused frequently of human trafficking,” he added.
Puig, president of the Alianza por la Democracia party, insists “it cannot be that the Ministry (of Labor) says it has no jurisdiction and that nobody in the government has jurisdiction.”
The approximately 112 Haitian workers, who have held a picket line for more than a month in front of the Ministry of Labor, some together with their spouses and young children, worked for the [coconut producing businesses] Coquera Rea and Coquera del Kilómetro 5, in the southern province of San Cristóbal.
Rafael Emilio Luna Alonzo, owner of the businesses in question, refuses to pay the workers’ wages on the grounds that only five of the workers were legally registered.
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