Taxi-moto drivers, Cap-Haitien,
Taxi-moto drivers waiting for clients on The Boulevard, a street in Cap-Haitien, on Jul. 8, 2022. Cap-Haitien, Haiti's second largest city, struggles to function without Port-au-Prince, residents said. Photo by Oldjy François for The Haitian Times

CAP-HAITIEN — Marie Henry, a Jacmel-based merchant, knew it was risky to send for the 600 bags of sugar stuck in Port-au-Prince back in June 2021. But days after gangs took over Martissant, the town that leads to the capital, she took a chance and sent her truck driver to pick up the goods so rare to find in high quantities in Jacmel. 

Henry didn’t hear from the truck driver for four hours, despite numerous calls. Then a man who Henry said had a “bizarre” and “unpleasant” way of speaking picked up the driver’s phone. He told Henry if she wanted her merchandise back, she had to send 250,000 gourdes, roughly $2,165, divided among five recipients via MonCash. Henry sent the money, but the bandits unloaded the truck anyway, stealing the goods before allowing the driver to go.

Bandits stole Henry’s merchandise in Martissant two more times, costing her more than $65,000. During the second robbery, they took the truck as well. 

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Onz Chery is a Haiti correspondent for The Haitian Times. Chery started his journalism career as a City College of New York student with The Campus. He later wrote for First Touch, local soccer leagues in New York and Elite Sports New York before joining The Haitian Times in 2019.