By NATARIO MCKENZIE
Tribune Business Reporter
Bahamas Taxicab Union (BTCU) yesterday expressed frustration over government failure to remedy an issue which has now left 30-40 drivers out of work, its president suggesting that government is “clueless” regarding how to untangle the “mess” the industry is in.
Wesley Ferguson, BTCU president told Tribune Business existing owners of taxi cab plates were exploiting the government’s plan to clean-up the industry by seizing plates back from drivers before this can be put into effect.
“There are about 30-40 drivers who have had their plates seized. They have been out of work now for roughly a month. We were assured that something would be done, that these people would be given some form of relief, a temporary plate or something so they could work and have some form of income until the government figures this thing out. We gave the minister an opportunity to address this issue over a week ago. We were told to wait until after the budget debate as if that has something to do with people going back to work. The taxi union is very upset about this. We’re not staying quiet about this. When we take to protest again we want the public to know why,’ said Mr Ferguson.
“I feel as though the government is clueless about what they have committed to. Basically they were blindsided because they didn’t realise the depth of the tangled mess the industry is in. These people who are out of work are now the casualties of that proposal the prime minister threw out at our meeting in January. The only thing that proposal has done is cause tax drivers hardship.”
Back in January, scores of angry taxi drivers gathered in Rawson Square to protest what they consider poor treatment and working conditions as well as “unfair” competition from tour operators. Taxi drivers have called for an end to the two-decade old moratorium on new taxi plates.