Wells to Taxi Cab Union: Give us a chance
Minister of Transport and Local Government Renward Wells yesterday pleaded with taxi drivers to give him a chance to help them, as he outlined upcoming efforts to address their long-standing concerns.
“Your issues are long-standing,” he said to a crowd of drivers that had assembled outside Cabinet.
“The issue at the airport didn’t just develop. Minister after minister has allowed it to take place, and all I’m saying to you is give this government an opportunity to bring the requisite solution for you.”
The Taxi Cab Union has raised concern over several issues in the past few months, including the moratorium on taxi plates and claims of being undercut by tour companies, as well as difficulties with licensing their vehicles and concern over the similarity of taxi and rental car plates due to their colors.
“You have a 20-year standing problem. Twenty years. I have been the minister for 10 months,” Wells said.
“And in that 10 months, I have had a town hall for all taxi drivers. I have also allowed certain things to take place in the industry that really the government should have pulled back on, because we chose not to disturb the industry…
“We’ve also said to those owners who are leasing to not disturb the industry until the government is able to come back. For you to say that we are not answering or we are not giving answers, that’s not representative of what has taken place.
“All I’m saying to you now is to give us an opportunity to bring further solutions to this industry, because I don’t want to do anything that’s going to be a stopgap measure, and then we have to be back here again in 10 months’ time to figure out what we’re going to do.”
Wells told the taxi drivers that he expects to begin addressing their issues in July.
He said that Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis formed a team made of six Cabinet ministers to address the issues. That team includes Wells, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar, Minister of Social Services Frankie Campbell, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes and Attorney General Carl Bethel, he said.
Taxi Cab Union President Wesley Ferguson said yesterday they are willing to give the government more time to work on addressing their concerns, but would continue to press should there not be progress soon.
“It’s only reasonable to give the minister more time,” he said.
“We’ve been in this waiting period for this time, and the government does not seem to be forthcoming with time, so we just have to keep pressing them until we get some resolution.”
He added, “He gave us a timeframe of July 1 to start dealing with the many issues. So that’s just a little over a month and week. So we’ll give him until the end of July. We’re not barbaric. We’re not unreasonable people.”