NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Members of The Bahamas Taxicab Union were asked on Monday to stand down on their treats to withdraw services and eventually strike until the prime minister returns from his trip to Brussels Belgium, according to Bahamas Taxicab Union president Wesley Ferguson.
Last Friday, union members shut down services at the Lynden Pindlng International Airport (LPIA) and had planned to do the same again on Monday.
However, Ferguson told Eyewitness News Online that while hundreds of cab drivers were ready to continue their withdrawal of services yesterday, the Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis made a request to hold off on any withdrawal of services until he returns to the capital to meet with drivers.
“Our intention was not to hold the tourist’s hostage or to cause the country any inconvenience,” Ferguson said.
“We said that we would have a series of withdrawals so we started at the airport on Friday and this morning [Monday] at 7a.m. We went to the Prince George Dock and we had the full support of all taxi drivers out there.
“We had already gone into withdrawal mode.
“We also had all of the taxi stands on Paradise Island on board with us, so apparently the prime minister got wind of our withdrawal and he called me and he told me that he was travelling and he asked me to stand down for a few days until he returns and we [taxi drivers] will be on top of his agenda.”
Ferguson said taxi drivers decided to go into “war mode” following a meeting held last Tuesday at the BCPOU Hall, starting with the withdrawal of services last week Friday at the Lynden Pindling International Airport. The move caused much chaos at the nation’s main gateway as tourism officials were forced to find alternative means to get visitors to their local destinations.
The taxi driver’s withdrawal of services came on the heels of months of complaints against tour companies and private limousine drivers who taxi cab drivers claim are taking a lion’s share of their daily income.
Ferguson said when the prime minister returns, the union has a “mountain” of issues that they would like to address. He said the union is expected to prepare a comprehensive report which will be presented to the prime minister for review.
“We hope that we can come to some sort of agreement or a solution to the mountain of problems that we have,” Ferguson said.
“We don’t expect everything to be addressed at once, but of course we expect some things to be addressed immediately and then going ahead we will systematically address the remaining issues.”