NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Taxi drivers are experiencing a decline in their business, which they attribute to fallout from travel advisories warning tourists about crime in The Bahamas, according to Taxicab Union President Wesley Ferguson.
“It’s hurting the tourism industry and could cause serious damage if this situation persists. The crime situation must be brought under control. We shouldn’t think it will be brought under control overnight. The criminals perpetrating these brazen acts are not considering the tourists. The US is dangerous as well, but their government reserves the right to issue advisories to its citizens,” Ferguson told Eyewitness News.
“Taxi drivers say they are feeling a decline. They are sensing a different attitude from the visitors. Visitors are being more cautious and apprehensive, their attitude has changed, that’s what they are telling me, so the effect is real, and it’s hurting business.
“This has affected the taxi industry; not sure how far-reaching, but we have to bring this under control. This crime situation with these daylight incidents is the worst I have ever seen. This is not good. The average citizen like myself is very cautious when entering and leaving my house.
“While government officials are protected with police escorts, armed guards, and outriders, they have become disconnected from the average Bahamian and regular businessmen who have to constantly look over their shoulders. Tourists are being very cautious. They do pay attention to those advisories,” said Ferguson.
The country has recorded 20 murders to date. The United States and Canada have issued travel advisories to their citizens due to the rise in violent crimes in The Bahamas.
Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper asserted in Parliament on Wednesday that recent international media coverage has sensationalized or misrepresented the country’s surge in crime. He outlined a strategy to mitigate potential harm to the nation’s reputation through proactive media engagement. Cooper, the Minister of Tourism, Aviation, and Investment, while contributing to the debate on the amendments to the Bail Act, acknowledged international media reports highlighting the spate of violent crimes in the country, which have prompted both the United States and Canada to issue travel advisories to their citizens.
Ferguson also noted that the hotel union is closely watching the dispute between the Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union and Atlantis. On Wednesday, Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union President Darrin Woods said members are now on work to rule as he promised further action if concerns are not met. The union is taking action because it said negotiations with The Bahamas Hotel and Restaurant Employers Association for employees in the tipping category to get a salary increase have been going poorly.
Woods said the union is in its second phase of industrial action, a “blackout” period he said could exist indefinitely. In early January, the Taxi Cab Union raised concerns about Atlantis interfering with the operations of taxi drivers over its reported decision to ban taxi drivers from dropping off at the Coral Towers.