Bahamian Taxi Drivers Demonstrate to Get Government's Attention
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Nassau Bahamas’ Prince George Wharf became the scene of a taxicab driver protest Friday, meant to bring attention to the many challenges they face on the job that prevent earning a fair wage, Tribune 242 reported.
Philip Watkins, President of the Bahamas Taxi Cab Union (BTU) told the Tribune, "We want to send a strong message to the government that we have been pushed enough, and enough is enough.” Frederick Wallace, member of the Prince George Dock Taxi Drivers Committee, and his compatriots, is asking the government to "try to work with us, (meet us) half-way." So what did the Bahamian government do that has these scores of protestors taking a stand?
A major issue for the cab drivers is the impression that the Bahamian government is ignoring them, their contribution to the economy, and other issues that have persisted for a long time.
According to, Watkins, it’s even impossible to get senior members of the BTU and government officials in the same room to hash all of it out. He told the Tribune, "We need the government to meet with us and map the way forward as to how we can get rid of these ills that do exist and how we can make more sense of what we do on a daily basis down here,” he said.
Wallace made his own personal estimate about how much local cab drivers contribute to the economy, telling the Tribune, "When you do the math, as far as income in this country is concern, on this dock we have approximately 200 taxi drivers and on an average we make around $500 a week; when you multiply that by the year, we bring in over $5 million into this county." Wallace also pointed out that a large percentage of the wages stay in the local community.
Watkins detailed how price increases are causing difficulty in making ends meet: "As of the first of July, all of our insurances — house, vehicles — goes up by 7.5 per cent. Fuel has gone up. We haven't had an increase since 2008. (Drivers) are struggling even with these issues being normal, they are struggling because of the downturn in this economy; so now they are struggling even more,” he said.
Watkins also said the static cab fare has drivers languishing, and told The Tribune “I don't know how much longer they can run on the same fares that (are) stipulated and still stay in business."
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