By Esther Durand, BVI News Journalist
Authorities will be assigning inspectors on Anegada to put a stop to a reported long-standing issue in which private vehicle operators steal customers from taxi operators on the island.
President of the Anegada Taxi Association, Kenny Francis raised the issue yesterday (May 3) during a meeting with local taxi operators and Minister responsible for Transportation, Mark Vanterpool.
According to Francis, more than 10 taxi operators are based on Anegada and they are all experiencing unrest in relation to the issue.
“Sometimes you have at least 50 to 60 yachts in the harbour and we not getting any work because it has people up there carrying people for free,” he told BVI News after the meeting held at the Central Administration Complex in Road Town.
“So, if I come to you and I tell you I am going to take you someplace for free, why would I take a taxi? That is our biggest issue up there right now. It is a problem that needs to be fixed.”
He said the members of the association have written numerous letters to government begging for the issue to be addressed.
Francis said the most recent letter was sent about a month ago.
“We are tired of it and we need something done because the pot go’ soon boil over,” he said.
Law enforcement to intervene
Director of the Taxi and Livery Commission, Dameon Percival confirmed the issue has been long-standing and said the matter will be dealt with ‘soon’.
“We had a meeting a few weeks ago with the people who are posing the issues. We let them know that we have spoken with the police. But because we don’t have inspectors on the ground – who are the ones to go out and give people tickets and that kind of stuff – it is posing a problem with regulating.”
“It is a problem that we are working on from inside the ministry in terms of bringing inspectors on board. In general, we don’t have any so the plan is to bring on six,” Percival said.
He said these inspectors would be working to enforce the law on each of the major islands.
Percival said the matter is major and is “growing exponentially daily”.
“They (the culprits) don’t have the proper insurance or have the legislation backing them. So if you get into an accident, the insurance can say: we are not paying nobody as you are not legally supposed to be carrying anybody.”
In the meantime, Vanterpool urged Francis to take photos or videos of the culprits to help bring an end to the issue.
“We can do something through Department of Motor Vehicles; as it is not legal,” Vanterpool said.
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