Photo Credit: BVI Platinum News
Taxi operators within the Territory are fuming and are up to their necks with the ill-treatment by the local Taxi and Livery Commission and its executive members.
As a result of complaints made by few taxi men, who wish to remain anonymous, BVI Platinum News understands that their outrage stems from the commission allegedly wrongly suspending operators and imposing vain fines.
“They are exceeding their powers. Casting down foolish fines, penalties and suspensions on the drivers,” said one operator.
Another chimed in, “It’s [treatment from the commission] at a point where we feel we’re being bullied; some of us who were passionate about the job, not anymore.”
Operators also challenge the powers of the commission, noting that it is not a liable body to take away one’s bread and butter by means of suspension of their taxi license.
“The power is not vested in them to suspend us and takeaway our livelihood. It should go through the court and the sanction be imposed there.”
One operator further alleged, “They taking away your livelihood for minor things like a curse word and most of the times these complaints on the drivers are lies from employees of the commission.”
Some of the drivers also claimed that the suspensions are deliberate, to a point where persons are banned from operating during the highest points of the season.
“Being suspended in the high season is not easy and they know it; this is when money and jobs are flowing heavy. We are taxi men, our pay is not a regular monthly salary. We make our years’ salary in 4 to 5 months in the high season and then it slows real down.”
BVI Platinum News contacted Mr. Damion Percival, Chairman of the Taxi and Livery Commission, who refuted the claims of ill-treatment towards the operators, noting that the commission is guided by legislation, “and that’s what we use to do all of our actions. We don’t stray from the legislation.”
Percival noted that the issue at hand lies in the operators’ lack of knowledge of the legislation.
“These operators cannot expect to behave in whatever manner they want and there be no consequences. Persons within the industry should know what the industry is about. They need to understand the legislation they are guided by, and once they understand it, their behavior will be different.”
He also spoke to the commission having the power to sanction operators for their negligence.
“The commission has its own court. It’s called administrative hearing and out of that, it can impose its own penalties.”