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Taxi drivers & City Manager clash over Xmas on DeCastro Street

- Taxi drivers complain the event has created a traffic nightmare for them; City Manager said Taxi Operators only thinking about themselves
City Manager Janice Brathwaite-Edwards (left) said Christmas on DeCastro Street will remain at that location. Photo: VINO
Christmas on DeCastro Street began on December 2, 2016 and ends on December 3, 2016. Photo: VINO
Christmas on DeCastro Street began on December 2, 2016 and ends on December 3, 2016. Photo: VINO
One of the booths at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
One of the booths at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Traffic has been diverted from DeCastro Street due to the 2-day event, Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Traffic has been diverted from DeCastro Street due to the 2-day event, Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Making Christmas on DeCastro Street sweeter with honey! Photo: VINO
Making Christmas on DeCastro Street sweeter with honey! Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Some of the items on sale at Christmas on DeCastro Street. Photo: VINO
Children were part of the crowd at Christmas on DeCastro Street on December 2, 2016. Photo: VINO
Children were part of the crowd at Christmas on DeCastro Street on December 2, 2016. Photo: VINO
Children were part of the crowd at Christmas on DeCastro Street on December 2, 2016. Photo: VINO
Children were part of the crowd at Christmas on DeCastro Street on December 2, 2016. Photo: VINO
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- The heart of Road Town was converted into a Christmas affair when the 18th edition of Christmas on DeCastro Street, a two-day shopping, socialising, and entertainment extravaganza, got underway on December 2, 2016.

The smell of food, sounds of fungi music, chatter, laughter, and squeals were all around as customers utilised the special deals offered by the many vendors selling various items ranging from Christmas toys, local foods, drinks, clothing, shoes and household items.

DeCastro Street was blocked off from both ends, from the entrance to Bobby’s Supermarket to Scotiabank and instead of vehicular traffic, customers were seen strolling from one booth to the next at their own pace.

While many seemed pleased with the chance to indulge for two days, at least one section of society is not sharing their gaiety.

Taxi Operators not pleased with the street blocking

Several taxi operators have expressed displeasure with the activity being on DeCastro Street since the road has to be blocked off for the two days. According to them, a traffic headache has been caused for them and other vehicle operators during the busy tourist season.

They suggested that the festivities be moved to the parking lot near Tortola Pier Park, Festival Grounds or even returned to Main Street.

“You don’t block up downtown over an event when you have to move 6,000 tourists and make life difficult for everybody. The whole thing needs to be moved! Find some place to put it,” one elderly taxi operator who refused to give his name told this news site.

He said when the tourists come to the territory, which is so heavily dependent on the tourist dollar; it disrupts the traffic flow unnecessarily.

According to other taxi drivers, when that amount of tourists have to be transported back and forth to various sites, the taxi operators have to be fighting a battle with other road users channeling the same diverted routes. They see the entire operation as a direct result of poor planning by the authorities.

Today, December 3, 3026, is the second and final day of the Christmas on DeCastro Street, and three ships have called to the Virgin Islands.

City Manager hits back

In an interview with City Manager Janice Brathwaite-Edwards, she said the event is only for two days and it benefits a wide cross-section of society, noting that the taxi operators are only concerned about themselves.

“As the manager of the City, it is my duty that everybody gets a piece of the pie. I’m sure you listened to the news this week where the vendors for Crafts Alive complained that they are not getting any business. We had a good flow yesterday and in the evening it got a little heavier. We expect that today would be even better.”

Main Street out, no support

In her response to moving back to the old location on Main Street, the City Manager said apart from the lack of space to move about, which had patrons bumping into each other; another major concern was the lack of support from the business owners, whereas, on DeCastro Street, the event is now better supported by the surrounding business places.

“So it’s worth it,” she said.

Tortola Pier Park out of the question

Brathwaite-Edwards noted that the TPP is doing its own marketing and it is her job to market the city of Road Town so that other people could benefit, so moving the Christmas activity there is out of the question.

“So if I take Christmas on DeCastro Street and over to the cruise pier, you know what I did? I just killed the city.”

Event assists vendors @ Crafts Alive

Some 65 vendors are currently taking part in the event, including those from Crafts Alive, who came to the event since it provides them with an avenue for sales. She said the vendors seemed to be happy and the tourists who came were very supportive.

“They did excellent yesterday,” she said referring to the vendors. “Yesterday was very productive.”

Taxi men all for themselves

The City Manager remarked that the taxi operators are only caring for themselves.

“So they are saying it from their perspective. They can also use alternate routes to get to where they need to go. Christmas on DeCastro Street cannot fit where they want it to fit, you can’t tell me where to put it because you don’t know what the government plans are for property,” she pointed out; adding that some of the properties are leased and she would have to go to a hundred leases to get that property, whereas the location where it is held is crown land and they don’t have to pay either.

“So taxi men are going to say what they say because they want it to be convenient to them.”

According to the City Manager, some $80,000 was needed to host the two -day event.

The crowd on the opening day was entertained by a 10-man group from Her Majesty’s Prison called Project X, Razor Blades, Fire Bird Dance group, St George’s Secondary, Lashing Dogs among others.

31 Responses to “Taxi drivers & City Manager clash over Xmas on DeCastro Street”

  • pat (03/12/2016, 15:50) Like (16) Dislike (4) Reply
    Always some confusion with this gang
    • Gwen (04/12/2016, 18:16) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      The 8th picture down from the top showing these beautiful colorful shoulder bags, what store is this please? I would like to purchase one.
  • Jan don't play (03/12/2016, 15:59) Like (23) Dislike (12) Reply
    Pound for pound, Janice will whip his A$$.
    • Selfish.. (03/12/2016, 16:45) Like (29) Dislike (4) Reply
      NDP and Taxi drivers are all the same. Self centered, selfish, greedy and don't care about the people. To hell with the thousands of us that's enjoying it...Just like what NDP did to our music Festival..
    • Ray Rice (03/12/2016, 18:03) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
      Want to bet
    • @Jan... (03/12/2016, 21:43) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
      God don't sleep too. So let's see how "pound for pound" works out in the end.
  • . (03/12/2016, 15:59) Like (29) Dislike (18) Reply
    christmas on decastro st. was a dumb idea period.
  • resident (03/12/2016, 16:02) Like (34) Dislike (7) Reply
    City Manager you stand your ground and don't be bullied by those selfish taxi drivers that feel the road belongs to them whether ship in or not.
  • Road Town (03/12/2016, 16:10) Like (8) Dislike (9) Reply
    Is a city? Delusions of grandeur
  • street reporter. (03/12/2016, 16:41) Like (46) Dislike (3) Reply
    No need for confrontation. This is just once a year a 3 day inconvenience a two day celebration and it's nothing new or unexpected. It's getting bigger and bigger.. It's Unique.. It's different.. Just let it be..
  • Really (03/12/2016, 17:02) Like (2) Dislike (0) Reply
    Eh eh Roadtown mele what a ting
  • DON Q (03/12/2016, 17:09) Like (10) Dislike (7) Reply
    Ndp in so janice run things
  • Hmmm (03/12/2016, 18:27) Like (24) Dislike (17) Reply
    I dont usually side with the taxi men as they are a rude bunch but I have to agree Christian on DeCastro street is a waste of time. The vendors dont even come out early to set up. 2 ships in today and i was there around 11am and only the toy stalls set up....no food no crafts and there was people there looking around but nothing of substance to see. Also traffic was horrible both friday and today as there was ships on both days and no one out there to direct traffic and we know we only drive for ourself. So i would say put it back in Main Street.
    • ann (03/12/2016, 20:43) Like (9) Dislike (5) Reply
      I totally agree cause traffic was terrible and nobody now a days obey the rules of the road especially when it comes to stop signs.
      They either need to occupy all the parking lots on that side of the road or move it back main street which give more options of get from east to west and also the bank's.
  • Ha Ha (03/12/2016, 18:41) Like (38) Dislike (6) Reply
    Taste of them own medicine. Taxi drivers are the most obnoxious people around, they don't give a damn. Serves them right. I love Christmas on DeCasto street.
    • Curious (03/12/2016, 20:26) Like (13) Dislike (8) Reply
      Not because you hate taxi drivers mean you should support ignorance.. the flow of traffic was badly affected... there is already a road block via paraquita bay and yet you have one on the busiest street in town. It doesn't make sense..she is all about herself also... you just don't do things without the public input..
  • belonger (03/12/2016, 19:08) Like (11) Dislike (16) Reply
    I'm in agreement with the Taxi drivers, blocking the streets for what. It is a complete waste of time, a nightmare for the motoring public. City manager has nothing to do but create confusion in the middle of Road Town. Everybody looking for a money grab and have nothing decent to offer the ppl. Christmas on de Castro my a$$, waste of time. What we trying to prove and to who. Taxi drivers should protests this $h*#+ by not taking the tourists there. NDP need to scrap this $h*#t.
  • Funny stuff! (03/12/2016, 19:11) Like (25) Dislike (1) Reply
    Soooooo a group of people famous for blocking the street indiscriminately is complaining and highly upset because another group of people is blocking the street? Lol. Funny stuff!
  • musa (03/12/2016, 19:17) Like (11) Dislike (2) Reply
    miss manager good job tell those taxi drivers to cool out and b part of the fun
  • Consideration (03/12/2016, 20:30) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    I understand what the taxi drivers are saying to an extent, bearing in mind, they don't consider anyone when they are on the road.
    What can be arranged is to have a few traffic guards posted in the parking lot to stop the inconsiderate fools who double park knowing full well that that area will be used to redirect traffic. If that is strictly enforced, there will be enough room for vehicles to travel in both directions without hindrance. I see no reason why that can't be done.
    I heard of some who took over an hour to get to work. Certainly we have to look at it from every aspect in order to accommodate the majority. Can't say yes or no because we have the authority to do so. Drop the ego and do what is practical.
  • Sherry (03/12/2016, 23:49) Like (7) Dislike (0) Reply
    While I understand the need for space for vendors and pedestrians, I miss the ambiance, connection with the past,
    and charm of main st. Maybe the shop owners in original stores could get more involved in opening their shops with more fanfare and involvement.
  • just an idea (03/12/2016, 23:54) Like (10) Dislike (3) Reply
    I think the venue should be changed to the newly constructed road behind the Admin complex. It will also give the Pier park stores a chance to take part in the celebrations. This would avoid any traffic problems.
  • Shsrk (04/12/2016, 00:38) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    When come election Tell them the Taxi Men be Voting green and white all the way.
  • Hate confusion people.. (04/12/2016, 08:18) Like (5) Dislike (1) Reply
    These Taxi guys just like confusion. How many years this is been going on now? The taxi people should have had their plans to get around this.. Stop blaming someone or something that you know years a Head. It's on you all the Taxi people to put a workable plan in place for those 3 days.. Hate confusion people.. I'm not a fan of NDP or the City manager.. But i have their back on this one.
    • Consideration (04/12/2016, 09:40) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
      There are several factors at play. This is the 3rd year so not that long. Three ships in this year with the new arrangements with the various cruise lines.
      Far more cars on the island (something that has to be looked at), therefore more traffic.
      We have to look at practicality when planning events. That area is a high commercial area and we can't inconvenience the majority because a few don't want to admit that it is a hindrance.
      To the city manager, keep an open mind and come up with a practical solution.
  • wize up (04/12/2016, 13:47) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply
    The reality of the issue; BVI have more vehicles than 18 years ago therefore closing off any public road will seriously disrupt the move of traffic: why not have the event on the festival grounds or by the pier park...To disrupt the taxi guys from making a dollar should be added.....
  • Street Reporter. @ Consideration (04/12/2016, 14:25) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    That's the idea of it...to bring well needed business activity to that commercial area.. When the Cruise ships are gone our people and their businesses will still be here...in our calm minds and consideration let's put on the agenda local businesses..Which ate often forgotten...
  • Braxton (04/12/2016, 18:19) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    Why don't they hold all of the functions in town at the festival ground? This would free up all of the traffic.
  • move (06/12/2016, 13:24) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Move this event to the FESTIVAL GROUND!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


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