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UPDATE: Taxi drivers at boiling point hence meeting with Premier

-Permission granted by RVIPF for protest, Opposition should be left out- Julio Sam Henry
Julio Sam Henry led the press briefing this morning October 24, 2013 when it was announced that permission was granted for the protest to go ahead. Photo: VINO
Members from several taxi Associations across the VI were present at this morning's interaction with the media. Photo: VINO
Members from several taxi Associations across the VI were present at this morning's interaction with the media. Photo: VINO
A democratic vote taken by a group of taxi drivers during a meeting held yesterday, October 23, 2013 halted the association’s participation in a planned protest motorcade on Friday 25, 2013. Photo: VINO
A democratic vote taken by a group of taxi drivers during a meeting held yesterday, October 23, 2013 halted the association’s participation in a planned protest motorcade on Friday 25, 2013. Photo: VINO
Taxi drivers instead opted to hold a closed-door hearing with Premier Dr The Hon. D. Orlando Smith to air their concerns on the cruise industry following the cancellation of port calls by Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) earlier this month. Photo: VINO/File
Taxi drivers instead opted to hold a closed-door hearing with Premier Dr The Hon. D. Orlando Smith to air their concerns on the cruise industry following the cancellation of port calls by Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) earlier this month. Photo: VINO/File
A meeting between the Premier and taxi drivers is expected to determine whether any protest action will go ahead at a later date. Photo: VINO
A meeting between the Premier and taxi drivers is expected to determine whether any protest action will go ahead at a later date. Photo: VINO
A contingent of ten, in addition to Director of the Taxi and Livery Commission Mr Dameon Percival (above), will meet with the Premier tomorrow. Photo: VINO
A contingent of ten, in addition to Director of the Taxi and Livery Commission Mr Dameon Percival (above), will meet with the Premier tomorrow. Photo: VINO
Julio Sam Henry said he recognised that there was an attempt to ‘divide and conquer’ and ‘change minds and hearts’ from the protest during the meeting. Photo: VINO/File
Julio Sam Henry said he recognised that there was an attempt to ‘divide and conquer’ and ‘change minds and hearts’ from the protest during the meeting. Photo: VINO/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – Select members of the taxi associations across the Virgin Islands held a press briefing with members of the media this morning October 24, 2013 where it was said they are opting for a meeting with the Premier and Minister of Finance Dr the Honourable D. Orlando Smith as they are now at “boiling point”.

Lead speaker for the group, Mr Julio Sam Henry told media operatives that Minister for Communications and Works Honourable Mark H. Vanterpool has been engaging the public and other stakeholders almost a year and a half on the matters of the cruise industry without satisfaction to them.

“The Minister for Communications and Works (Hon. Vanterpool) has been having meetings and presentations for about a year and a half in relation to the cruise industry [and] now we are at a boiling point. It is now appropriate for us to go to the top since we haven’t had any resolve from the [BVI] Ports Authority or the Minister for Communications and Works,” said Mr Henry, who was supported by others in attendance.

Reporters were told that the decision to go sit with the Premier first is to see what he has to say. “… see what kind of plans the Premier has, see if he accepts some of our solutions and ideas to the problems and then we will make a decision after that,” Mr Henry noted.

“Even the Minister for Communications and Works has to answer to the Premier in this relation,” he added.

The group will also be having a meeting with the senior functionaries of the BVI Ports Authority, another with Hon. Vanterpool and also with the Managing Director of the BVI Ports Authority at 6 P.M. today.

Leave Opposition out

Asked about the level of involvement of the Members of the Opposition and other Ministers and senior functionaries of Government, Mr Henry said he has not been approached and no other member of Government or Opposition has been in contact with the taxi associations since the issue was made public.

“To date, as far as I am concerned, none has contacted me to see how they can assist to dialogue. I can’t speak for the others or the rest of these guys,” Mr Henry stated.

Questioned further as to the involvement of Members of the Opposition, he said “From what I gather on the street, somebody said to me don’t involve the Opposition because then it becomes an Opposition/Government thing and they don’t want to have politics involved in it.”

He said he has been advised that having the Opposition involved will be a distraction. “What we want is for the government of the day to address the problem, it’s their problem. It is the government of the day who is the one who has been negotiating and conversing with the cruise liners. The government of the day is the one who Carnival [Crusie Line] said refused to give them a booking date, the government of the day is the one who has the authority to give in or out of the cruise liners so we believe that’s the right way to go,” Mr Henry argued.

RVIPF grants permission for protest

Media operatives were also told that approval for the protest action was granted yesterday afternoon October 23, 2013 from the Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mr Alwin James. “We have up to ten days to decide when we are going to have the protest. What we decided as a group last night, based on the conversations and feeling from that meeting with the premier as a group, the entire fraternity will decided if we want to lead the charge in protest.”

Mr Henry said he would have personally loved to see all concerned join force to make it a big “BVI thing”.

“Everybody has the same right as we do. We believe that we immediately will be affected based on where we are and where we work when it relates to cruise tourism but we also believe we are also the extension to the wider community and the business community so I would have loved to include everybody in our protest. Since we are leading the charge it is our decision, which is to sit first with the Premier,” explained Mr Julio Sam Henry.

Among the others present at the press briefing this morning were Brother Farid Rasheed, Mr Karl “Dubb” Scatliffe and Michael Herbert.

See previous story posted October 24, 2013:

Taxi drivers vote to abort protest action

- meeting planned with Premier & taxi drivers to address concerns

ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI – A democratic vote taken by a group of taxi drivers during a meeting held yesterday, October 23, 2013 halted the association’s participation in a planned protest motorcade on Friday 25, 2013. 

Taxi drivers instead opted to hold a closed-door hearing with Premier Dr The Hon. D. Orlando Smith to air their concerns on the cruise industry following the cancellation of port calls by Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) earlier this month.

This meeting with the Premier is expected to determine whether any protest action will go ahead at a later date. A contingent of ten, in addition to Director of the Taxi and Livery Commission Mr Dameon Percival, will meet with the Premier tomorrow.

Later, on the Open Mic radio show aired last evening, host and taxi driver Julio Sam Henry said he recognised that there was an attempt to ‘divide and conquer’ and ‘change minds and hearts’ from the protest during the meeting.

Henry said he believed if there was a government that was transparent and communicating with the support cast (the people) then he could support the government.

“I can’t support the government in a situation like that when you have the Senior Vice President of the industry of that particular cruise line [CCL] saying to the people of the territory and the government that under no circumstances would they be going through those two other ships that the government is trying to sign,” Henry said.

Minister for Communications and Works, Hon. Mark H. Vanterpool expressed that government would continue to pursue negotiations with Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Disney Cruise Line (DCL) despite CCL’s protests about having to go through either company to secure berthing agreements for the 2015-2016 period.

Guest on the show, Natalio Wheatley aka Sowande Uhuru suggested that a tourism development plan be formulated which forms part of a national development plan. “This is something that everybody will participate in,” he stated, “I don’t like this brand of leadership where we say we are the guys that know everything and we’re gonna do things on behalf of you, we know what’s good for you, you just stay on the side lines and we’ll look after you.”

He said the plan should deal with cruise tourism, eco-tourism and sports tourism among others and this will help to determine what type of cruise passengers the territory desires.

Taxi drivers have contended that CCL remained the only line that has consistently sent ships to the territory outside of the tourist season during the summer months and are now disgruntled that this would not continue as a result of government’s negotiations.

27 Responses to “UPDATE: Taxi drivers at boiling point hence meeting with Premier”

  • ooooo (24/10/2013, 09:11) Like (14) Dislike (5) Reply
    the taximen got cold feet but we will do our job at the polls
  • . (24/10/2013, 09:12) Like (8) Dislike (2) Reply
    cowards
  • Free Ride (24/10/2013, 09:20) Like (11) Dislike (3) Reply
    The Taxi drivers can't complain about a divide a conquer policy when they themselves are seeking private council with the Premier. It seems that the Taxi Drivers are effectively a monopoly and unchallengeable by Government. Hence they believe that they should receive special treatment.
    The monopoly needs to be broken up with more competition and then perhaps the fares charged will reflect a decent and cost effective service.
  • ha!!! (24/10/2013, 09:22) Like (21) Dislike (7) Reply

    HAHAHA!!!! Sam you think anybody studying you with your bull£$%6? All the time you all fighting against foreign take over but now you're a champion of Carnival? Do some research on Carnival Cruise Lines and their behavior in other Caribbean Islands. Stop letting politics blind you!! Just because a few safaris make a few bucks off Carnival means we should let them come in here and do what the hell they want? HELL NO!!! IT seems the other Taxi guys realize that all they will do is fr*g themselves with protesting and making a set of noise. Come to the table, try to understand what's going on instead of trying to embarrass the Government. If all else fails then I can see you protesting because that's your right. But it should not have been the first move. You don't burn bridges like that boss, if you looking to run for election that's fine but you are going nowhere fast with that shoot from the hip attitude. Mark, Claude and NDP need to get their heads right with this project but you are not helping with adding ignorance to the flame. What Carnival has done by talking to our media is no different to what Biwater did when they came on our airwaves dissing our local company and promising gold. Now look where they are 3yrs later, still on fr*gg*ng dry land. Pick your battles carefully mehson!

  • Ah saw (24/10/2013, 09:24) Like (11) Dislike (5) Reply
    Just like what the NDP doing with the media they now going to do with the taxi men which is silence them by telling them a bunch of half truths & casually threaten them.
  • Sell out (24/10/2013, 09:26) Like (13) Dislike (2) Reply
    The few NDP taxi men infiltrating the others & now they selling out to these questionable NDP characters.
  • here we go again (24/10/2013, 09:28) Like (21) Dislike (4) Reply
    In the BVI it is always hard to fight for the rights of anything because we never stick together. The only two people I see that fights for the people & never sell them out like these guys going to do is Fraser & Fahie. That's a fact & I don't like them but I respect them.
  • tour boat operators (24/10/2013, 09:37) Like (6) Dislike (4) Reply
    Bunch ah cowards thats what they are.
    • wellsaw (24/10/2013, 19:02) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      Hold on a minute , sam dem are a gullible people, and naïve when I comes to meeting with orlando
  • Taxi driver (24/10/2013, 09:49) Like (2) Dislike (1) Reply
    What ever they do the Government I'm speaking mr smith make sure your desigion is in the people of this territory best interest,be a man fire whose to be fired its only making your Government look bad
  • Hmmm (24/10/2013, 09:51) Like (4) Dislike (1) Reply
    What a pity...that's all I can say.
  • When Yoy Don't Know... (24/10/2013, 10:44) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    Carnival Cruise Lines in Belize - tendering problems
    Jan 25, 2011, 10:41 PM
    Be warned, cruises in Belize are in jeopardy if you are using Carnival. NCL and RCCL and HAL are good to go - no problems with these guys, only Carnival, who seem to have generated one heck of a mess over tendering. Seems they have, after ten years of great service, increased sizes and capabilities in tenders, and tens of millions of dollars in investments, disrespected the local tender guys and want to put in their own US based operator. The Belizeans are up in arms and have the backing of their tourism ministry and the government as a whole (the Prime Minister got involved, and its seems Carnival disrespected him as well). Now the cat is out of the bag as Carnival's beloved operator, Chukka Cove of Jamaica, brought into Belize at the consternation of that little country, has bid to Carnival to handle the tendering at cost, with a proviso that Carnival give them exclusivity and increased numbers, and help them obtain the business of the other cruise lines in Belize - in other words, a cruise monopoly. Both Carnival and Chukka Cove must be mad - this will incense the Belizeans and goodness knows what will result - what Carnival has managed to get in several destinations : demonstrations against them. So.....if you are planning a cruise to Belize, advice? Use NCL, RCCL, or HAL. And NCL will now be calling on the Belize port all year 'round, so there is your golden opportunity to be assured porting in Belize.....
  • Well............ (24/10/2013, 10:55) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply
    1. Re: Carnival Cruise Lines in Belize - tendering problems
    Jan 26, 2011, 5:13 PM
    Just say NO to carnival.
    Did they really think the sneaky dealing wouldn't come to light? Really? Foolish monopolies.
    Edited: 5:14 pm, January 26, 2011

    2. Re: Carnival Cruise Lines in Belize - tendering problems
    Jan 26, 2011, 5:39 PM
    I have taken the tenders to/from Royal Caribbean/Belize City on two occasions. The vessels used are large, comfortable, modern, twin-hulled with very professional crew and are well maintained, clean and comfortable. Carnival is just proving to the world what a low-class operation they really are.

    3. Re: Carnival Cruise Lines in Belize - tendering problems
    Jan 26, 2011, 10:05 PM
    Good advice, they are real rip-off artists and are driving many small business people in Belize out of business. Their pile it high sell it cheap operations are notorious.
    If you MUST go with Carnival, be sure to not to book an expensive and bad shore trip with them, organise your own with one of the many good tour guides who will be at the tourist village, they have Belize Tourist Board rate cards, you will have a wonderful time, not be herded like a sheep, and you will be helping Belizeans, not Carnival, which, by the way, has a turnover many times bigger than the GDP of Belize.

  • Talk Sense (24/10/2013, 12:21) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    A lot of you quick to come on here and talk piddle but you need to sit down and take stock. Have you ever seen a country in turmoil prosper? Have you ever seen investors run to a country where instability is prevalent? People it's time that we look at things objectively and stop the nonsense. We have to try and get this country moving in the right direction and we are going to have to do it collaboratively.If we fail to do this I forsee that we will lose corn and husks.
  • xxxxxxxx (24/10/2013, 12:33) Like (0) Dislike (1) Reply
    sam sold out bottom line!
  • weed (24/10/2013, 14:15) Like (1) Dislike (1) Reply

    DO NOT BACK DOWN SAM LETS MARCH ON THAT R@$$

  • wise-up (24/10/2013, 14:28) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    and the question is; which "P" will be elected come 2015
  • ooooo (24/10/2013, 14:39) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    most of these taximen in the photos are ndp's
    • mvw (24/10/2013, 18:42) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
      fools who voted the NDP in and we will be the same set to vote them out.
  • Ducky (24/10/2013, 16:47) Like (2) Dislike (2) Reply
    Cruise ships - bad in general for the economy.
    Cruise ships - bad in general for the environment.
    Cruise sheep - no money to spend ashore.
    Cruise ships and their passengers - generally won't be missed.
    • wise up (25/10/2013, 00:14) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
      i agree; cruise ship are not the way to go...we need to attract more over-night travelers
  • BVIlander (24/10/2013, 18:22) Like (1) Dislike (0) Reply
    You have the chance to live hear after visiting stay too hell out of what don't concern you hush your a$$
  • @@@@@@ (26/10/2013, 18:04) Like (0) Dislike (0) Reply
    NDP in turmoil thats all i can say. How can they want to govern a country anymore when they cant even get their act together.


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