Former National Taxi Union (NTU) President, Lucien Joseph, declaring that ‘enough is enough’, has asserted that taxi operators need concessions from the government to cope with rising fuel prices.
Joseph told St Lucia Times that there is also need for the implementation of a long-delayed policy for the taxi sector that was agreed upon by several stakeholders.
“From the year 2002 we have not received an increase – we have absorbed gas prices, increase in oil, in brakes – in all kinds of spare parts for vehicles,” the former NTU President observed.
He asserted that the organisation he once headed is now dormant, since as far as he is concerned the NTU is not speaking up on behalf of its members.
Joseph observed that luxury vehicles are required in the industry, but the fares that are paid for transporting people do not compensate for the upkeep of the vehicles.
“Really, you are working for peanuts,” the former NTU official told St Lucia Times, while explaining that hotels are being given concessions.
He recalled that taxi drivers had appealed to the current administration to adopt a policy on the taxi sector.
But according to Joseph, concerns were raised about some aspects of the document, whereupon he recommended that a committee be put in place to resolve the issues.
“I am not behind concessions per se, but if we have a policy in place it will govern all the things that need to be done, so that we can have a better life” he explained.
Joseph observed that taxi drivers are currently at the mercy of hotels.
“If they don’t want us, they can kick us out,” he told St Lucia Times.
“We want concessions for sure, but the main thing we want is for the policy to be adopted. With the policy we have concessions, we have protection, we have ways and means of doing business – it has the laws being laid out. If there is an issue, we can go to the policy and the authorities can address the issue based on the policy.”
According to the former NTU President, the policy was about to be adopted by the former Saint Lucia Labour Party (SLP) administration when it was voted out of office.
“This policy, we were trying to put this policy in place for over ten years you know,” he stated.