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Protest as cabbies charged for displaying dead colleague’s photo on vehicles

BY ALICIA SUTHERLAND Observer staff reporter sutherlanda@jamaicaobserver.com

Saturday, June 07, 2014    

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MANDEVILLE, Manchester — Three taxi operators were yesterday charged in Mandeville for displaying photographs of a dead colleague on their windshields.

Forty-nine-year-old taxi operator Rupert Taylor, better known as 'Cat', was stabbed to death at his home in Belretiro, Manchester, early Monday.

His fellow cabbies, mourning his loss, were reportedly charged $2,500 by the police for having his photograph on their vehicles. The police contended that displaying the pictures breached the Road Traffic Act.

However, the incident sparked a protest by disgruntled taxi men, relatives of the deceased and other concerned people.

Among the protesters, was the dead man's sister, Elaine Taylor, who declared that she was at a loss as to why taxi operators were charged given that it was common practice for motorists to display photos on their vehicles.

"Everybody else picture guh on the cars and they don't tear it off. As fi 'Cat' go on it dem tearing it off (and charging taxi men). Other people deh pon it til dem bury... It nuh right," she said.

On the scene of the protest, which occurred in the vicinity of Willogate, the Jamaica Observer was told by a police officer that the taxi operators were charged as it was illegal for "PPV" (Public Passenger Vehicles) to have posters on the windshields, windows or the rear glass.

However, one taxi man said that he was not aware that he was breaking the law under such circumstances.

He said that he would not display pictures or posters on his vehicle again even though he believed that the law forbidding the practice is just a "moneymaking thing".

Later in the day, the Observer was informed that a number of taxi operators travelled to the Mandeville Police Station to have further dialogue with a senior officer about the issue of contention.

Meanwhile, investigations continue in relation to Taylor's death. A man who was detained is still in police custody while another is being sought for questioning.

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