Legal taximen not involved in abductions, say Portmore operators

BY RACQUEL PORTER Observer staff reporter

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

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PORTMORE taxi operators, who have been accused of involvement in violence against women and children, say the allegations have caused a drop in passenger support.

The operators, who yesterday morning withdrew their services and protested in front of the Portmore Mall, said the allegations are having devastating effect on their livelihood.

"Wi get fed up with people a say a taxi man a do those things weh a gwaan. The people them have it twisted. Weh mi see them a do is bring some old killings from way back when, add some voice notes to them and circulate it on social media. Everything a happen them say a taxi man involve in it," said taxi operator Milton Ellis.

"Wi need the whole globe to know say taxi man no have nothing on wi mind, but just to come out and ensure that the public have proper service, look we money and provide for our family and go back home. We no have no time to rape. If you notice all a who out here, these are ‘beknowing’ face weh the whole globe know. Real people nah rape," Ellis, continued, noting that the claims are affecting his income.

"It no take nothing for taxi man to suffer because wi done a suffer already by the hands of everything [and] now it come in like it [allegations] crash our business. Mi a beg the man them to stop," Ellis said.

Last week, the police charged a Portmore man for abducting and raping a 14-year-old girl last December. The man was charged with rape and grievous assault when he was pointed out in an identification parade after he was recaptured. The man had escaped custody last year while being escorted to the Waterford Police Station.

The latest in the spate of violence against women across the island was reported on Sunday when the body of 23-year-old Nile Brown of Denham Town, Kingston, was found in a barrel in Ramble, St Thomas.

Following calls on social media to wear black on Monday, in solidarity to stop violence against women and children, a number of people heeded the call.

Ellis claimed that social media users claimed they know who the perpetrators are but unfortunately their claims have not led to any arrest, and so he is calling on the public to join forces to prevent violence against women and children.

Ellis, also urged passengers to be vigilant when taking public transportation. "When you come at the stand, you can even go to a ‘loader man’ and ask him if him know the driver," he said.

Another operator, Raymond Green, otherwise known as "Super Black" was equally frustrated.

Green, who has been operating a taxi since 2007, suggested that if there were requirements for taxi operators to put their pictures on their motorcars in order to differentiate legitimate operators, they would comply.

At the same time, the operators said that the Portmore municipality is in dire need of a taxi stand in the town centre.

"More than 500 new plates (taxi licences) issued over here and nobody has addressed us about a taxi stand. We need a taxi stand, Mr Henry (transport minister)," said taxi operator Danny Ebanks.

"According to the amount of routes in Portmore, I believe there should be a taxi stand to operate from. If we have a taxi stand where the man them can line up in, the people them will know the real taxi operators," added Wayne McKane, another taxi operator.

According to McKane, the only taxi stand in Portmore is in Naggo Head.

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