WATCH: ‘Tired and fed up’ – One Voice taxi operators strike over ‘unfair’ treatment from Gov’t
KINGSTON, Jamaica – Taxi operators from the One Voice Taxi Association have withdrawn their services on Monday, stating that for the last four months they have been living in fear and operating at the mercy of the Government, the court system and police.
“At this time, we will be withdrawing our service, so that we will be able to reach to the Government to put across our problems, put across our concerns and to seek their assistance in helping the public transportation sector,” he said.
“The Government, over the last three to four months and to date, we have not gotten anything satisfactory. The operators and the investors are tired, they are fed up, and they are worried, living in fear, operating in fear, operating at the mercy of the court and the discretion of the police,” Lorraine “Ascar” Finikin, spokesman of the One Voice Taxi Association told the OBSERVER ONLINE on Sunday.
In November 2022, bus and taxi operators took strike action in pursuit of a traffic ticket amnesty from the Government. They demanded the amnesty due to the threat of being jailed under the more punitive new Road Traffic Act because of unpaid tickets, some of which they argued were issued unfairly.
In addition, taxi operators in the Corporate Area at the time likened their plight to that of the late George Floyd in the United States, stating that Prime Minister Andrew Holness “has his knees” on their neck.
Against this background, Finikin said cabbies are calling for the attention from the Government as they believe that the system has not treated them fairly.
“We need the attention of the Government of Jamaica, because we were part and parcel that helped to put them in power to ask them to govern for us, to govern on our behalf, to govern for the best for us. But, nonetheless, the evidence before us, the Government of Jamaica is governing against us,” he said.
The strike is not being supported by some other taxi associations including the major Transport Operators Development Sustainable Services but Finkin said he has the support of a significant number of independent route taxi operators across the island.