Feb. 26, 2009 -- For too long taxi drivers, who are routinely rude to tourists and who are even heard telling lies to visitors to the island of St. Thomas, have held back progress on our water-surrounded island.
There is no reason tourists should not be allowed to circumvent hideous traffic by taking a water taxi from one side of our beautiful harbor to the other. And indeed, taxi operators have been offered first dibs on setting it up.
And now comes the harassment. In front of a group of tourists, the V.I. Taxi Cab Commission took it upon itself to stop a harbor tour operation during a circuit to issue a citation of dubious merit.
Even if Pirates Harbour Tour was operating outside of its guidelines by collecting cash on board, making tourists -- our lifeblood -- also pay the price is unconscionable, but far too typical.
We have long wondered how this one small interest group -- taxi drivers -- has held such a stranglehold on our economy and stymied our constitutional right to fair trade.
Further, it would be interesting to see the justification for such a "sting" operation as is described by both the Taxi Cab Commission and the employees of Pirates Harbour Tour. It sounds more like entrapment than a "sting" operation. I think our public officials should be outraged by the entire scenario.
And then there are the fines. How about a fine for the taxi drivers who overcharge customers, yell at them, refuse local riders and have been heard swearing at elderly visitors who had the nerve to try and get out of a van on their own?
When is fair, fair? Never, it seems, where the taxis are concerned.