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Charlotte Amalie
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
HomeNewsArchivesQUESTION REMAINS: TO LEGALIZE 'GYPSIES' OR NOT

QUESTION REMAINS: TO LEGALIZE 'GYPSIES' OR NOT

Lack of enforcement is at the heart of the problem with illegal "gypsy" cabs, senators, cab drivers and representatives of the taxi industry agreed Tuesday night. But whether to legalize the "gypsies" or get them off the streets was still an open question at the end of the meeting of the Government Operations Committee.
The V.I. Taxicab Commission and the Police Department's traffic division are charged with regulating the industry. Taxi Commission Chairwoman Eva Richardson said a majority of the commission voted recently to establish a Class B system that would allow the now-illegal taxis to pay tariffs and be allowed to operate legally, with restrictions, according to the V.I. Independent.
One taxi driver wondered how that would work.
"How are we going to make something legal that's illegal?" asked Milton Moreland, a licensed taxi operator.
Licensed operators expressed concern at the growing number of "gypsies," the Independent reported. Kenneth Hermon, president of the V.I. Taxi Association, said that unless funds were identified to support regulation of independent operators, he could not support legalization of the "gypsies."
The other issue raised at the meeting was the procedure for appointing the Taxi Commission's executive director. The law provides that a recommendation be made by the commission for an executive director and submitted to the governor. But according to Richardson, that's not what has been happening.
Instead, she said, previous administrations have had a pattern of "appointing someone and sending them down to us," Richardson said.
Taxi drivers then "have to work with who they send us, which isn't always the best thing, as in the case of the last director," she added.
Former Executive Director Christoph Massac was terminated when the Turnbull administration took office in January.
Several operators suggested, and Sen. Roosevelt David agreed, that it should be the taxi operators' responsibility to elect a director, as opposed the governor making the appointment.
Richardson said 1,700 medallioned operators are registered in the taxi system. She estimated 250 illegal "gypsies" are operating on St. Thomas.

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Lack of enforcement is at the heart of the problem with illegal "gypsy" cabs, senators, cab drivers and representatives of the taxi industry agreed Tuesday night. But whether to legalize the "gypsies" or get them off the streets was still an open question at the end of the meeting of the Government Operations Committee.
The V.I. Taxicab Commission and the Police Department's traffic division are charged with regulating the industry. Taxi Commission Chairwoman Eva Richardson said a majority of the commission voted recently to establish a Class B system that would allow the now-illegal taxis to pay tariffs and be allowed to operate legally, with restrictions, according to the V.I. Independent.
One taxi driver wondered how that would work.
"How are we going to make something legal that's illegal?" asked Milton Moreland, a licensed taxi operator.
Licensed operators expressed concern at the growing number of "gypsies," the Independent reported. Kenneth Hermon, president of the V.I. Taxi Association, said that unless funds were identified to support regulation of independent operators, he could not support legalization of the "gypsies."
The other issue raised at the meeting was the procedure for appointing the Taxi Commission's executive director. The law provides that a recommendation be made by the commission for an executive director and submitted to the governor. But according to Richardson, that's not what has been happening.
Instead, she said, previous administrations have had a pattern of "appointing someone and sending them down to us," Richardson said.
Taxi drivers then "have to work with who they send us, which isn't always the best thing, as in the case of the last director," she added.
Former Executive Director Christoph Massac was terminated when the Turnbull administration took office in January.
Several operators suggested, and Sen. Roosevelt David agreed, that it should be the taxi operators' responsibility to elect a director, as opposed the governor making the appointment.
Richardson said 1,700 medallioned operators are registered in the taxi system. She estimated 250 illegal "gypsies" are operating on St. Thomas.