Bridgetown Taximen now ravenous piranhas for Twenty20 – Manners must be learned before Tourism is lost

ICC-Twenty20This time of year is when Polo winds down and in general the tourist season wraps up and hotel staff are allowed to be on vacation, usually! But then ICC’s Twenty20 cricket match for the Caribbean on until May 16 has made an odd flurry of unprecedented action all around Barbados.

Having learned their lessons from the disaster which was Cricket World Cup 2007, people are actually encouraged to bring their noisemakers (But can folk bring their own food and drink? Is that ok too? Jury seems to be out on that one…) even Kensington Oval has invested in Night-Klieg’s which have been tested since at events like Crop Over.

Before we examine present-day Barbados, I’m gonna step back to Barbados in the mid to late 70’s… When I would go in the City and visit Wayfarers’ Bookstore at Trident House or the Advocate Bookshop in Norman Centre’s ground floor.

Cab outside Parliament, that one is not necessarily a Pest... (Click on for bigger photo)

Cab outside Parliament, that one is not necessarily a Pest... (Click on for bigger photo)

What would annoy me is how occupants of the Taxi stands at both Lower Greens and Upper Broad Street by Nelson statue would holler out if I want a cab? Even if I was seen yesterday? Am I that forgettable? This progressed as time marched along into the 80’s and I was a deejay at Starcom then Rediffusion and into the late 90’s while at CBC. I know I’m light-skinned but it does not automatically mean I want a taxi to get somewhere? I can catch a bus? Do all tourists want a cab? They enjoy sight-seeing themselves on occasion…

I remember being so exasperated in my CBC days, I said once how I live here and the driver cursed me with foul language and shout ‘What the f**k does that have to do with where I’m going?‘ From that day forth I said if I use a taxi, every ZR and Transport Board bus would have to be broken down, so how intelligent was his response? “Paul” is still paying for all!

One of the oldest Taxi stands in the island, but some of the drivers there need Dale Carnegie very badly!

One of the oldest Taxi stands in the island, but some of the drivers there need Dale Carnegie very badly!

I remember wanting to to do a white T-Shirt which would blare in bright orange block capitals;- “IF I WANT A TAXI THEN I WILL ASK FOR ONE!” But once I got a car, I pretty much forgot that notion, until yesterday… I was not dressed like a tourist this time around (I personally ADORE aloha shirts, shorts and sandals as a rule – helloooOOOooo?? But then we’re in the Tropics?), now I was in semi-formal Business gear! Blue long-sleeved shirt, navy slacks and black dress shoes – guess what? As I am moving from one appointment to another along Broad Street I get about 3 approaches and I can see genuine tourists harassed even more so!

When I was by the Women’s Self Help crossing to Chefette by Trafalgar Square {Now renamed Heroes’ Square, why not rename Barbados? I mean, how petty, really!} I was sick and tired of the pestering and I said loudly, “I DO NOT WANT A TAXI!” very loudly about seven to ten times, no cursing just straight talk – so I had two cabbies push themselves in my face asking “Taxi?” over and over again. While others shouted and cursed at me…

I am making a plea for the Police to censure these taxi-men before they chase away the few tourists coming in for Twenty20, if these bullying chauffeurs have to be treated like soliciting prostitutes and get arrested, then so be it!

Whatever became of Tourism is our business, let’s play our part? What’s the taxi-folk’s part? A 42nd Street version of Freddie Kruger?

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