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a564: Uproar over NIA Haitian Hackers (fwd)

From: Daniel Schweissing <dan_schweissing@hotmail.com>

Uproar over NIA Haitian hackers

  Released Wednesday, January 23, 2002 at 10:10 am EST by Keva Lightbourne


  Guardian Staff Reporter

  Emotions are running high at the Nassau International Airport (NIA)
between taxi cab drivers and
  Haitian hackers, who are said to be soliciting fares illegally.

  Cab drivers claim on a daily basis more than 20 of these immigrants are
stationed at the airport,
  charging exorbitant fees to visitors who are clueless as to what is going

  Armed with placards, the enraged cab drivers took their plight to the Road
Traffic Department on
  Tuesday during a peaceful two-hour demonstration in front of the
Government Building.

  The cab drivers have asked the Prime Minister to intervene because they
felt that all other avenues -
  the Airport Authority and Road Traffic Department - had let them down on
several occasions and were
  only "full of promises."

  "Every year we go through all the right procedures. We pay insurance, for
Public Service badges, and
  we have to have a proper dress code, and these Haitians do nothing, and
they are being allowed to
  steal our jobs," said Cheryl Ferguson, taxi representative at NIA.

  "If a customer leave their luggage in their cars, they can't retrieve it.
But in a taxi, 99 per cent of the time
  when a luggage or a personal item is left, they can locate us because we
are properly licensed, with
  proper taxi plates," Ferguson said.

  She added that the same situation existed at the Charter Section.

  Ferguson accused the Airport Authority and Road Traffic Department of
being lax in their jobs when
  dealing with the situation.

  She said officials were blaming the situation on language barrier.

  "They (Haitian hackers) have become so greedy because they see that no one
is chasing them, that
  they are now taking visitors, Bahamians, and whomever they could."

  Stephen Stubbs, a cab driver of more than 30 years said the situation had
reached the point where
  Bahamian taxi cab drivers were quarreling with each other for fares.

  When contacted, Airport Authority General Manager Idris Reid denied this

  He said the Authority was aware of the complaint and had asked the cab
drivers on several occasions
  to present their evidence of persons who were involved in hacking.

  "I am sympathetic to their plight, but without names and information of
the persons involved there is
  nothing we can do," Reid said.

  However, he noted that security officers have been put on alert and a
number of persons were being

  "If I find that there are persons transporting people from the airport
illegally, then the situation will be
  dealt with," Reid said.

  But, he said, the Authority had no evidence to support the hacking charge.

  Accordingly, Road Traffic Controller Brensil Rolle said he did not have
the authority to approach the
  Haitian hackers and ask them to cease their operations.

  "I cannot say to an individual who is dressed in normal plain clothes that
he ought not to go on the
  airport lot. If the person speaks another language and he comes there to
meet his friends or other
  people, I do not have the authority to tell him not to do so," Rolle said.

  But, he added that he identified several stands on Bay Street and near the
Hilton Hotel which were to
  be labeled for taxi cabs only.

Copyright (c) 2001 by Nassau Guardian

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