Taxi operators who ply their trade in the Heritage Quay area will be subject to new procedures and an entry-card requirement soon.
This is an initiative being undertaken by Global Ports Holdings (GPH) Ltd., which is responsible for the management of the cruise-tourism sector, including the Heritage Quay Shopping Complex.
Application forms reportedly are being circulated to taxi operators with a request that they complete and sign.
In the accompanying explanation, GPH says the new procedures have been established for security purposes, while the identity cards will allow duly registered taxi operators entry into the shopping complex.
However, it advises, the ID does not grant them entry into the port.
The application targets authorized members of the St. John’s Taxi Association who wish to enter Heritage Quay and ply their trade among cruise-ship passengers.
However, well-known taxi-operator Clefrin “Chalkie” Colbourne is not at all pleased with this development and the position of the Association’s head on the matter.
As he struggled during the COVID-19 pandemic, Colbourne says, Global Ports was nowhere around and it did not offer taxi operators a stimulus, assistance or advice.
Chalkie says he is his own boss, knows what is best for him to do, and believes in rights. Therefore, he says, he will not be forced into doing anything he does not wish.
The veteran taxi-operator says that persons in authority have a tendency of implementing things without first having discussions with those who will be impacted.
In order to obtain the GPH identification card, taxi-operators must submit a number of documents, including: a valid work permit (for non-citizens); a COVID-19 vaccination card; copies of the Ministry of Tourism’s Licensing and Classification Permit and its COVID-19 certification; and a valid driver’s license.
Other requirements are copies of a Public Service Permit from the Transport Board and of the requisite vehicle insurance, as well as a mandatory ISPS Sensitization Awareness Training Certificate.
According to GBH, applications submitted without the required documentation will not be accepted, and all new applicants will undergo security vetting and background checks.