City Gate maxi taxi drivers plan to “shut down” in protest of increasing crime

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City Gate maxi taxi drivers plan to “shut down” in protest of increasing crime

An increase in robberies and a lack of security at the City Gate hub in Port of Spain has left maxi taxi drivers extremely frustrated and they are now threatening protest action.

They said that five to eight maxi taxis a week are being held up by bandits at City Gate and also along the route.

The drivers also blamed the ramped-up police presence in the other parts of the capital city, noting this made them soft targets for the criminals.

One maxi taxi operator, Anthony Castillo, told media that while he will lose money, he was prepared to stop working.

“I’m ready to shut down this whole system because the authorities are not dealing with crime outside, and crime is affecting us very badly. People are robbing others upstairs in the transit centre, and this transit centre is the main hub for Trinidad and Tobago,” he said.

The drivers said the robberies are not isolated to them, since commuters have also become victims.

Driver Christopher Lewis said they want to see some action in less than 48 hours, or else they will halt their services.

“At the end of the day, our backs are against the wall. We are under attack, and we turn the wheels of the economy. If we strike, nurses, police officers, immigration officers, and children will not be able to commute, and the whole country could collapse because of this strike. We don’t want it, but at the same time, we need action, not talk. This talk about security has been going on for years inside of here,” Lewis said.

“Within the next 24 to 48 hours, some action needs to be taken. If you have to put 20 soldiers here, because they are trained to attack and defend, we cannot defend ourselves here.”

However, Route Two Maxi Taxi Association acting president David Harewood said he’s been given assurances that solutions are being worked on as talks with the police are ongoing and they are requesting to be part of the Carnival anti-crime initiative.

“We are very certain that we are not at a place where nothing will be done. I was given assurances; I have been on the phone with the Assistant Superintendent of Police of the Transit Police, and I have been on the phone with PTSC, and I was given the assurance that something will be done,” he said.