Home Letters Airport taxi drivers are tourism marketers
As it relates to certified taxi drivers at the Cheddi Jagan International Airport (CJIA), I must firstly state that there are many decent, pleasant, respectful and elegantly dressed drivers who help to market our country to tourists and visiting Guyanese from abroad. They are key pioneers of our impression to the world and in many cases, have helped to enhance our reputation.
However, there are those who bring shame to Guyana by indulging in vulgarity and abusing passengers (asking for a small piece) at this prestigious airport. I am extremely disappointed by the following:
On Tuesday, January 10, 2017 I was at the airport and I was very dissatisfied, shocked and embarrassed, upon picking up my mother, to observe the behaviour of a taxi driver dressed in his uniform speaking loudly to other taxi drivers in the presence of incoming foreigners. He was clearly trying to make a spectacle of himself but his ignorance may have caused potential investors to be turned away by this simple action.
With his mentality for stupidity and the others going along with him, I asked a question to myself: “Don’t they know that they represent our nation?” We must remember that when people visit countries, the first impression that they get is from our peoples.
Once I returned from foreign and I took a taxi with a young man who was passionate to drive me down. As our destination was Light and Charlotte Streets, Georgetown, I realised that he took a route through Albouystown, Charlestown and Princess Street. In my mind, I thought he could have taken the Mandela Avenue into Brickdam route where I could have seen some places of interest (1763 Monument, National Cultural Centre, etc) and also observe the infrastructure of the capital city. I was saddened that a man who should be marketing our country, decided to drive on roads with pot holes, bumps and no traffic signs. After I got to my destination, I paid him his due without a tip. On another occasion, I and my family arrived at the airport and we needed a minibus to carry all of us home with our luggage. As I was asking, one minibus driver said that “you need to pay double”. I simply told him that he could not work in such an institution and take advantage of a customer and I refused to pay him such a price as man of discipline and as a patriot.
Following that statement, he refused to take me and my family and all the other taxi drivers said that they would not; I believe there arose a conspiracy which made me believe that they were all working together for each other to get their way by abusing passengers. I began to imagine the level of disrespect and hustle that other Guyanese and foreigners face at the hands of such deceitful taxi and bus airport drivers. It must be reasonable to mention that after this incident occurred, the management of the CJIA sanctioned and suspended the bus driver. Later, a senior official of the Airport called and apologised sincerely for the ordeal.
I wish to advise the Public Infrastructure Ministry and the management of the CJIA that courses or classes can be given to the drivers on courtesy, respect and hospitality as they are expected to behave with certain decorum and class.
I wish to reiterate that they are many elegant and decent drivers at present, but they are the few who operate with hooliganism that need to be sanctioned. It would not be a bad decision to bring back the intelligence system, as our nation needs to be proud and shine for the Caribbean and the entire world.
I believe that tourism will play a major role in the development of Guyana. I am calling on the board of the CJIA, the Ministry of the Presidency, the Tourism Ministry, and the Public Infrastructure Tourism to look into this matter urgently.