Premier David Burt Responds To BTOA Allegations

On Friday night in the House of Assembly, during the motion to adjourn where members were discussing road safety, I made some frank comments about the difficulties experienced by residents trying to get taxis at late night hours.

I want to make it clear that I do not in any way think that the taxi industry is responsible for the unspeakable tragedy that happened with Mr Marco Warren. If anyone who listened to the comments in the House of Assembly took that from my words, let me categorically state that was not my intention. That would disrespect his memory, and I have nothing but respect for him and his family. I can accept why some could make that link from my comments on Friday night or the story in the daily newspaper on Monday; however, that isn’t my view – and it was not the message I wanted to convey when I spoke.

My comments were not intended to be an attack on taxi owners or operators, as I know that many of them are also frustrated at the state of the industry in Bermuda. Mostly these ambassadors for Bermuda get the blame for what goes wrong but never get the credit for the unsung actions of kindness that will never be written about in the newspaper or covered in the news. To repeat, my comments were not an attack (as portrayed in the daily newspaper) but the reality as I see it and as many residents experience it.

I did say in Parliament that it is difficult to get taxis late at night and that it needs to be easier to get alternate transport in Bermuda when required. All elected leaders should be forthright when speaking in Parliament, and I was forthright as that has been the reality for me and the reality for many we represent. I was also forthright in admitting that this situation is something that the Government still needs to fix, and I committed to ensuring that we get Public Service Vehicle reform completed so that we can progress as a country and put these issues behind us.

This is not about the Government -vs- the taxi industry; this is about coming together to solve problems that impact our attractiveness as a business destination, a tourist destination, and our collective quality of life. No one likes the current reality, and the Government will advance reform to ensure that the future reality works better for all who require transport.

I encourage the leadership of the taxi industry to listen to the comments I made in the House of Assembly on and to reach out directly to the Ministry of Transport on these issues rather than trying to debate them in the media.

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