Grenada: The Government of Grenada will check the possibility of implementing additional relief aid to the nation’s taxi-drivers, a division of persons particularly hard-hit by the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic.
The petition was not merely for a handout but for essential ways to help protect livelihoods, such as a cessation from lending institutions and permissions for buses’ purchase to provide public transportation.
The preponderance of taxi drivers has been without income since the pandemic reached our shores in March last year, halting cruise ship services and significantly slowing stay-over arrivals.
Speaking on behalf of members, the President of the taxi association, Mr. Cosmos Williams, said, “It is tough; we are looking for help in any form. We are grateful for the stimulus package we received, but it has been almost a year that we have been without any real income. A few of us have options, like I’m doing some farming, but most members do not have an alternative income source. I think it is unfair that some people should be seeking increases at a time when so many others do not even have a source of income,”
Mr. Williams also suggested that Government be pragmatic in its approach when the cruise ship industry resumes operations to ensure that the country remains a competitive and attractive destination.
In response, the Prime Minister acknowledged the plight of taxi drivers and many others who have been without any income for several months and welcomed the various suggestions made.
Dr. Mitchell said, “My advice is that you compile the various suggestions for how Government can assist and share these with the Minister of Finance, who will arrange a meeting with you, next week. Following that, recommendations can be made to Cabinet on what Government can do to help. Remember, too, and Government has its challenges with a significant reduction in revenue. Still, we also have a fundamental responsibility to help the people, and that is what we try to do.”
The Prime Minister also commended the taxi drivers for their nationalistic approach, not merely demanding assistance but also exploring ways to work together to achieve a common objective.
The Prime Minister expressed optimism that we will soon see an uptick in economic activity as the COVID-19 vaccines become more available and world travel resumes in earnest. Life returns to some sense of normalcy.