Grand Bahama taxi drivers will have the opportunity to earn up to an additional $40,000 monthly based on an agreement between the Taxi Union and Bahamas Paradise Cruises, announced June 4, 2018. Minister of State for Grand Bahama, in the Office of the Prime Minister, Kwasi Thompson described the day as “a significant one” for taxi drivers as well as Bahamas Paradise Cruises. “Today is a significant day for our taxi drivers in Grand Bahama. Particularly those who operate from the Freeport Harbour. Taxis have continued to struggle for business in Grand Bahama for many years. It also cannot be denied that there continues to be inequality in the business that taxi drivers receive at the harbor.” “To this end,” he continued, “we are very pleased that an agreement has been arrived at between the Taxi Union and Bahamas Paradise Cruises.”
Both parties came together with the hope of coming to an agreement amicable to all involved. According to the Minister, “While this does not resolve all of the issues the taxi drivers have, it does represent a significant step forward for taxi drivers.” The taxi drivers will transport the overnight guests, and the tour buses will take the day passengers. As a result of the agreement, it is estimated that taxi drivers will receive up to $10,000 weekly or $40,000 monthly with new business. “What makes this business even more important is the taxis are able to build relationships with their passengers who are staying on the island overnight, and therefore, can arrange future trips which can result in a better experience for the guests and more economic activity for the driver. “It is also worth mentioning, that in conjunction with the Ministry of Tourism, we negotiated an airlift agreement with Sunwing and now have the return of the Vacation Express.”
Eight non-stop flights from various US cities have already begun, with the first welcomed in Grand Bahama last week. These flights are also bringing additional business for taxi drivers. “While we are pleased for these developments, the government is also continuing negotiations with the Grand Lucayan.” He said, “We agree with the developer Paul Winn, that although these negotiations are and continue to be very complex, we believe that we are at the end of this process. We look forward to the renovations and full opening of the Grand Lucayan very shortly.” A Heads of Agreement is also expected with the Grand Palm Acquisitions Ltd., the former Ginn Project, in West Grand Bahama shortly and will allow for the development to proceed. “Today, we are very pleased that we have arrived at an amicable arrangement with respect to providing more taxi business and providing more passengers for taxi drivers to be able to transport.” The Minister continued, “While we are pleased, we are not finished. We still have a whole lot more work to do, and so the government is dedicated to seeing that we complete this work here in Grand Bahama.” President of the Grand Bahama Taxi Union, David Jones described the day as “significant” and added that “it is a step in the right direction.” Also present during the press conference were: Harcourt Brown, Permanent Secretary, Office of the Prime Minister; along with representatives from the Road Traffic Department, Ministry of Tourism, Grand Celebration and the Taxi Union.