St. John’s Antigua- A confrontation between the Airport Authority and the United Taxi Association threatened to derail the groundbreaking ceremony of the new terminal at the VC Bird International Airport on Wednesday.
The fracas arose after the taxi drivers were asked to park elsewhere to accommodate the ceremony.
President of the United Taxi Association Arthur George said the police were called to remove the taxi drivers yesterday as preparations began.
“This is our regular parking spot and what they asked us to do is to move out and go into Stanford parking lot and we would have to bear the cost. This we rejected and then they told us we have to move or else they would bring the wrecker to remove the vehicles, so we protested this,” George said.
“We are 92 members strong and each driver pays $360 to operate here on an annual basis. So we don’t see that we should pay an additional cost to operate at the airport,” George added.
The association president said after tense negotiations they were able to come to a temporary solution with the police officers and were instead asked to relocate to the former Antigua Sun premises adjacent to their regular parking area.
“We happened to resolve the problem now and so they asked us to park over in this (printery) area for about 6 hours and then we can return and go back to normal,” George said.
Recent work to prepare the ground for the new terminal resulted in the taxi driver’s regular parking spot being flattened. However George said they will be allowed to continue using the area until the Airport Authority completes construction of a new parking area for the taxi drivers.
“They are going to build us a car park in the southern section and a new office but the hold-up is the land does not belong to them so they are in negotiation with the Stanford group and that is turning it into a long term thing,” George said.