KINGSTON – Just the mention of the word rape and several taxi operators react with scorn. They say it is one of the most hateful criminal acts being perpetrated on females, reasoning that imposter taxi drivers should be weeded out of the system and allow legitimate operators to carry on the business.
The seriousness of the situation was brought to the fore once again by The Sunday Gleaner headline Warning For Women… Men posing as taxi drivers on rape spree, which sought to shed more light on what has become a major concern for the Centre for Investigation of Sexual Offences and Child Abuse (CISOCA).
“No real taxi man will ever consider doing that. We are hardworking and mostly considerate people, who take our job seriously,” said Simon Blake, who operates along the Half-Way-Tree to Price Rite, St Andrew route.
“Running taxi is my food and that has never crossed my mind. I believe whoever doing that dem a just impostors,” he said, while awaiting a load near the Half-Way-Tree Transportation Centre.
More than 50 females have been raped and robbed over the last two years by these men posing as taxi drivers, the story revealed on Sunday.
It also mentioned that 27 such cases had been reported in 2016 and another 16 in 2017. CISOCA said that it has received nine reports “fitting the pattern” of how these acts are carried out and went on to urge female commuters to take extra precaution when using taxis.
For Robert Hamilton, another taxi operator, the real issue is how the police deal with the matter that will make female passengers feel safe once again when using the service.
“It don’t even matter what plate dem a use, white or red, de man dem just wicked and greedy. Real taxi man not doing that,” Hamilton explained.
“The police fi weed dem out and deal with them rough. Because dem causing harm to women and children and to our business that puts food on the table for our families.”
Meanwhile, Denise Myres, a secretary at On Time Taxi Service, was quick to make the distinction between the route and special service taxis.
Stressing the safety and security of the service her company provides, she said that the most glaring difference between route taxis and companies such as hers is the distinct customer base and mode of operations under the terms of the respective road licences.