Reprieved taxi driver finally gets back licence – The Royal Gazette | Bermuda News, Business, Sports, Events, & Community

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Reprieved taxi driver finally gets back licence

A taxi driver who lost his livelihood after he was accused but later cleared of involvement in a bankcard fraud scheme has been given back his licence to drive a cab after almost a year.

Eldon Robinson, 53, got back on the road last Friday after the Transport Control Department renewed his licence after his application had been deferred.

He said that he had returned to work part-time. Mr Robinson added: “I feel good; I can get back to my life again.”

Mr Robinson, from St George's, drove Tiberiu Gavrila, 46, from Romania, and Radu Asavei, 32, from Britain, to Hamilton in January 2019 after they told him they were tourists who needed a ride.

He was later arrested along with the two men after police found the pair planned to steal cash from bankers HSBC using fake cards.

Gavrila and Asavel were jailed for a year in January.

Mr Robinson was accused of conspiring to help them remove stolen money from Bermuda and he battled the case for 17 months until magistrate Khamisi Tokunbo dismissed the charge on July 15.

TCD refused to renew his taxi licence after it expired in August last year and Mr Robinson was plunged into debt.

Mr Robinson said that his application to renew his licence was supposed to be deferred until September.

But he added that TCD called him on August 13 — the day after The Royal Gazette reported his story — to tell him that the licence had been renewed.

He said: “A woman told me not even a week before then that I wasn't approved and my deferment was extended.

“But after they heard me bringing them up in the news, all of a sudden, I can get my licence back.”

Mr Robinson added: “I thought it was so bizarre — like, I've got to take this to the press in order to get a licence.”

Mr Robinson said that his previous boss had agreed to bring him back as a taxi driver as soon as possible.

He admitted that he would be driving part-time only because another taxi driver had been hired to replace him soon after he was let go.

But Mr Robinson added: “I could be worse off; I couldn't find anything beforehand.”

Mr Robinson said that he was frustrated with the length of time it took for him to be approved by TCD, even after his acquittal.

He said: “If you're constantly giving me a deferred decision, that means you're constantly postponing me getting my licence back and the opportunity to drive, knowing that I've already been acquitted.

“They don't realise how this thing has a domino effect and it affects other people's lives.”

A spokesman for TCD said that the Public Service Vehicles Licensing Board deferred its decision on Mr Robinson's taxi licence until his court case had concluded.

He added that written confirmation of Mr Robinson's case had been delayed and had stalled the reinstatement.

Mr Robinson said that he still had a lot of debt to pay off and that it will take him a long time to recover.

He added that he still had to help support a 24-year-old son in university and several elderly family members.

Mr Robinson said that he was hopeful things would now turn around for him.

He added: “At this point, I've just let God take the wheel and He doesn't keep a good man down.”

Mr Robinson hopes to meet the Government to propose an idea for a partition that could be installed in taxis to keep drivers safe from infection during the Covid-19 pandemic.

He said: “My cousin and I designed it out of Plexiglas. We've designed them so they can attach to the front seat of the taxi.

“It's basically a way to provide a little bit more safety for taxi drivers because we still have cases coming in.”

Looking forward: Eldon Robinson (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published August 24, 2020 at 9:00 am (Updated August 24, 2020 at 7:35 am)

Reprieved taxi driver finally gets back licence

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