Minister ‘concerned’ over claims injured tourist put in taxi trunk
Concern has been expressed by Wayne Furbert, the transport minister, regarding claims that a taxi driver would only carry an injured tourist to hospital if he got in the trunk of his hatchback cab because the man was wet.
Wayne Caines, a government MP and chairman of the Bermuda Tourism Authority, raised the alleged incident in the House of Assembly when he noted that a lack of transportation was cited by tourists as the biggest problem when visiting the island.
The Bermuda Taxi Owners and Operators Association has launched an inquiry into the claims about the injured tourist.
Asked about the alleged incident, Mr Furbert said: “I am always concerned when things are done wrong.”
He added that he was not involved in the investigation into the matter being conducted by the taxi association because it was an independent investigation.
While it is not clear when the alleged incident took place, Mr Caines said the cab driver in question saw that the tourist was wet and said “you cannot get in my taxi wet”.
Speaking during the motion to adjourn, Mr Caines said the man was “reeling in pain” with a broken leg but he has since clarified it was a shoulder injury.
Mr Caines said: “The taxi driver says ‘the only thing I can do as a compromise is put you in the trunk’.
“He takes the tourist and two workers take him, he opens the trunk … and places the tourist in the hatchback of the car and he goes down the street.”
The BTOA has urged cab users not to jump to conclusions regarding the claim.
A spokeswoman for the association said both sides of the story needed to be heard if it was true.
She said: “Although it may appear inhumane what the taxi operator did, we assume the injured person was delivered to the hospital as requested.
“We are thankful that the driver thought outside of the box to complete the service required as well as not jeopardising the work he would undertake the rest of the day.”
The BTOA also hit out at Mr Caines’s remarks in which he said he was quoting a BTA survey which found that the biggest tourist concern about visiting Bermuda is the lack of available transport on the island.
Mr Caines told MPs that he had highlighted the unusual incident as he called for “honest talks” on the issue of taxi availability on the island.
He said: “The thing that caused the most concern, on record, documented, put in writing, to the BTA was transportation, local transportation.”