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Aranguez taxi drivers strike

Close to 80 taxi drivers from the Aranguez Taxi Drivers’ Association and the Don Miguel-Aranguez Taxi Association staged a silent protest at the Aranguez Taxi Stand in San Juan this morning to express concern and outrage over the killing of fellow driver Baliram Boodlal Balgobin.

Balgobin was killed during a robbery in Ali’s Drive, Aranguez yesterday.

Newsday spoke to President of the Aranguez Taxi Drivers’ Association Ramcharam Temal who said while Balgobin’s murder was the catalyst for their action, safety and security of taxi drivers was recurring issue.

President of the Aranguez Taxi Drivers’ Association Ramcharam Temal sits near the Aranguez Taxi Stand in San Juan, in silent protest for the death of fellow taxi driver Baliram Boodlal Balgobin on Thursday afternoon during a robbery. Photo: Shane Superville

He said drivers continued to risk their lives and lamented the absence of CCTV cameras along the taxi stand and railway road in San Juan.

“We are here to show solidarity for our brother who lost his life in such a tragic manner. In his time as a taxi driver he never had any issues with the other drivers or any passengers, so there was no reason for him to be murdered.

“There are no cameras along Railway Road to the south of the taxi stand so this area is very vulnerable to attack by bandits. It would be of great help to the authorities if there were cameras here to find who did this.”

President of the Aranguez Taxi Drivers’ Association Ramcharan Temal, left shakes hands with Urban Santana of the Don Miguel-Barataria Taxi Association in an act of solidarity in protest against the murder of taxi driver Baliram Boodlal Balgobin on Thursday. Photo: Shane Superville

Newsday also spoke to Abrahim Ali, Public Relations Officer of the San Juan Business Association, who denounced Balgobin’s killing and said more security cameras were needed along the taxi stand. He said the association stood in solidarity with the taxi drivers and said a strike by taxi drivers could have serious repercussions for the business community.

“In any community when the transportation aspect collapses there is often a corresponding drop in the well-being of the business and economy of that area. No taxis on the road means that there are fewer people that can get to the markets, the groceries and so on. We stand with the taxi driver in this time because it affects all of us.”

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