By Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, March 5, 2018 – One of St. Kitts’ popular downtown attraction was turned into a war zone last week, according to local media reports.
Taxi operators around the Berkeley Memorial, or The Circus area, are voicing concerns over several recent incidents of violence that threaten to interfere with the tourism product of the island as well as significantly impact their source of work.
The vocalising of their concerns come after an apparent gang-related incident, just after midday on March 3, where several young men threw rocks and bottles at each other, around the Circus area, with no regard for life or property.
Passers-by reportedly had to run and seek shelter to avoid sustaining any injuries.
There were no reports of injury but at least two taxi operators had their vehicles damaged. The windscreen of one vehicle was shattered while the side view mirror of another was broken off.
Saturday’s incident is said to be the third in the area in less than two months.
Tourists have been caught in the middle of the disputes and have suffered injuries.
One taxi operator called for increased security and better lighting around the circus area.
“I think there needs to be more security within the Basseterre area in the tourism sector. The reason why I say that we ply our trade right here at the taxi stand and sometimes at night you can barely see any security passing around, most taxi drivers wouldn’t even work past 9 ‘o’clock because no safety, the lighting is very poor and we have to be very careful. Now lately, we saw an incident the other day where some guys were fighting and apparently a bottle ricocheted and hit a tourist.
Now if we don’t start to deal with this now what happens if it becomes more serious and somebody gets seriously injured, what are we gonna say who work in the tourism industry? Are we gonna stand by and say our young people? We who work in this industry have to protect it and it means that we have to call out right from wrong and these things that are happening with our youngsters we have to call them out on it,” the taxi operator told WINNFM news.