MAHÉ, Seychelles, 28 August 2018 – Kempinski Hotel’s GM Masami Egami felt the brunt of angry Seychelles Taxi Association members for not abiding by the rules and regulations of Seychelles. Kempinski Hotel Seychelles was totally barricaded by taxis and no movement in and out of the hotel’s main and back entrances was possible even as Seychelles Police Officers looked on.
According to Jemie Bonne, Chairman of the Seychelles Taxi Association, taxis were being bypassed for what is deemed to be illegal transfer arrangements by Kempinski Hotel and the Taxi Association members have been boiling up for some time waiting for the Government of the islands to move in and bring Kempinski Hotel into line. “Last Saturday from 6 am, our members moved in by themselves saying ‘enough is enough’ and barricaded the hotel’s entrances to show their displeasure at a letter received from the hotel pushing them out of the hotel’s grounds to the main road entrance kiosk for the duration of some renovation works,” said Bonne.
Holding banners and posters with the message “Stop Apartheid Tourism” taxi drivers stood at the Hotel’s entrance waiting for Anne Lafortune and Pat Andre, the Heads from the Seychelles Ministry of Tourism and for Land Transport to arrive. The Taxis were very grateful for the understanding and support received by the Seychelles Government’s representatives who sat with them and the Kempinski Hotel’s Management. “Our Seychelles needs to claim back its tourism industry to stop such actions by overseas hotel groups who have no respect for Seychellois,” the taxi men said.
The blockade ended after a compromise was reached during a meeting brokered by Government Representatives. “The Taxi Association is set to continue pursuing our claims against Kempinski Hotel and we will again block the hotel if Kempinski Hotel’s GM Egami does not respect the operating rules of the country,” said Bonne.
Anne Lafortune cautioned against such blockages affecting the tourism industry, but the Taxi Representatives said that as much as they appreciated the call by Lafortune, that the responsibility for the unrest lies with Kempinski Hotel who want to be “above the laws and regulations of the country.” The Taxi Association also said they are waiting for Danny Faure, the President of the Republic of Seychelles, to finalise proposals presented at meetings following petitions to the President to put the sector in order.