LETTER TO THE EDITOR
I wish to write a letter of concern, directed mainly to females travelling alone at the Sir Lynden Pindling International Airport.
While travelling last week, I had an early flight to Florida for a business meeting, and since I arrived at the airport at 4:30 in the morning it was fairly dark. Now I do realize that I should have been more alert to my surroundings, and should have paid close attention to the signs, but I must admit that when travelling alone on the streets of Nassau in recent times – there is a certain fear that exists due to the increasing crime rate in the Bahamas that our government refuses to seriously do anything about (until it touches them). So when I pulled up to the parking lot at Sir Lynden Pindling Airport, I only wanted to get my ticket, park my vehicle and get inside. Needless to say, I did not look at where I was parking nor the rates that I would be charged.
After a hectic day in Florida, the only thing I wanted to do was to come home, but fate would have it that the traffic made it impossible for me to make my original flight, so I was delayed for another two hours.
It was after 11o’clock on Friday evening when I finally made it through Customs and I walked very quickly to the parking lot to retrieve my vehicle. I looked in my wallet, and realized I had about $17 in cash left, and concluded that the rates couldn’t have gone up that much, and I would have sufficient monies to get out of the parking lot, since it was originally $8 a day.
Tired, frustrated, and in need of a good meal, I pulled up to the exit, and presented my ticket to the young man behind the window, but to my horror, not only did he tell me that parking at the airport in Short Term for one day was $30 (much more than any parking lot in the entire country), but after I told him I only had $17 in cash, the young man told me that in order for me to leave the parking lot I had to offer him “something of value”. The first thought that ran through my mind, was this little boy must be joking, but I assure you Mr. Editor – he was not. I did not look like a prostitute, and I was baffled, offended, bewildered and scared all at once. This was not happening. Not in my Bahamas??
I know that I should have paid attention to which parking lot I entered. I know that it was my fault that I parked in a $30 parking zone (which is totally absurd to begin with, but I guess the government will get it out of us one way or the other), and the point is while I truly didn’t mind reversing my vehicle to go to the ATM and get the necessary funds to pay for the parking, I wonder how many other women he’s used this line on, and has benefited from it.
With the country in its current state of fear due to the increasing murders every day and uncertainty of what is going to happen to our economy, and with the government looking to the church for answers to solve the problems with young men, how are we (women particularly) to feel safe when public servants (I assume) can tell innocent women (because I know he would never say that to a man) to give him “something of value” to get out of paying the $30 parking fee, and how many times has the airport’s till suffered for his folly.
I was outraged, but after reversing my car and picking up my passenger (who was a man), and going back to the window to pay my $30 for one day parking – he had nothing to say. Had I not had any more money, had I not have an extra passenger travelling with me that night, what would have been my fate that night at the airport, and more importantly how many other women has he done this to?
Mr. Editor it may not be a grave concern for men who can handle themselves, but for business women and single women like me who travel alone – this is important, and I hope you can make sure other women get to see this as well – if only to be aware.