Veteran taxi driver loses job over literacy skills

| 09/04/2010

(CNS): A local man who has been driving taxis in Grand Cayman for three decades has been denied a taxi license because he cannot read and write.  Richard Hydes told News 27 that for nearly 30-years he’s been on the job making a living with tourists but he is now unemployed after his specialist license expired recently. When he tried to renew it the Public Transport Unit refused to help him do the required test orally as he has done in the past because the Traffic Law states that drivers must be able to read and write. Hydes says that after all these years he knows no other job and is upset that the PTU is not prepared to made an exception for him and offer him the chance to do the test orally.

“Give me thequestions and I’ll give them answers,” the veteran driver said. “Anything they want to know about the island, if they ask me I can tell them.”
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  1. Anonymous says:

    I am somewhat amused by some of the comments made below and the current format of the driving test in Cayman. I myself have been driving for years and my license has allowed me to drive in countries where I do not speak nor can I write in the local language yet I can manage perfectly well on the roads, whether they are left or right hand drive systems. There is a bigger problem here. Considering how simple the driving test is in Cayman (taken my expats and Caymanians alike) it is no wonder that there are so many accidents on the island. In fact, years ago (I am not sure if the law has changed), one could pass a test in an automatic but be allowed to drive a manual the next day!

    The problem is then compounded by the fact that there is no respect to (practical) speed limits, with young men been the most guilty nor is there much enforcement of the quality of driving. Never have I seen so many cars turned upside down on the side of the road or people who have no idea how to use a-round-about (I have even seen people driving the wrong way around them) as I have in Cayman, a population of circa 50k.

    While I agree that perhaps one should be able to read and write to pass a driving test there are bigger faults in the system that the government need to address. I would be more concerned that I can share the road with someone that can actually drive. Whether they can read or write is the least of my concerns.

    To really appreciate how bad the driving here is, buy a bicycle and see how little respect drivers give you.

  2. Anonymous says:

    There is more to this story than Mr. Hydes is admitting. The powers that be at the Public Transport Unit should let the public know the real story.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Does the Cayman Islands comply with ILO Satndards? If so, I agree with the writer that ask where is this mans right to descent work!!!!

    • Phuk phuk says:

      I think these poeple need to focus their energies on denying illiterates the right to use computers to access the internet and post on the CNS boards- am I the only one that sees eendles speeling and granma earors that seam to show the populashun that is posting is nutting but a bunch a hignants?  Unna nah sea dat mos’sa da postas dem cyan right proppa henglish?  An’ ewen wen dem a pos’ deam a use wordses dat is clearly not fi di porpoise dat dey is usin’ dem fah. 

      Maybe da SPITZ officahs gwan start henforcin’ de laws of granma and speeling.

      Nuf said – cyan tuch dis!!!  I’s Caymanian!!

      • Anonymous says:

        I find many of these posts colourful and entertaining. I would much rather see these people’s opinions than have them be thwarted by issues of "proper  English". Some posters like you submit in dialect just for the fun of it.  And it is fun!   And mi one gwan too!

    • Better says:

      He can work, just not in a job for which the law correctly requires a minimum level of literacy. 

  4. Anonymous says:

    The situation should have been dealt with differently from the first time Mr. Hydes applied.  1.  He should have been given the licence.  2.  He should have been told that on the second occasion he would not get if it he does not learn to read and write.  3.  Suggestions should have been made on where he can actually go and learn to read and write.

    The way forward:  1.  Give him the licence.  2.  Send him to learn to read and write with the evening classes being offered by the Savannah Seventh Day Adventist Church.  The classes are held at the George Hicks School.  Reading classes are also held at the West Bay Seventh Day Adventist Church. 

  5. Anonymous says:

    I am POSITIVE that Mr. Hydes is NOT the only person in Cayman driving who cannot read and write. This is truly a sad blow to the willingness of this man to work. It would be a good poll to see just how many of the taxi drivers licensed can read and write. I dare say the numbers would be staggering in favor of illiteracy.

    Come on PTU- if this is a new policy then ‘grandfather’ it in. This man has now been doing this for 30 years and its only now that the government is going to see it fit to take bread out of his mouth. This is a shameless and cowardly act.

    Where is Mr. Hydes HUMAN RIGHTS to earn a decent living??

    • Rum Pole says:

      This sort of nonsense post does the human rights movement no good whatsoever.  There are no human rights issues involved in this decision to uphold a properly past law.

  6. Anonymous says:

    With all of the churches and service clubs on this island lets see which one will come forward first and offer to spend a bit of their time teaching this man to read.

    • Anonymous says:

      Anon Sun 9:33: They don’t have time. they’re too busy doing other things like building new churches (eg just west of Bodden Town) or holding big tent evangelistic clap hands hooplas.

      • Lev Itticus says:

        The churches in Cayman are form over substance and have forgotten the teachings of Christ when it comes to Christianity.

      • irie says:

        Yes as usual…it’s the church’s fault. 

        Question is, what are you doing or have you ever done to help someone like Hezzie?

        By the way, that church just west of Bodden Town is actually doubling as a real hurricane shelter for the district. 

        But judging from your negative attitude and poor reasoning you will probably think that a proper shelter for BT (the fastest growing District) is not necessary.

        My advice is to BE a solution rather than wildly blame people/institutions.

        • Anonymous says:

          Great, so other religions, and non-believers are forced into churches – very considerate – or are you hoping to convert us all (good luck to you on that one)

    • Anonymous says:

      The Savannah and West Bay Seventh Day Adventist Churches offer classes free of cost to the public.  West Bay Seventh Day Adventist offers Reading Classes while the Savannah Seventh Day Adventist offers CXC classes which include Beginners Reading and Writing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Since he cant read these posts he wont know this.So maybe they need to contact him.

  7. Anonymous says:

    What a joke the man has been a taxi driver for 30 years and now isn’t valid to drive a taxi i guess we’ll give it to a someone less qualified and deserving or have politics involve. I think that the powers that be need a bit of help when it come to making these decisions. If Mr. Hydes who I have known for many years now goes and commits a crime the courts would be happy to throw him in to the HM Four Seasons and charge us hard working tax payers $60,000 a year.

    This is so sad really when they are so many Caymanians out of work at the moment. I agree that Mr. Hydes should be literate yet I’m sure if he was giving 3 months to improve his literacy ability then he should be able to keep his job.

  8. BLOGGAMOUS says:

    This is a shame, what level of literacy skills does a person need to drive?  If he understands the road rules, and it has been established over decades that given an oral test he can pass it, then I see no reason why he should not retain his licence.  I have to say that I am also very dissapointed (but not surprised) that the local bar associations have not jumped on this case. Lawyers the world over in other countries would have jumped to assist this man FOR FREE because the publicity they would get from this matter alone will drive many many clients their way!

    Mr. Hydes, please get a half decent lawyer and make an application to judicially review the decion of the respective agency.



  9. Anonymous says:

    I imagine there are many more of these unfortunate souls out there and if this one is not allowed we could have a longer line at the Social Services counter.    I hope Mr. Hydes seeks himself legal aid and set the record straight.

    This is totally disgusting….people need to use their common sense! 

    • Zzzzz says:

      What a waste of money?  What case does he have?  He can’t pass the test that is legally required to do his job.  End of story.

  10. karen says:

    Licensing Department:




    It was never like this before!  So many cars failing their inspections and people turn away for little things – all to pay more money!


    • Anonymous says:

      Perhaps this is the most people that fail their driving test, but on the other hand this is the most bad drivers that we have ever had coming to our shores. I think that Mr Burmon and Mr Jackson is doing an excellent job. If they have to have sympathy on all those who cant drive properly then we would have accidents equal to murders in Cayman. We have some Phillipinos on the roads in Cayman driving that has been causing so many accidents. They come here with drivers licences whether or not they can drive or not, but because of human Rights and Wrongs Licencing hands are tied and they have to issue them a License,something should definately be done about this.Keep up the good work Burmon and Mr Jackson at least you both cant be bought.

      • Fallen Angel says:

        You’re absolutely right!

        The Filipino on the road riding his bike got killed by a DUI driver.  I guess the Filipino caused the accident here because if he was not on the road he won’t get hit, right?

        There was another Filipina walking on the road across Hurley’s,  she got killed by another DUI driver.  I guess she also caused the accident, or did she?

        Was something done about either case? You’re again absolutely right – something should be definitely done about this.  There should be warning signs on the roads for Filipinos to be off the road because DUI drivers are on it.

        Those dead drivers last year were Filipinos, too -or were they?

        You may be able to read and write (although to me, your sentence construction leaves a lot to be desired) but I suggest you do your research first.  Check where those dead drivers were buried.  Definitely not in the Philippines.




      • Anonymous says:

        In my experience it is the Caymanians that are the worst drivers because generally nobody fails the test presumably due to the examiner being related to them or whatever.

        The need for speed, the use of mobile phones whilst driving and general disregard for others and the feeling of entitlement to own the road is what is causing these accidents.

        Some Filipinos are terrible drivers true, and so are a lot of Jamaicans. But if you check the statistics the cause of most accidents are Caymanians, usually drunk or stoned.

  11. verticalpig says:

    Seems some who can can read can’t feel.

    I see no rational reason in these exceptional circumstances why Mr. Hydes can’t be allowed todemonstrate his knowledge by oral exam and continue to operate as a tour guide.


    If he doesn’t pass the oral exam then let things take their course.


    People who have been allowed to take an oral exams in the past because of limited literacy should be allowed to take them in the future,  until they retire. New entrants have to follow the new rules.

    How hard is it to amend the bit of bum-fodder standing between an honest, working man and his livelihood?

    What has been done to Mr Hydes is retrospective legislation and,as another poster mentioned,  smacks of vindictiveness.


  12. Anonymous says:

    I agree Mr. Hydes should try to improve his literacy skills, but in the mean time what is he suppose to do? This is his country he is a Native Caymanian (grandparents and parents) with nowhere else to go. When he is denied the opportunity to make an honest living doing the job that he has been doing for over 30 years, again I ask what is he to do?    I am sure of the over 100 nationalities living and working here , there are many amoungst  them who are not literate but here they are making a living in Mr. Hyde’s country while their literacy is not a issue. 

    Caymanians had better wake up from their sleep and open their eyes to see exactly what is happening in this country before it’s too late, then again maybe it just too d@$ late.

  13. Pandora says:

    I am very very glad that the laws of Cayman are being properly applied at last.  For too long they have been seen as guidelines only.  This man cannot read.  He needs to read to do his job safely for the public of Cayman.  I for one strongly support this brave decision.

    • what a mess says:

       I am sorry but I have to completely disagree with you on this.

      Most people these days are living from paycheck to paycheck.

      This man has been driving a taxi for 30 years, I highly doubt that reading and writing will improve his skills anymore than they already are.

      In fact I strongly believe that a lot of the time it is EXPERIENCE that teaches you and not necessarily being able to read and write.

      I think this case could have been dealt with, with a little more discretion. 

      I also think it is safe to say that if this is the law make it real for EVERYONE in the taxi service, because I am certain that this man is one of many who cannot read and write. If we lose our taxi drivers what will happen to the service industry. Tourism? Hello?



  14. Anonymous says:

    So stop feeling sorry for the man, stop moaning about the system, and teach the man how to read and write. Simple. How did someone like this fall thru the cracks in the education system, fall thru society cracks, and only now it comes to light.

    Give the man a book and teach him how to read. Problem solved.


    • Anonymous says:

      It seems as if this writer learnt to read and write in one week .Dthey realize how long at his age it would take him at his age to read and write? Guess what , it is people like Mr Hydes cousin Julia Hydes, Our beloved Henry Bush and others that the tourist likes to see. At least Mr Hydes is not going to run down the Country nor over charge them as we so often hear about. Tourist like people like Mr Bush who are the real native and although cant write the information but is very knowledgeable about our beautiful past. What a crying shame this poor man knows no other way to make a living. Mack I THINK IT IS VERY WISE TO LOOK INTO THIS.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you knew anything about Caymanian history, you would know that many men of his generation left school early to go to sea because education was very limited and most men went to sea to make a living for their families.  Why should this man have his livelihood taken away after doing the job for so many years.  Do you think it would better for him to go to social services? 

  15. Richard Wadd says:

     There are MANY who are ‘Literate’, that frankly shouldn’t be driving….

     …. but the Law is the Law, and there are NO EXCEPTIONS.

     The problem here is not Mr. Hydes literacy (or perceived lack there-of), but rather that he was ALLOWED to circumvent the Traffic Law by the very people who are charged with upholding it, for over 30 years. 

     I’m sorry for Mr. Hydes position, as he is the victim of someone else’s dis-regard for the Law. 

     Rather than giving him ‘a bligh’ all these years, we should have provided him the incentive to achieve Literacy, and then he wouldn’t be in this predicament.

     By trying to ‘help’ him, we have actually done him a dis-service.

     SHAME ON YOU (us) !

    • Anonymous says:

       There’s the civil service in action. !!  Make the cuts, keep the one that did the job.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I would suggest that Mr. Hydes try and improve on his disability.  I have known grown-ups, who have made that large step  to learn to read and write and they are now millionaires.  He needs to make his own case by trying to improve, and if he is determined to, he can make a great difference in his life, and others. It is by searching, that one finds and it is by seeking that one achieves success,.

    I wish him success, in his step forward to being literate.

    • Anonymous says:

      Dont worry Mr Hydes, these people prefer to give food vouchers more than to give you a job. Hurry Ms Deanna  and start cutting a cheque for Mr Hydes.

  17. Joe Mamma says:

    After 30 years of professional driving his license to drive is revoked because of his inability to read and write.  At the same time manyon the road should not have a license to drive in the first place for very obvious reasons. The problem itself is very obvious : yet ANOTHER poorly run government agency that takes money and turns it into a waste of time and money.  And again it troubles the very people who work to pay for its services.  This is now the Cayman way.

  18. Anonymous says:

    You can say what you like about Jamaica, but go to a Government Department to pay a Bill and there is a senior citizens line so that the elderly people dont have to suffer standing in line for long periods.

    Go to a Government department in the Cayman Islands and you wait in line like everyone else.

    As far as disability is concerned there is no respect given to anyone here.

    Oh. The handicap ramps are required by Law, but that aside there is nothing else to assist senior citizens in their day to day life.

    Many senior citizens of the Cayman Islands are also illiterate and there is no assistance offered them anywhere.

    Talk about social services. My Foot.

    • LaLa LooLoo says:

      You are so very right.   This is one place that seniors are treated poorly.  What a shame.  CI Children and Family Services, what a joke.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe you dont know your Country Jamaica. Sometime s ago I had surgery at UC HOSPITAL. The day that I  was returning to Cayman I went to the office topay my bill. The lady in the office completely ignored me while she was having a personal conversation on the telephone. This went on for at least 15 minutes or more. My cab was waiting for me and after some time the Cab driver tol me that I was going to miss my flight.All I did was to push the door open and said to the woman " when you are finished your conversation you can please pay my bill."All senior Citizens that are CAYMANIANS get assistance from the government.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Amazing – a taxi driver loses his livlihood after many many years of working without problems; yet a traffic cop who can barely write a ticket in less than 30 mins can get a job.  Same applies to boat operators.  If he can read and understand the relevant road signs why does he have to have to be able to read and write to someone else’s standard in order to operate a taxi.

    This is what we are wasting our tax payers money on… pathetic.

  20. Anonymous says:

    I wish he could read to see that we agree with him… just look at his face, you don’t feel it for him?  God bless you brother, do what you gotta do to get your life back even if they aint willing to budge… rise above the occasion my friend.

  21. Anonymous says:

    This is truly sad….

    I have been in the exam room for my own license application when an applicant was pulled aside to await the officer that would lead his oral exam.

    The oral test has been accepted for many years and proof of that is that Mr. Hydes has been driving with a licence for 30years.

    This is quite disheartening when you consider how many business owners where granted a business license but also cannot read nor write -English or otherwise.

    I know business owners that can not even read their own names but somehow they have submitted a business plan to the Business Board and were successful in obtaining a license. 

    If the denial of Mr. Hydes’ license was due to the thought that he is placing his passengers in danger would that same line of thought not be considered for the business owner that can not read or write, or the construction worker that can not read or write and fails to acknowledge a danger sign, or the cook that cannot tell if he is putting salt or black pepper in your food because although he does read/write he does not read/write English.

    A can of worms isbeing opened and hopefully a solution is found quickly.


  22. Anonymous says:

    Why not allow him to continue as he has been doing for longer than most of us know Cayman as home, and longer than I’ve been alive… 🙂

    Possibility to have him enrolled in a course to learn…?  I do believe that in his many years of living, he has gotten on very well.  Shows you that it isn’t literacy but common sense that carries you through certain everyday task.  Not that literacy isn’t important… but it seems that common sense aint to common… 😛 

  23. Jahleb says:

    When veteran taxi driver Mr Henry Bush showed tourist the breadfruit while doing a tour they asked him what are those? he said they are breadfruit, (but I assume the tourist thought he said grapefruit) ! so they asked him how do you spell breadfruit? (he could not read or write either) so he told them we don’t spell Um, we eat Um.

    I personally know Richard Hydes known as (Hessi) and how he conducts himself and talk to tourist and I will keep my opinion to myself because the truth hurts, and there is always space for improvement.

    I am a Caymanian taxi/tour driver but for the pass five years I opted out because of degrading display and manners and greed of some taxi/tour drivers, I refuse to be among such, the transport industry service has become a hustlers industry, I have overheard tourist saying to each other after they had an island tour, they say; thank God that tour is over, did you understand all what the tour driver said?

    When I was out there I did my job very well and I have lot of proof that I did my country good in tourist coming back, I have many many letters and emails from tourist complimenting me, also on various websites tourist have made me proud of their good and positive comments about my service, no taxi driver out there can tell you they heard anything negative about Joseph Yates during my time out there, I still get emails from tourist asking me to tour them when they visit, some tourist even published letters in our local newspapers asking about me, am not bragging here am just being real what you sow is what you reap.

    Our transport system is overly saturated and the transport service is about how much money drivers can make in a day, not about how many tourist we can please in a day, my policy has always been and will always be "People and Service First Money After" but what I see happening out there, tourist are rounded up and hurdled on and off buses like cattle, drivers driving like crazy to make as many trips and dollars as they can, I could go on and on, but am sure the public see and hear a lot of what is happening out there especially when there are five or seven ships in habour.

    Joseph (Lebbie) Yates

  24. Anonymous says:

    That’s the man living… If that’s what he has been doing all these years to make ends meet, then let him be. He’s not out there selling drugs to tourist.

    There is lot person out there who can read and write and still don’t know half of what this man knows. You have some people who are book smart and some who are street smart, so if he falls in that category let him be.

    Please give the man back is license

  25. Anonymous says:

    The Government failed him 30 years ago and now the Government takes away his job. What next!!

    • Mamma Mia! says:

      Give him a job working on the Great Wall at the Premier’s residence.

  26. Anonymous says:

    Well here’s one simple option that everyone seems to have missed: He can learn to read and write.

    Most 4 year olds can manage it.  Then he can have his licence back. Simple.

    • Anonymous says:

      Mr Simple are you going to feed him and pay his bills while he is learninf to read and write?  Do you have any idea how long it would take to educate him at this age of his life?

      • Anonymous says:


        Is the test Mr. Hyde would have to take a standardized test? If so, Mr. Hyde would probably have an easier chance passing than most think if someone would review the "booklet" with him as Mr.Hyde is probably very good with memorization. As for writing, Mr. Hyde may only need to learn a few simple things to pass the test such as name, address, date.

        This type of teaching would not make him literate, but he would most likely be able to pass the test and continue on with his career.

        Then Mr. Hyde would have the stress off him and he could really take the time to learn to read and write.

    • Anonymous says:

      and in the meantime, you support him financially

    • Anonymous says:

      Then you can support him while he goes back to school for four years. This man do not have a learning disability like many other Caymanians he too was perhaps too poor to attend school, but they are the independent people today who earn their own little home and in this case a TAXI. sHAME ON THE BUNCH OF YOU.

  27. Anonymous says:


    I will get this out of the way right away, I’m an expat. I understand the frustration seen here on this board about taking away someone’s license after 30+ years, but there is a much larger picture here. A Cayman Driving license allows one to drive a vehicle in many other countries i.e. Canada, South Africa, UK & USA without taking those respective countries driving exams, due in part to the internationally signed agreements stating that they will enforce minimum standards. There is just no way I would ever want someone from another country driving a vehicle in Canada that didn’t have the ability to even read and understand a basic information guide on what Canadian road signs mean, or worse someone not being able to understand traffic instruction on electronic signs stating something like traffic direction on a 3 lane road, vehicle weight or size restriction during peak hours etc. and then causing accidents. At some point this Islands has to start enforcing the minimum rules, even if it hurts some people.


    • Anonymous says:

      I don’t know where you get your information that "A Cayman Driving license allows one to drive a vehicle in many other countries i.e. Canada, South Africa, UK & USA without taking those respective countries driving exams, due in part to the internationally signed agreements stating that they will enforce minimum standards. "  I don’t know about the rest but I can assure you that in the USA that is not the case.

      I am sure that there are people in Canada, South Africa, UK, USA and the world over that also cannot read or write but have drivers license. I hardly believe that this is unique to Cayman and Mr. Hydes.

      Driving in Canada is not more complicated than driving in New York City or Europe and I have been driven in both countries by people who were not able to read and write and believe me they drove well.

      You are so right these islands need to start enforcing the minimum rules in  all things like enforcing the traffic laws across the board no conversion of drivers licence no oral test should be be given to anyone, imposing heavy fines on people who park derelict vehicles on the side of the road (this is law contrary to some people’s belief that they can just park junk vehicles anywhere), impose the no littering fees for people who litter, Cayman has become one big garbage heap and I see many expats throwing garbage out of their cars and on the ground but when you call the police they do nothing as usual like they do about the derelict vehicles on the side of the road because it’s being done by expats and last but not least the roll over policy should revert back to the original plan of two years.

      • Anonymous says:

        With a Cayman license you can walk into any rent-a-car office in FL and rent a vehicle. It’s when you are asked to fill out the form that things may arise… but the drivers license is the only document that is needed in most cases.


        Get your facts before you run off your mouth!

      • Anonymous says:

        It’s off topic here but your comments on expats throwing their rubbish about and Caymanians picking theirs up is complete and utter rubbish. Just go to Kirks or Fosters and you see the expats using their recycled bags week in week out, they are used to picking up rubbish and recycling in their own countries and most are surprised and shocked but how little it is encouraged on this tiny island.

        At work the Caymanians are amazed that I reuse plastic cutlery and plastic dishes etc, when they throw theirs in the trash. I say to them that I am used to recycling as we only get one earth. Yet on a tiny island with amassive mountain of trash they have a complete disregard for recycling or re-using anything.

        So your comments on only expats throwing trash out of their windows is rubbish. Just sit on the beach at Smith’s cove and watch who is leaving their dirty nappies on the beach. It isn’t expats.

  28. Mouth Almighty says:

    I sympthaize with Mr. Hydes and hope that his situation will get sorted out.

    However, when it comes to the Public Transport Unit, maybe they should start with getting some assistance closer to home. I’m in awe to know that certain individuals are still working there and heaven help us on some days when you have to go there for business. With the exception of some staff members who are clearly polite and acts professional, you have to be very careful how you approach others and be prepared to get screamed at or handled like a beggar. Maybe Mr. Hydes can teach them a thing or two about how to deal with customers.

  29. Anonymous says:

    I agree with "other side of the coin" – a temporary license should be issued on the proviso that within a certain time frame he passes the literacy exam – Cayman Islands Reading Aides ("CIRA") has been active in the community for years and there are a few volunteers available to teachthis man – the government as a whole should be doing what they can to ensure people can remain employed – let’s try and be part of the solution instead of simply presenting problems.  This will ensure this man retains his livelihood and is at the end of it better off for having had the opportunity to learn to read and write.

  30. Anon says:

    I say let the man drive! Hezzie and I played on the Links together and he is a good man.

    The only other good paying job available to people who can’t read or write is MLA and the elections are years away.

    I would feel a lot safer in a taxi with a person that can drive but can’t read than I would with someone who can read but can’t drive.

    Hezzie is a perfect example of the many who slipped through the cracks of our education system. I hope Rolston can do something to address adult literacy as well

  31. anonymus says:

    What’s wrong with the bunch of you ?  Why are you bickering about his 30 years of experience, this and that.

    The answer is simple,

    ITS POLITRICS all over again. He upset someone in the MLA and they probably made a phone call to Licensing, they were waiting for him.Did he talk against Big Mac or anyone of them. I told you these Bas***ds are vindictive they will victimize you.  I’m not prejudging anyone but I feel in my spirit that it is victimization coming from some vicious vindictive MLA . Lets find out which one of them did this to him! and call ’em out !

    Its Politics at work again,  ‘VICTIMIZATION"

    Someone please get a hold of Mr. Hydes and question him ask him if he had a run-in with anyone lately or their MLA family member!

    • Anonymous says:

      If you cant read and write, you cant earn a living driving a Taxi.

      If you cant read and write "YOU CAN VOTE"

      Looks like a double standard to me, however Mr. Hydes, you use your vote to get your livelihood back.


  32. Dennie Warren Jr. says:

    Road signs are designed to communicate ideas via pictographic images and phonetic scripts for this very reason.  Instead of increasing the chances of Mr. Hydes becoming a liability of the State, he should be allowed to continue driving Taxi.

  33. Anonymous says:

     There seems to be a double standard in the Cayman Tourism market.


    Do any of the tour boat operators  captains/tour guides need to take a written test to operate on Cayman waters? I have not heard of anyone having to take a test.  Why then do the tour / taxi drivers operators on the road have to take a written test.


    This does not seem like  a level playing field.

    • Anonymous says:

      This man probably knows all the road signs visually, so I would not worry about his driving skills. People who are illiterate usually adapt quickly to their own world so they do not look "unskilled" to most (i.e. I am sure he knew the stop signs, lane signs, red light-green lights and what the streets are even if he can not actually read them if they were elsewhere).

      It is never too late to learn to read. If he doesn’t get help or has his license by summer, I will be down there on holiday and will be glad to help him read/write at a basic level. CNS can you keep us updated on this story?!



  34. NW Pointa says:

    Oh really now its okay to bend the rules on a much bigger scale like when it comes to MLA’s who break the rules in the constitution but not the poor man on the street trying to make an honest living.

  35. Other Side of the Coin says:

    How about a compromise? Could this man be given a temporary license followed by a literacy course so that he could learn to read and write? It is nevertoo late. Perhaps someone involved in that new program called "Rescue" could find someone to help him out. What an incredible success story this could turn out to be. An opportunity for this man to get his life back and at the same time encourage others. Where there is a will, there is a way. Good luck Mr. Hydes!!!

  36. Anonymous says:

    I am sorry, but the Licensing Department is too strict. Too much petty rules in place!  Last time I had to get my car inspected and they failed it because one of the windows could not wind-down. I had to get a new regulator before they could passed it, and it took me three months before being able to afford to get one and pay the mechanic to install it. They are just rediculous!  Before when they were off Elgin Avenue, I never had any problems about my window. The inspector check only for the essential life&death or emergency functions of me vehicle. Now, we have a Department that runs like a socialist regime!

    And I must say this: The Traffic Department needs reform as well. Too much beaurocracy over the road. All they do is harass people on the road who are financially burdened already. XXXXXX 

    The Government needs to do something right away, folks; or like they say, "something is going to break… and it’s not going to be pretty."  

    • Joe Average says:

      You haven’t run into the guy who says "you need a new drag link"?  Every vehicle on the friggin island….according to him….needs a new drag link.  I’m ordering a dozen.

      Aside from that……how many accidents did this taxi driver have in 30 years of driving?

      If the answer is less than 1.  These guys have got Rule Books so deeply buried up their behinds…. they would rather put someone out of work?  THANKS FELLAS

      Cover your right eye and read this:


      Then cover your left eye and read this:


    • Anonymous says:

      Wait a minute mow..he has been driving for how long?  and it is only after how many years it is noticed he can’t read or write??? You have got to be kidding.  So, instead of helping him now he can’t work to support his family.  Over 30 years driving and now they noticed he can’t read or drive?

  37. Anonymous says:

    I am very disappointed in the decision of the Transportation Board; why take away this man’s living after so many years, especially in these trying times.  Provisions are made to accommodation blind and deaf persons so that they can be gainfully employed, what is the difference in making provision for someone that is unable to read or write.

    I have a family member who is late 40’s that is unable to read or write, he knows the meaning of the all the road signs, drive very well; but is unable to obtain a drivers license because of his disability.  His inability came about after developing a high fever which resulted in him going into a coma and was hospitalised for 18 days.  This happened at the age of 8 years old, and immediately upon his discharge from hospital is was discovered that he had lost the ability to read or write.  It took him until he was 17 years to learn to write his name, he always have in his possession a lamenated document with all his necessary details.  These people are human beings and provision should be made to accommodate them in society.  I consider this inability a form of being handicap, so they should be treated in the same manner of other handicap persons – make the necessary provision.

  38. James D. says:

    Isn’t the real questions that arises from this article why we still have people living in our country that haven’t had the opportunity to learn how to read and write?

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, this certainly raises the issue of adult literacy, but not ahead of the need for this hardworking gentleman to be allowed to continue to earn a living. No question in my mind, he cannot be discriminated against because of his illiteracy. The minister responsible, please step in immediately and cease this foolishness. Now, the issue of adult literacy. In my experience it is often the case that individual circumstances lead to a person reaching adulthood unable to read or write adequately, or not at all. A simplistic approach is, of course, to blame the schools, and certainly it is the case that nobody ever seems to consider that many are taught to read and write to a level that but for the expertise and dedication of the teachers would be wholly unattainable. The truth is that some of our children are taught to read in spite of home circumstances and societal influences that do nothing to help ; or indeed confound the best efforts of the schools. Not all of these are by choice. A parent might be semi-illiterate themselves, or not find the time for economic reasons to nurture the child’s natural curiosity by answering the question "Why?" twenty times a day, or read to the child from an early age to nurture an interest in books, or listen to a child reading either from a reader or a story that they have composed. Family circumstances concerning illness might lead to frequent absences from attandance at school leading to a poor literacy level, in spite of remedial classes. Would that the teaching of reading was as simple as was claimed by a Caymanian Compass editorial a few years back! My goodness. What I am saying is please consider the complexity of the issue of literacy. (And make sure your child is a member of the library and that you have more books than DVDs in your house!)

  39. Anonymous says:

    Why can’t an exception be made to someone who has been doing the same job for 30 years.

    He probably knows more about the island and can tell more tales than most of the taxi and bus drivers on the road

    • Anonymous says:

      Not to mention those responsible for denying him an honest living!!!

  40. Anonymous again! says:

    This confirms to me why the bus drivers here are shocking – they cannot read road signs!  Often they are in the wrong lane, pull over, cut you up and basically treat the road like they are the only ones on it.  I ride a bicycle on this island and now I begin to understand why some of them are such bad drivers.  I sympathise with this man but it is time to learn to read.

  41. Anonymous says:

    My Heart goes out to Mr.Hydes after doing something for all most 30 yrs and is told he can no longer  do so. I’m sorry but as and expat that has live here for many years and has taken a few local buses and taxis have to say that the licensing Dept really needs to look in to a lot more of these taxi and local bus drivers because Mr. Hydes may not know how to Read or Write and dont get me wrong i’m not giving him rights for not trying to better him self on that but one thing this man do no and thats his ISLAND  a lot more than what I can say for some of these taxi/ bus drivers thats still allowed to do so. When you see a taxi driver has to ask a next driver where certain place are located no where in Gods Green earth does those clients want to continue with that cab driver  this has happen to be and my family a few time where we had to direct the cab driver to a certain places where if this cab driver had knowledge of this Island would have none where this certain hotel was located on west bay road.

  42. Anonymous says:

    This is one of the most unfair things I have ever heard.  If he was able to hold a licence for so long why do they feel the need to give him a hard time now.  He is doing his best to make an honest living .  Give the man a break.  He is not the only one who had a licence that was unable to read and write and in years past the licencing department would assist these people by giving them an oral test.  Why a change all of a sudden ?

    • Anonymous says:

      Two different Departments. Department of Vehicle and Drivers’ Licensing (DVDL) is one department and the Public Transport Unit (PTU) is a different department.  He can still drive vehicles but not vehicles being used for public transport which are issued by the Public Transport Board and requires a different type of licence.

  43. Anonymous says:

     On one hand, it does seem that this gentleman should be allowed to orally give his answers.  On the otherhand, if he can’t read and write, that could be an issue for driving (no reading of signs, traffic closed ahead, etc).  It is also probably indicates he can’t do math very well.

    I do hope a tour company can use him maybe as a guided tour guide (where he doesn’t have to do the driving).


    • Anonymous says:


      You are a XXXXX! And the one that same to have a math problem here. If this man has been driving successfully for 27 years, do you think that this attributed to mere chance? And, are you implying that he would not know how much he is being paid by passengers?

      Try to imagine (though it maybe difficult) how many Stop, Detours, Giveways, Oneways (hope by now you are “catching my drift”) signs, amongst other traffic systems that this man must have encountered over almost 3 decades. If this was left to mere chance, he would probably have had better chance of winning a Major Lottery.  

      I guess you are going to tell us next that “seeing eye dogs” are reading the signs for the blind  as you may know how to.


      What you should acknowledge is that The System is failing this individual by taking away his livelihood, and that a compromise should be made that he may not miss a day of work, (even if requires conditions that he must take steps to better himself in the area of literacy).




  44. Anonymous says:

    This is a crying shame! After having a license and being able to drive on the road for 30+ years… what’s the problem now?

  45. Anonymous says:

    Not because an individual cannot past the written test (as in this case) means that they cannot "recognized" and "comprehend" the road signage that is pertinent to avoiding accidents. Do you think this man has simply been lucky for 27 years?  Perhaps, the Licensing Dept. could implement a different type of testing to qualify drivers that don’t have an MBA. Try "Flash Card Testing", as I am certain this man can explain / demonstrate what action is necessary when he sees the word STOP.

    I Happen to know this man, as he is referred to by the alias "Hesy". I also, once played on the same football team with him over 20 years ago , and he would sometimes drive others, and myself to the football field (we really didn’t appear to be in any danger – and I don’t think we were).

    I have witnessed "seeing eye dogs" safely guide the blind on busier streets than GCM’s

    I implore the LD to make an exception for someone like "Hesy", as he is quite capable (obviously) of safely transporting himself, and others on the road.




  46. Anonymous says:

    How amusing – this could only happen with the "Cayman-aucracy" we presently have to live with.

    Cayman-aucracy is a regulatory regime where the regulators have dived so far up their bottoms they are not only unable to see their tonsils but they are only able to see their intestines.  That their head is engaging the orifice through which theri intestines were previously emptied means that the picture is obscured and far from pleasant.

    Back to the chase – the complaint is that Mr. Hydes does not read or write and therefore does not satisfy Reg. 4(2)(f) of the Public Passenger Vehicles Regulations (2009 Revision).

    Literacy is therefore the issue.

    A literate person would read the regulation in its entirety. It states:

    "[the applicant] is able to speak, read and write the English language SUFFICIENTLY TO PERFORM THE DUTIES OF CARRYING PASSENGERS FOR HIRE OR REWARD"

    Here is a man who has been a licensed taxi driver for almost 3 decades (during which he has not been able to read or write) yet has been able to perform the duties of carrying passengers for hire or reward.

    I have yet to have written communication with a taxi driver in any country.  You get in, tell the driver where you want to go and either sit in stony silence until the trip ends or have a conversation.

    Mr Hydes presents a whole new and compelling area of discussion – the passenger enquires (verbally) whether Mr, Hydes has seen today’s paper.  Mr. Hydes somewhat wittily replies that he has seen many papers today but he can’t read.  The passenger (stuck in the Friday midday traffic on West Bay road and not being the best conversationalist) suggests that he reads Mr. Hydes today’s paper to bring him up to speed.  The passenger starts with the report on the CICSA comments on the Miller report.  In short order the passenger spots that someone does not know the difference between "affect" and "effect" (read the report in the paper) and that in any event Mr. Hydes is actually delighted not to be able to read as it is one source of excrement he is able to avoid.

    How delightfully amusing it is that the objection taken (by someone who has not read Reg 4(2)(f) is that Mr. Hydes also cannot read.

    Where on earth have we got ourselves Cayman?  The USSR has been dismantled, it no longer exists yet we have propelled our civil service to a height of navel gazing that the most loyal politburo member never reached.

    • Anne Bonny says:

      how amusing indeed!  It took the literate person in the Licensing Dept. 30 years to read the law in its entirety so when it finally dawned on him that Mr. Hydes got away with it for 30 years — off with his head! –  I mean, license!

      • Anonymous says:

        Like the PTB, you have missed the points.   They are 2 fold. First the required level fo speaking, reading and writing English is that necessary to discharge his duties as a taxi driver.

        When did any taxi driver write something for you?  When was the last time you requested a taxi driver to read something for you?

        The second point – which did require some attention to detail, is that the regulations were brought in last year (2009 preceding 2010). 

      • Anonymous says:

        Hello!! It’s the public transport unit that’s involved here and not the vehicle licensing dept.

  47. Anonymous says:

    There are many types of transportation work, maybe in the port, or as a delivery guy, but he should not be dealing with the public when he cannot read the airport dispatch slips or log his fares properly.  Transport Dept is correct to remove him.  I would add that a simple vision test should be a basic requirement to renew a license as well.  There are several drivers out there that can’t see properly, and at least one that is colour blind and brakes for green lights.  Very alarming! 

  48. Anonymous says:

    let the man drive!

  49. Anonymous says:

    I may be a little dense, but it seems to me that if someone has been doing a job for 30 years and obviously making a living, he must be proficient at that work. And why allow him to take it orally for a number of years and then stop? Seems to me like precedent has already been set!

    Does this mean that everyone should be taking the reading/writing test, including newcomers with exisiting licenses? Who knows if there are other drivers who cannot read and write!

  50. Anonymous says:

    after 30 years, they really should give this caymanian man a chance to do the test orally.


  51. wesbaya says:

    O my gosh, this is sad. I know the Law is the law and that bending one sets a precedence, but, come on, Cayman. Keep the faith, Hezzie!

  52. whodatis says:



    Now that I have gathered myself together…

    Let me get this straight – this man has been driving a taxi in this country for longer than I have been on this earth – yet he is NOW deemed as unsuitable for the job?!

    Seriously, the modern / western approach to government and "Health and Safety" has proven itself as a complete an utter FAIL!

    Every last person reading this post right now is literate – however, I am willing to bet a months salary that not a single one of us could do that job as half as good as Mr. Richard Hydes! Furthermore, what about the newly imported drivers from far away lands that may be literate but know absolutely ZILCH about this country and to top it off have absolutely no idea about the history and little insider quirks of this country?

    30 years!? Come on Cayman – give the man back his job / life!

    • Anonymous says:

      everyone on this post maybe literate but not everyone on this post is sayne… completely agree with you. 

  53. Anonymous says:

    This is really unfair for this gentleman, especially if he has been a local taxi driver for almost 30 years and offered his services without a complaint.

    In today’s world it’s called, "modern day legal discrimination"

    I wonder how many taxi drivers are on the streets of Cayman who can read and write but don’t know the difference between Morritts Tourtuga and Tourtuga Factory.

    Better yet, how many of them are out there as licenced taxi’s operators and when they speak to tourists, their caribbean/latin accents are so terrible that tourists are wondering if "English" is the first spoken language of the Cayman Islands or not. 


  54. Anonymous says:

    No problem. Someone with the ability to fill out a work permit application form will no doubt be able to take his place.

    But seriously, we spend millions a year teaching foreign nationals in our schools and we cannot put aside 5K to help this guy learn to read. We will be told "it is not in the budget", but we can give him five times as much through social services for the rest of his life. 


  55. Anon247 says:

    This is a good example of where an MLA can make a difference for their constituent. Clearly this is a beurocratic stand-off where the Transport Dept don’t know how to be flexible, so need a bit of encourgagement from someone further up the line. It’s the same the world over.

    It’s a bit of a disgrace this man has been treated this way so far, but the Dept. can make it a happy ending easily enough – the situation just needs a bit of common sense.  

  56. Pandora says:

    Can we also introduce a requirement that taxi drivers don’t drive like maniacs upon and down West Bay Road? 

  57. Right ya so says:

    he probably knows the road laws far better than those teaching it!

    why clamp down now after 30 years???

    • Anonymous says:

      Because the Law is the Law (unless it is the Immigration Law, or the Pensions Law, or the Trade & Business Licensing Law, or the Health Insurance Law…) 

  58. Anonymous says:

    If he can’t read or write, he shouldn’t even have a driving licence…

    • Anonymous says:

      An individual here wrote: "If he can’t read or write, he shouldn’t even have a driving licence…."

      Shame on you!  This poor man may not have literacy skills but you as well appear to be suffering from ignorance!

      There are many reasons why this gentleman may not have had the opportunity to learn how to read.  Ranging from the fact that (a) he could be dislexic [a learning disorder that manifests itself as a difficulty with reading decoding, reading comprehension and/or reading fluency.]

      (b) Had an ailment as a child and lost the ability (as someone mentioned on this poster board)

      (c) Circumstances prevented him from learning.


      I know of someone close to me who also obtained a oral driving test because they were dislexic – and yes, graduated from High school (makes one wonder huh?).  Because of his perseverance as a grown man he learnt how to read, but still has a sense of insecurity at times.  Totally not his fault, but just the way his brain is wired.

      Don’t you think it would be more fitting if this man (Mr. Hydes) was given the opportunity to continue working, instead of depleting the already depleted funds of the Cayman Islands, by depending on Social Services to give him money or alternatively resorting to a life of crime, that has also become very prevalent on these shores?

      "For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, love and a sound mind."

      2 Tim 1:7

    • Anonymous says:

      some taxi drivers can read and write but they can’t speak English.  I am a Caymanian and I can’t understand their dialect and that’s the only language they can speak.

      At least Mr Hydes can speak English and knows so much about the Island; the tourist understand him but they can’t understand some of the Latin & other Caribbean dialects

      The man should have his job back!

  59. Anonymous Caymanian says:

    This is a shame! Let the man take the test orally!!