Hundreds of families displaced in last week’s massive fire at a Joe Farrington Road shantytown are receiving some assistance, as the government’s crackdown on landowners who facilitate the substandard living conditions is underway.
Elizabeth MP Ryan Pinder revealed as much on Tuesday before heading into the weekly Cabinet meeting.
At the time, he told reporters that so far, most of the aid provided to last week’s fire victims has come from within the Elizabeth community.
The shanty town at Joe Farrington Road is one of the largest of its kind in New Providence.
“We are doing what we can to raise the necessary items through donations for those who are displaced; after all they are human beings and you have to be compassionate for people who have lost everything,” Mr. Pinder said.
“If you recall a few years ago in Elizabeth, we had a fire where children lost their lives. Now those children were likewise of Haitian descent, but that didn’t stop anybody from being sympathetic or trying to help out in every regard that they could, so I think it’s good human spirit to be compassionate to those who have lost everything regardless of where they live or where they are from.”
The minister also confirmed that notices have been sent out to the various landowners, advising them to get their properties and the structures occupying those properties in line with the country’s building codes.
Furthermore, tenants who are unable to ensure that their homes are in line with the code will also have to vacate the premises.
“The Department of Health had given a notice to the landlords on all shanty towns that any construction or structures on that property had to be compliant with the law,” he said. “If there were to be any rebuilding, it would have to be compliant with the law, which means proper permitting and everything else.
“I think that is consistent with the notice that was provided prior to the various landlords. I would think that by law that would be right – that assuming that the structures were going to be what they were that that would not be allowed by law to commence reconstruction in that fashion.”
Mr. Pinder said the deadline for most of these land owners has expired though he would not say what action would be taken next for those who fail to comply.
Meanwhile, he said, the Ministry of Social Services is finding accommodations for those families left displaced from that fire.