Categorized | National News

Gov’t Delivering Court Summonses Over Shanty Towns

The government is on its way to delivering court summonses to the owners of the Joe Farrington Road property where a longstanding shanty town sits.

According to Environment and Housing Minister Kenred Dorsett, the inter-ministerial effort to clamp down on shanty towns in the country is making headway.

He told reporters Tuesday that the Ministry of Works just recently completed their assessments into the Joe Farrington Road shanty towns and has begun the process of completing their notices to serve on the owners and occupants.

Additionally he said the Office of the Attorney General and the lawyers for the Ministry of Housing are in the process of drawing up documents to summons these owners to court.

“We will see future notices being served on other owners who were identified in the report,” he said. “The inter-ministerial committee continues to work and it only highlights the government’s resolved to make sure the matter is addressed.”

Back in July a massive fire ripped through the shanty town leaving more than 121 people displaced.

That most recent fire was just one of four major shanty town fires between March 2011 and July this year.

While the issue of shanty towns and the environmental and health problems they pose is a longstanding, vexing issue the housing minister said his ministry’s hands are tied, to some extent in actually getting landlords to comply.

“The reality is under my legislation we do not have the ability beyond prosecution to do anything to anyone’s structure,” Mr. Dorsett explained.

“That was the reason why we have been working hand in hand with the Ministry of Works that has the authority in that regard.

“I had a discussion with them and that they have completed their assessment and we will see some action in short order.”

Mr. Dorsett said even though the Joe Farrington Road land owners have since hired lawyers after the government made its intention known to prosecute, the minister said he has been in constant talks with them and they have been cooperative.

“They have been cooperative to the extent that they took it upon themselves to serve notices of eviction to those who occupy structures on their land,” he added.

“But there are still structures that do not meet the minimum requirements of the law and I think that is very clear to anyone who visits the facility.”

Mr. Dorsett said the time for compliance on the first set of notices has expired and prosecuting these landowners is the only next step.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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