Social Services Minister, Melanie Griffin, yesterday refuted claims that her ministry neglected to assist dozens of displaced residents after a major property demolition which took place in the Prince Charles Drive area on Thursday.
The demolition exercise, which occurred on Pine Barren Road, destroyed buildings which housed a local outreach organization, Ambassador Corral International Association (ACIA).
In the process, many children who witnessed the destruction were left horrified by the experience.
The demolition was carried out by Attorney William Fountain, who claimed that his family is the rightful owner of the property in question.
ACIA was reportedly given a letter by Fountain’s law firm instructing the organization to vacate the property by August 2014.
Subsequent to Thursday’s demolition, claims circulated suggesting that the Ministry of Social Services neglected to intervene and assist the residents affected, in particular the children.
“Social Services has been involved in the matter from day one. As soon as we got wind of the situation, we sent a team in immediately. Of course by the time they got there they were unable to speak to the administrator there, Mr. Michael Bullard. The children were not there, but he has been able to provide us information as to the whereabouts of the children,” said the minister.
“Later on we sent another team in and they were able to see some of the children, but at the time the children were then collected by someone and taken from the site. So no children as far as we were aware would have stayed on the site after all of the buildings on it were demolished,” she added.
The Grand Bahama Human Rights Association (GBHRA) recently expressed concern over last week’s demolition, and urged the relevant authorities to intervene in the situation, especially considering the devastated children involved in the ordeal.
The Social Services minister said her ministry is doing everything within its power to assist the affected residents.