Categorized | National News

Inter-Ministry Committee To Address Shantytowns

The Free National Movement government has formed  an inter-ministry committee to address  make-shift communities, called Shantytowns.  This is taking place as the December 31st immigration ultimatum has passed for illegal migrants to leave the country voluntarily or face arrest  and deportation.

Attorney General Carl Bethel says that the mandate of the government is for  the problem of the shantytowns “needs to be addressed vigorously.”

“The cabinet of The Bahamas has determined that there needs to be an inter-ministry committee which has been formed and it is commencing its work to forth the mandate of the government,” said  Bethel.

Senator Bethel makes it very clear that the intent of the committee is simply to  enforce  the law.

These communities are often on properties owned by citizens of The Bahamas, who ask the migrants to pay a small fee for their shelter. It is a practice that the government has decided to regulate.

However, Bethel reveals the government could eliminate or remove shantytowns in a humane way as possible,  as it is “their job is to ensure that lawful procedures are followed” and “all laws of the Bahamas are enforced.”

“All lawful rights of the state to ensure proper building are followed and powers are not unlawfully connected to sources of electricity that maybe done unlawfully or improperly;  that people are not in danger of being electrocuted or burned with an electric fire. All of these things are powers that exist under present law,” the attorney general empathized.

In a  Department of Environmental Health Services report back in 2013, it indicated that there were at least 15 Haitian shanty villages on New Providence at the time.

Researchers found a “marked indifference to the extremely unhealthy conditions by those that occupy the shanties”.

For years migrants made their homestead in makeshift communities out of cardboard, plywood, metal palates, or any substance they can find.

Tall Pines MP and Deputy Speaker of the House of Assembly Don Saunders told the press back in October last year  that the government was preparing warning letters to be delivered to landowners who have shantytowns on their properties. It is not clear if the letters were sent out.

The Christie administration had begun to demolish shantytowns,  but it was short lived.

The attorney general says  that his office will contribute to the committee through their legal expertise.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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