Categorized | National News

‘No Abaco Shantytown Reconstruction’

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister assured that there will be “no reconstruction and no new construction” of homes in shantytowns throughout Abaco, as this will be confirmed during his trip to the island today. 

Bannister’s comments came yesterday during his contribution to debate on the Disaster Preparedness and Response Amendment Bill 2019 in the House of Assembly.

He also announced that four contractors have been engaged to clear The Mudd, Pigeon Peas, Sandbanks and The Farm shantytowns.

“They will simultaneously fence the properties in. They are working according to precise plans that permit the delayering of debris in a manner that permits them to sensitively scan the sites and uncover any human remains that may still be there so that any body that may be found will be treated with dignity and respect,” Bannister said. 

“There is currently a no build order that prevents any construction on any of those sites, sir. Signs have been posted and the no build order will be strictly enforced by the contractors working closely with law enforcement authorities.”

Since the passage of Hurricane Dorian, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government plans to acquire shantytown properties in Abaco through compulsory acquisition.

However, Rights Bahamas threatened to take legal action to defend the shantytown residents.

During his contribution, Bannister also noted that the Ministry of Public Works is currently in the process of engaging local contractors to clear debris left by Hurricane Dorian in Abaco and Grand Bahama, which have been divided into zones.

“Mr. Speaker, I want to caution everyone that only contractors who are duly contracted by the director of public works will be paid. This FNM government will not engage in the type of helter skelter operation that members opposite carried on to the detriment of the Bahamian people during their tenure in office,” Bannister said.

“Can you imagine, sir, that we are still receiving claims for millions of dollars from pseudo contractors that PLP MPs put to work without any official authorization and no proof that they even did any work.

“Mr. Speaker, the Bahamian people have already judged members opposite for their disorganized, unfocused, incompetent, deficient, uncoordinated, inadequate, flawed and unreliable response to smaller hurricanes. No credible criticism can come from that discredited side with respect to the manner in which this Minnis led FNM government has responded to the needs of our people after experiencing the most devastating Atlantic hurricane in history.

“Mr. Speaker, when this phase is completed the Ministry of Public Works will commence reconstruction activities in conjunction with the energetic new Minister of State for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, my friend the Hon. Iram Dewitt Lewis.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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