Categorized | National News

Shanty Towns to be demolished

Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell has announced that the Immigration Ministry will be collaborating with the Ministry of Environment to see to the removal of numerous shanty towns following recent riots and attacks on local law enforcement officers.

Last week, Minister Mitchell said that he was gravely concerned about national security after those residing in shanty towns, predominantly Haitian nationals, have set out several attacks on police officers, immigration officers and even citizens.

According to the minister, the demolition of those homes that belong to illegal immigrants may be the answer as he says; it is time for some serious intervention.

“I have spoken to the minister responsible for environment about trying to galvanize resources to have in an operation that includes the Royal Bahama Police Force (RBPF), the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF) and officers from the Department of Immigration and the removal of these unlawful settlements,” said Minister Mitchell.

“This is an immigration exercise that focuses on dealing with people that are living here unlawfully. One of the things anecdotally we’ve heard, and are to some extent driven by intelligence is that when you have unlawful settlements it is a sink for people who come i unlawfully they can go into what they consider a ‘no-go’ area because they feel that authorities cannot go into those areas. They stay there and they hide out until it’s time for them to do whatever they wish to do.”

Minister Mitchell said the goal of the operation is to destroy the ‘no-go’ areas and the very thought of it.

The immigration minister said that his ministry is working diligently and constantly pushing for an integrated and seamless Bahamas however, incidents like these are causing the country to become more segregated.

“Over the last twelve months, the Department of Immigration has been in the Gamble Heights Area several times,” he said.

“At one point, we literally had to withdraw because people in the neighbourhood started throwing rocks at the immigration bus and it became a security issue so we withdrew. This is similar to a story that we heard at some point up in Abaco when public officials went to one of the areas and they were forced to retreat because people resisted. My point is, there can be no area which is a ‘no-go’ area in the Bahamas and any unlawful settlement and unlawful settlement issues have to be addressed. There must not be allowed to happen, a situation where the country is segregated on the basis of national origin.”

An incident similar to the ones mentioned by the minister occurred last week when a riot broke out in a shanty town in Gamble Heights after police shot thirty-year-old Nixon Vixemar, a man wanted by police for various assault charges.

Vixemar was shot to the thigh after he ‘violently resisted arrest’ according to Assistant Commissioner of Police Stephen Dean.

Vixemar was pronounced dead on the scene and shortly after outraged members of his community on Sunrise Boulevard attacked officers and damaged police property.

Minister Mitchell assured that he will do all that is in his power to see that everyone conforms to the rules and regulations of the country disregarding their nationality.

In addition to shanty towns in the Gamble Heights area, the minister said that he would later announce other areas that will also be a focus in the operation.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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