Categorized | Featured, National News

Shantytown Crisis

Shanty Town demolition begins.

Many displaced Haitians are in crisis and some are still searching for shelter following the
demolition of their shantytown in the Kool Acres community on Monday.
Although shantytown residents were given a 28-day notice, many believe that it wasn’t enough
time and this dilemma can potentially lead to a humanitarian crisis.
Human rights and immigration activist Louby Georges told The Bahama Journal that there are a
lot of stakeholders to blame concerning this issue that involves the displacement of Haitians and
Bahamians who reside in shantytowns.
“We understand that it has been an issue that has been plaguing The Bahamas for decades. It is
never a matter of if it would happen, it was always when and how,” Georges said.
“I would say that there is a lot of blame to go around on all fronts, all sides. There is some to be
toted by the persons themselves living in those communities. There is some on the side of the
Haitian leaders, some on the side of the Haitian Embassy, some on certain levels of the
He said after the demolition, the Haitian community was left with more questions than answers
concerning assistance in this matter.
“Questions like, where is the Haitian Embassy in all of this? Questions like, where are the other
civic organizations, where is the Haitian League of Pastors in all of this in assisting Haitian
migrants?” Georges asked.
Back in 2018, efforts were also made by the Free National Movement government to demolish
shantytowns, but those efforts were met with push back after the Supreme Court granted an
injunction to block the eviction of shantytown residents.
“The FNM were just trying to abruptly jump up and get it done and you can’t do that when you
are dealing with people and the fact that you may have people who are permanent residents of
The Bahamas, persons who are Bahamian citizens, who are living in those areas also. So, you
must make proper preparations,” Georges said.
“Those social safety measures need to be in place to absorb the impact that is going to happen as
it pertains to displacement of countless persons. When I say countless, it is because I’m not
necessarily sure anyone can say how many people are we talking about living in shantytowns or
informal settlements across the country.
“There is a lot of blame to go around and we can all look at each other, but at the end of the day
it’s all about coming together and finding the most suitable solutions in dealing with this
particular situation.”
Georges noted that plans to demolish shantytowns require raising awareness within the Haitian
communities before proceeding.

“It’s a matter of following what’s going on, on the ground. Some of the things that the
government is saying, what they are planning to do, how they are planning to do it, when they
are planning to do it. Taking those information and translating those and putting it in the
Haitians’ native language, Haitian-Creole, so they would understand and hopefully, they would
be better prepared for what is to come and what has already begun,” Georges said.
Recently, Minister of Works and Family Island Development Clay Sweeting said shantytowns
are a danger to the country and the government’s mandate is the safety and welfare of its citizens
and lawful residents. Minister Sweeting said the Department of Social Services will be assisting
Bahamians with housing, but those who employ permit workers are mandated to provide
Before Monday’s demolition, a fire ripped through the Kool Acres shantytown on Saturday and
destroyed approximately 80 percent of the structures.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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