Categorized | National News

Gov’t Action Called “Shameful”

Rights Bahamas is the Free National Movement’s decision to hire outside attorneys to argue its case in court on its policy to evict shanty town residents and to demolish their homes  shameful.

In a press statement  late yesterday the organization called the government’s decision to hire a private lawyer “a slap in the face”.

“It is a crying shame that the Free National Movement government would seek to waste hundreds of thousands of public dollars, just to save face over its reckless and ill-conceived plan to exterminate certain irregular communities in The Bahamas.

“The move to hire outside lawyers is a slap in the face to the dozens of hard-working lawyers at the Attorney General’s office, whose salaries are also paid by the public,” the statement read.

The organization, who advocates on behalf of migrants also allege that tax-payers will be double-paying the government’s legal bills, adding that through this move the government is admitting lacks confidence.

“If the judicial review challenged before Justice Cheryl Grant-Bethel is so lacking in merit as the government has suggested, then why resort to such drastic measures in fighting it?” the statement said.

The organization argues that rather than the government retracting its policy on the shanty town evictions and “agree to act in accordance with the rule of law”, it is instead responded with “song and dance”.

“Hiring expensive private lawyers for the duration of what is likely to be a lengthy legal contest, all in an effort to convince Bahamians who are angry at their handling of this, that the government is taking the matter seriously,” the statement said.


The organization lambasts the government for other recent decisions adding that based on the cries of the government regarding the economy, how is it affording a private lawyer?

An administration that claims to be the guardian of fiscal responsibility, a government so broke that it can no longer provide school uniforms to less fortunate children, has suddenly found the money to fund a team of top attorneys, meanwhile continuing to pay the entire Office of the Attorney General, essentially to sit on their hands and watch?

What a mess. Perhaps it would have been better not to stoke the fires of xenophobia and ethnic discrimination in the first place,” the statement said.

Rights Bahamas said that regardless of who argues either side of the case, thanks to Respect Our Homes Limited, who filed  for a leave for judicial review on behalf shanty town residents, the legality of the government’s actions and stated intentions will now be put on trial and pronounced upon once and for all by a court of law.

The statement says Rights Bahamas welcomes the trial and remain confident that, as per usual, the judiciary will recognize and act to defend the fundamental rights of every individual who resides in shanty towns.

Last month, Attorney General Carl Bethel said he doubts that any legal challenge to the government’s arbitrary eviction and demolition policy could be successful.

Following the injunction, earlier this week, Chairman of the Shanty Town Task Force, Senator Dion Foulkes said he was given instructions to continue pushing ahead with plans to go into the family islands.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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