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Court Action Halts Shanty Town Builds

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE Supreme Court order blocking the government from clearing out shanty towns in the country now prevents those residents from altering or expanding those communities.

The government was granted a variation of the August 2018 injunction blocking evictions and service disconnections in an order filed on March 14 and obtained by The Tribune.

“Further,” the order read, “pending the determination of this action or until such further order, the 177 applicants and other residents and occupiers of the land in shanty towns in New Providence or elsewhere in The Bahamas shall take no action to construct, erect and or alter any further buildings or structures otherwise than in accordance with the Buildings Regulation Act.”

The government sought a variation of the order in October 2018, claiming it was made aware that certain residents or occupiers of shanty towns in New Providence had “continued to engage in the construction, erection and alteration of buildings or structures” within those areas without obtaining building permits, in violation of the Buildings Regulations Act.

It said such activities “injure the public interest in the proper enforcement of planning laws, creates risk to human safety by the construction of sub-standard housing, and is detrimental to the orderly development and use of the environment.”

Last August, Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson ordered the government and utility providers to halt any planned service disconnections or evictions in shanty towns pending a judicial review of the Minnis administration’s policy to eradicate those communities.

The injunction prohibits the government, directly or through its agents, appointees or employees, from taking possession of, demolishing any building on, or otherwise interfering with the enjoyment of land in shantytowns in New Providence by the 177 applicants for the judicial review, as well as other residents’ and occupiers’ of those communities, by disconnecting any utilities “other than pursuant to the relevant enabling legislation” pending the determination of the action or until further order.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis, Attorney General Carl Bethel, Labour Minister Dion Foulkes, Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister, Bahamas Power and Light, and the Water and Sewerage Corporation are listed as the respondents.

Non-profit group Respect Our Homes Limited (ROHL) and Luanne Nonord and the 177 residents are listed as the applicants.

Shanty town residents are seeking to ventilate concerns the government’s “eradication policy” and subsequent evictions are unlawful, unconstitutional, and motivated by ethnic discrimination without clear title to land ownership.

Last week, Marsh Harbour Township Chairman Roscoe Thompson, a member of the Abaco shanty town task force, said he reported as many as three houses being put up in the Mud.

“There were three or four new houses being put up,” Mr Thompson said on Thursday, “and I’m going to go down there tomorrow to see if they stopped them, but it doesn’t look like nobody cares now. We haven’t heard a word, we haven’t had a meeting. I don’t know how long its been.

“But it’s pretty much the same,” Mr Thompson added, “a lot of talk, no action.”

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 10 months ago

This is just more Bahamian government lip service to a most vexing problem that has very serious economic and national security implications for our country.

All diplomatic representatives of the government of Haiti should be made persona non grata in the Bahamas until such time that Haiti undertakes concrete initiatives to repatriate (at its own expense) the many thousands of non-Bahamian individuals of Haitian ancestry who have illegally entered our country. The government of Haiti and its diplomatic representatives residing in our country have for decades refused to expeditiously repatriate their own nationals as and when they are made subject to a deportation order issued by our government. Haiti has in effect very deliberating stymied our efforts to deal with this problem because they now consider our country to be a vital source of the hard currency they so desperately need. Millions and millions of U.S. dollars are taken out of our economy each year by illegal Haitian aliens sending to their families in Haiti whatever they are able to earn while illegally residing in our country. Meanwhile these same illegal aliens pose a major drain on our limited social welfare resources, our public education system and our public healthcare system. It seems Minnis would rather buy hotels than deal with this problem which has already crippled our country.

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joeblow 1 year, 10 months ago

... actually they want the votes that community gives at the expense of the national interest! Its the third would mindset-- get elected to destroy your nation for personal gain!

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DDK 1 year, 10 months ago

You are both so right. The situation is grim and the politicians of the musical chairs governments are greedily and stupidly complicit.

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Chucky 1 year, 10 months ago

Maybe let's go back a little further and repatriate all non Indians back to Africa.

Our ancestors were bought as slaves and they had kids and eventually claimed the Bahamas

These Haitians are here working like slaves (without chains ). And they have kids and are conquering "our" land.

What's the difference. A few hundred years right?

Slavemasters don't like there slaves to live one their own street. Right.

It's Bahamians creating the demand for the Haitians.

Every heard the expression "my Haitian", or "I got a Haitian guy ..." It's Bahamian to speak of Haitians as possessions

Tell me I lie

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 10 months ago

If you're in the Bahamas legally, that's fine. If you're not, please turn yourself in so that arrangements can be made for you to go back to your country, presumably Haiti. It's wrong for Haitians who have messed up their country to think they somehow have the right to move to another country and mess that one up too, in part due to its scarcity of land and limited financial resources, i.e. the Bahamas. There's a reason why the Dominican Republic has a "shoot-on-sight" policy for Haitians who try to illegally cross its long border with Haiti. As a Bahamian, I'm fully entitled to voice my legitimate concerns about what the massive influx of illegal Haitians has done to the Bahamas. I suspect you have a very good and telling reason for not being similarly concerned.

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bogart 1 year, 10 months ago

KNOWN FACT DAT MANY... SHANTY...STRUCTURES ......WERE PUT TOGETHER......WIDDOUT SAFETY......TO DA OCCUPANTS.....SAFETY TO DA ALMOST TOUCHING NEIGHBOUR STRUCTURE....DANDEROUS TO AJOINING....STRUCTURES...........legal approved.LEGALLY AUTHORIZED.cross da road....POLLUTED WATER SUPPLY.....WINDS PICKING UP STRUCTURE AN DROPPIN IT ON HOUSES........etcetc....da ele trical wiring could eltrocute people...catch fire to structures....neighbouring embers affecting subdivisions...WATER supply needs to be certifized.....CRITICAL WEDDA DA LEGAL PRONOUNCENTS......CERTIFIED SPECIALISTS NEEDS TO DO DA WORKS....TO SAVE LIVES....CANNOT CONDEMN PEOPLE NOTS TO HAVE GOVT EXPERTS COME IN AN ALTER.....OR CONDEMN....STRUCTIRES.....DA EDUCATED EXPERTS NEEDS DA GREATER IMPORTANT........NOT ONLY PLYWOOD...FURNITURE.......BUT HUMAN LIVES....!!!!!!!!.........pore people wedda GOVT Prison deplorable.....shantytowns....ghetto....schools wid mold...govt.offices pore structural failing conditions.......IMPORTANCE IS DA PEOPLE.......(for the burgeoning lack of care properties..structions....CHARGE an JAil da BUILDING OFFICIALS....ALL DA WAY UP TO THE TOP LEVELS FOR DESE BLATENT INCOMPETANCE...while dey getting paid salaries)

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 10 months ago

The Dram King who boast of his undisclosed donation to doc political party and the Haitian woman in the shanty town who said they put doc in power. does any one really expect him to touch shanty towns. No more than he will touch Sands or Dames. He knows better, he is afraid.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 10 months ago

Dont make me laugh. They will keep building and expanding as normal. They see us as weak sissies.

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bogart 1 year, 10 months ago

Bey...bey......dont link da rest of NATION.....TO DOSE RESPONSIBLE......COURTS...BUILDING OFFICIALS....RICH PEOPLE WID DERE HOUSEKEEPERS...GARDINERS....LAWNING....HOUSE HANDS....RICH PEOPLE WHOSE EMPLOYEES ...LIVING IN THESE SHANTYTOWNS......da rest of Bahamians never step foot in shantytowns......only the Bahamian employers know where they drop off an pick up dere housekeeper,,,gardiners from da shantytown roadsides.....

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 10 months ago

Yes - but there is no movement, or facebook page/group to expose employers who employ the wrong people, and boycott their businesses. Bahamians need to unite against them, and cut off the money supply. The money supply is the only thing that will work. Instead, Bahamians actually shop in the illegal stores/shops located within shanty towns. A famous Bahamian politician once said "There is no solution to the Haitian problem because ... Bahamians want to get rid of ALL of the Haitians - except their own Haitian, and everybody has one." It's like road litter. One person throwing one KFC box out of their car window does not make the entire island look bad. It is 10,000 persons each only throwing ONE piece of rubbish out of their car window that makes the island look bad - and we are programmed to believe that because of that "Me not doing it, won't make any difference." People need to STOP doing it, and therefore truly making a difference. Stop the money flow. If you see them in a store, then shop somewhere else.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 10 months ago

In addition, I hope nobody goes ahead and makes such a facebook group or page. The laws of libel and defamation are very very strong in this country, and you would only find yourself before the Courts. Don't do it. People can use their own eyes. It's the philosophy of ONE person making a difference that counts. BE that one person, or else we can all be the suffering many persons.

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