Abaco MP warns of ‘boiling point’ over shanty towns

Central and South Abaco MP John Pinder. (File photo)

Central and South Abaco MP John Pinder. (File photo)


Tribune Staff Reporter


CENTRAL and South Abaco MP John Pinder said government must act now to deal with unregulated shanty towns in Abaco as the issue is about to reach a “boiling point”.

“This issue on immigration has been growing substantially for many years and there has been limited to no action on it in the past,” Mr Pinder told reporters outside the House of Assembly yesterday.

“But there is now a multi-agency task force that has been put together, the Ministry of Public Works has done their quantitative studies to know how many buildings and where they are so we could bring up a proper approach.

“The details of the matter, I won’t be able to say, but I am highly optimistic that this administration will actually do something about the ever-growing problem we have.”

Mr Pinder said the illegal developments are particularly worrying for several reasons.

“It’s concerning to me because there isn’t any sanitary infrastructure at hand and there isn’t the proper permitting and things are being done that Bahamians, and my fellow Abaconians can’t do,” he added.

“We have to abide by the law. There is a certain procedure in place that makes a safe place for everyone to live and right now, those areas that we’re describing aren’t doing that and that’s a problem.

“I know that multiple agencies are dealing with this right now and like I said, I am highly optimistic that this Davis-Cooper administration will make sure that we have some mediation and a good outcome for Bahamians.”

Before Hurricane Dorian decimated them in 2019, shanty towns across Abaco had more than 1,000 homes and an estimated population of 3,500, according to government reports.

However, after the storm hit the island, the government issued an immediate ban on the construction of any new buildings in the four major shanty towns on Abaco and later began demolition exercises of newly built structures there.

Those exercises were stopped after Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant- Thompson ordered the government to cease and desist further interference with those communities until the judicial review of the matter, which is still pending, was completed.

She also ordered that officials must get approval from the court before demolishing any further structures.

While it is not clear how many shanty towns are now present on the island, the numbers are said to be growing on a regular basis.

Local officials said they have already started surveying the communities to find out who’s living in the illegal structures, among other things.

“The whole issue is about to come to a boiling point,” Mr Pinder added. “It’s either we act now or we’re gonna lose our father’s place, you know. Our ancestors settled there.

“They spent a lot of time to grow... the communities we have, and we want to make sure that they are for future generations to come. Again, I am optimistic that this Davis-Cooper administration will do what’s needed to fix this problem.”


Sickened 2 months, 1 week ago

I'm actually astonished that this is coming out of his mouth. Good for him from addressing this issue. Hopefully some positive changes and action comes from this.


Flyingfish 2 months, 1 week ago

Nah he is just the PLP's talking head. Unfortunately he'll learn that this administration does what's in it's personal interest first and does the harder but necessary task last.


JackArawak 2 months, 1 week ago

he is correct, but "the Davis Administration" will likely do nothing more than a few dawn raids that net 3 or 4 people. Over the years you hear someone say "I've never seen so many Haitians" and they're right, but this time there are way more than ever. Big big problem in Abaco


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