By DANA SMITH
Tribune Staff Reporter
DNA Leader Branville McCartney has called on the government to reveal the “next step” after issuing the initial notice to shanty town landowners to comply with regulations.
In a series of questions, the former Immigration Minister demanded to know “the terms of the notices”, what exactly the government plans to do with “illegals” living in the towns - and further, if Haitian repatriation requests have been filled.
“More than six weeks ago we were informed by the government that notices were issued and will continue to be issued against shanty town owners... The DNA is asking the government what is the status of the notices that were issued to the shanty town owners,” Mr McCartney said.
“We would like to know what the terms of the notices were. We are further requesting whether all shanty town owners have been served with the notices? What is the next step after the notices have been served? It is critical that the costs of cleaning up these shanty towns be levied against the landowners?”
Mr McCartney questioned if an Environmental Impact Assessment will be done to “determine the damage to the environment and costs attached to be paid by the landowners,” and asked the government to name the landowners - who, he said, have committed “such a travesty” against the country.
“The DNA is also asking the government what are they going to do with the illegals in those communities,” he continued.
“We have only heard about issuing notices to the shanty town owners but we have not heard anything about the illegals. We note that in excess of a dozen persons who lived in the shanty town that burnt down last week are asking to go back to Haiti. Has our government contacted the Haitian Government to advise of their citizen’s request? Surely this cannot be a burden placed on law-abiding Bahamian citizens.”
Additionally, Mr McCartney said, the DNA is calling on the government to “reintroduce Immigration Watch” in southern New Providence.
“Immigration Watch involved the Department of Immigration, the Defence Force and members of that community to work together in a similar fashion as Crime Watch.”
Yesterday, John Bostwick Jr, attorney for the land owners, told The Tribune landowners have not received any correspondence from the government or any notice regarding potential prosecutions since the first notice that was issued last month.
Mr Bostwick explained it has been more than 30 days since that original notice was sent to landowners by the Department of Environmental Health Services, regarding various infractions in the shanty towns, and nothing has been received since.
However, landowners have issued eviction notices to the residents of shanty towns in wake of the original notice, he said, and the government is “pointedly aware” landowners are attempting to comply with regulations.
Housing and Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett said Tuesday officials have been ordered to prosecute land owners who have yet to ensure shanty town residents have complied with regulations.