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Unjust And Unfair: Pm Insists Shanty Towns Must Go – To Improve Lives

A shanty town off Carmichael Road. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff

A shanty town off Carmichael Road. Photo: Terrel W Carey/Tribune staff

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

NOTWITHSTANDING a court injunction blocking evictions, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday said it would be “unjust and unfair” to allow shanty towns to remain and recommitted his government to the task of clearing those communities.

Dr Minnis flagged a national commitment to social justice, adding there is also a moral imperative for the removal of shanty towns as the government is simultaneously engaged in immigration reform.

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Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

He underscored the need for national unity at a church service to celebrate the Free National Movement’s first election victory in 1992.

“Because we are one Bahamas,” he said, “and because we are committed to social justice, we are removing shanty towns, a long-standing problem successive governments failed to address in a comprehensive manner.

“Last year, my administration set up a large task force carefully planned for the removal of shanty towns so that we can better assimilate the residents of these areas, and help to improve the quality of life of residents.

“We have been careful to address this issue in a comprehensive, careful, and compassionate manner. When (I) spoke to the league of Haitian pastors some months ago, I told them that our aim is to improve the lives of all those affected by what we are doing.

“I reminded the pastors that we must live in the Bahamas as one people with shared values and a shared commitment to a better future for all citizens and residents of the Bahamas.”

He continued: “It is unjust and unfair to allow the shanty towns to remain, especially given the social and other problems often found in these areas. It is a moral imperative for the country to remove the shantytowns even as we engage in immigration reform.

“We must also ensure that those who should be granted permanent residency or citizenship are so granted in a timelier manner.”

On August 5, the Supreme Court 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.

Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson granted the interlocutory injunction just days ahead of the government’s August 10 deadline during a telephone conference with human rights attorney Fred Smith, QC, and Attorney General Carl Bethel.

Mr Bethel later told the Senate the government has hired a team of high-powered lawyers headed by Harvey Tynes, QC, to take on Mr Smith and his team in the matter.

Comments

birdiestrachan 1 month ago

Never mind roc wit doc .when the Drama King or Mr. Small things speak he will jump. very high

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TheMadHatter 1 month ago

Keep the residents where they are and tax every Bahamian between the ages of 20 and 50 years old $500 as a special "humanitarian tax" to pay for repairs and cleanup of the shanty towns nationwide.

Shanty town residents are excluded from the tax, since they are humans.

Tax due by Dec 1st or face one month in prison.

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Sickened 1 month ago

Lol! I say that we all pay more taxes so that everyone can get treatment, for say... $3, at the hospital. That way we won't need to put any procedures in place at the hospital and they won't need to buy and maintain a billing system. Staff at that hospital will then have more time to continue to provide that excellent service that they are known for.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

The mere fact that Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson granted such an interlocutory injunction tells all of us that she cannot appreciate the very obvious injustices caused by the shanty towns. Here's a little reminder for her:

1) The shanty towns by their very existence encourage the continued inflow of illegal immigrants and thereby work against the government's policy and efforts to stem the ever increasing toll illegal immigrants are taking on the very limited financial resources available to support our social welfare schemes, our public education system, our public health system, our defense force, our police force, and, yes, even our judiciary.

2) The shanty towns present well known health and safety hazards to our larger Bahamian community on those islands that they exist; these hazards include the transmission of TB, HIV, etc. not to mention all the major life threatening fires alone that have occurred in shanty towns to date.

3) The shanty towns inhibit and work against the assimilation of those foreign nationals that have been granted residency (work permits) or citizenship in the Bahamas.

4) Our judiciary has no legal standing upon which it can direct or force our government to provide homes, electricity, running potable water, etc. in order for illegal immigrants to live anywhere else in our society, no more so than it does for Bahamians who are poor, under-privileged, down trodden and/or indigent; these are all political matters that fall within the domain of the government democratically elected by the Bahamian people, and not the courts.

Justice Grant-Thompson, as a sitting judge sworn to the laws of the Bahamas, is in no position to legislate or create new laws according to her own wishes or perception of what is fair or unfair if doing so runs contrary to the existing laws of our land and our government's policies formulated with the same existing laws in mind.

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geostorm 1 month ago

makes good sense to me what you are saying!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

Our judiciary is a bigger impediment to our government being able to deal with our illegal immigrant problem than QC Smith is.

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DDK 1 month ago

That's it! Well put, as usual. Too bad the powers that be do not seem to pay much attention to good sense and reason, each having his/her own agenda.

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TheMadHatter 1 month ago

Mudda_Sic - I'm sorry that I must disagree with your comment "Our judiciary has no legal standing upon which it can direct or force our government to provide homes, electricity, running potable water, etc. in order for illegal immigrants to live anywhere else in our society, no more so than it does for Bahamians who are poor..."

They have the power that will be forced upon them by the International Community with its host of cry-baby 3-letter agencies. The U.N. Children's Rights blah-be-de-blah etc. Fred and them will make another trip to D.C. to speak before some other council (and still be allowed to return through our immigration borders without a noose).

The International media will wage a war against us and paint us with the the darkest of colours and turn away 90% of our tourists saying nobody wants to visit a place that hates children - just like they are doing TODAY against Australia because of the children being held on Nauru. Everyone there keeps saying those children need to be taken to Australia for medical help. New Zealand has offered them refugee status, but Australia has refused to let them leave. Why must they they go to one of those 2 places? Who doesn't anybody (including the Indonesian government) ask for the children to be taken to Indonesia (where they came from ) for medical treatment? Are there no medical facilities in Indonesia? And if there are indeed none, then where is the international outcry about that? Don't the existing children in Indonesia deserve medical care? Shouldn't there exist at least ONE hospital there?

Why are $h^tH04e countries allowed to remain $h^tH04e countries? Nobody gets upset with them. The international cry baby agencies give them all a pass.

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bogart 1 month ago

These shantytown structures which have been built without lawful rules regulations, or certified sound of any risers plans are unsafe and many can be seen to be unsafe just looking at photographs.

Conditions for little children and all others no matter what legal status in these unsafe death traps must be immediately evacuated or rescued.

Before any Hurricane, tornado , flooding along this low southern coastal atea these residents must be evvacuated as it is likely all possible govt resources will have to be diverted to their rescue.

HUMAN RIGHTS PEOPLE iF THEY TRULY KNOW THE CONDITIONS OF THESE ILLEGAL SHANTYTOWNS WOULD BE TRYING TO EVACUATE AND LOOKING FOR BETTER CODITIONS FOR THEIR SAFETY AND WELL BEING ,...INSTEAD OF TRYING TO PROLONG THEIR STAY IN THESE SHANTYTOWNS..?....

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