Legal Status For Majority In Shanty Town Census


Dion Foulkes, Minister of Labour. Photo: Lionel Smith


Tribune Chief Reporter


MOST shanty town dwellers in unregulated communities across Abaco have legal status permitting them to reside in the country, according to Labour Minister Dion Foulkes, who yesterday revealed an estimated population size of around 3,500 residents.

Mr Foulkes said around 20 percent of those surveyed during the summer census exercise were undocumented, adding the six shanty towns were home to at least 332 children. 

He remained tightlipped on how many shanty town residents were Bahamian, telling reporters outside the Churchill Building the full report was still before Cabinet.

“The report has a breakdown of those residents who are on spousal permit, work permit and citizenship,” Mr Foulkes said. 

“Information on utilities, those employed and unemployed, but that information would be made available to the press. It is before colleagues now. 

He added: “One of the figures that I can release this morning is out of all of the residents, 80 percent of them have some type of legal status to be in the Bahamas, 20 percent of them are undocumented.”

The preliminary results appear to follow population trends observed in New Providence shanty towns, where an “overwhelming” 70 percent reportedly have a legal right to reside in the country. In the capital, Bahamian residents stood at 15 percent, and three percent of interviewees had a spousal permit.

Yesterday, Mr Foulkes acknowledged the Abaco census figures were significantly lower than speculative estimates given by both local residents and pundits over the years, and insisted the survey was accurate.

“This is the first time that we have actually done a report since the fires,” Mr Foulkes said. “The Ministry of Health did a report in 2013 and at that time there were 1,024 households, so as you can see there is a decrease of about 100 structures, and we think that is due to the two fires that occurred since 2013. 

“We think this survey is accurate. We heard many reports from persons who live in Abaco and persons who have visited that the figures could be anywhere from 2,000 to 7,000 (residents) but what I’ve given to you are the facts. We believe that they are the facts.”

The SATF’s Abaco census started on June 13, and its report was compiled by Dr Cherita Moxey, of the Ministry of Health.

Of the 915 structures recorded, 138 households did not participate, and Mr Foulkes said officials estimate those homes account for about 500 residents. 

In the remaining 777 households surveyed in the communities of the Mud; Pigeon Peas; Farm Road; Sandbanks; L & H; and Elbow Cay, there were 3,039 residents.

The South Abaco shantytowns of the Mud and Peas represented the largest population, accounting for 70 percent of the total households interviewed by the task force or around 2,600 residents, according to Mr Foulkes.

Meanwhile, the government’s action plan for the eradication of Family Island shanty towns is still hampered by looming court action from 177 shanty town residents from both New Providence and Abaco.

The Supreme Court previously ordered the government and utility providers to halt any planned evictions, service disconnections or demolitions until the court hearing for a judicial review of the government’s decision.

Yesterday, Mr Foulkes said: “There is a court injunction that has prohibited us from following our action plan but all of the things that we can do, that do not relate directly to the shanty towns, we are doing. One of them is a subcommittee that is considering alternative housing for the residents of the shanty towns on Abaco, but I do not want to get into any detail on that.”


TheMadHatter 1 year, 7 months ago

"... We heard many reports from persons who live in Abaco and persons who have visited that the figures could be anywhere from 2,000 to 7,000 (residents) but what I’ve given to you are the facts. We believe that they are the facts.”

Mr Foulkes, you keep believing YOUR facts. Alternate facts are fun. In fact, my fact is that i'm married to Paris Hilton and ride around with her in her jet all the time visiting cities around the world and staying in the penthouse suite at every Hilton her grandfather owns.

I like that "fact", so i believe it. I stay happy that way. Almost as happy as any Bahamian MP.


My2centz 1 year, 7 months ago

This census is just as laughable as the deadline. Do they really belive illegal immigrants and those who support them will give themselves up? This is another smoke screen to protect illegal immigrants


TheMadHatter 1 year, 7 months ago

If i had a cigar and your address, i would Fedex it to you. Exactly correct. Our MPs have no control over this. The world migration situation is controlled by the Soros group and the IDB.


Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 7 months ago

Minnis has no doubt instructed Symonette to make sure all of the shanty town dwellers get the message that they (and their many, many family members) will get whatever paperwork they need to stay in the Bahamas so long as they vote FNM in all future general elections. LMAO


DDK 1 year, 7 months ago

No doubt! Majority support PLP so they will be laughing all the way into citizenship!


DDK 1 year, 7 months ago

What this mumbo jumbo has to do with eliminating illegal, unsafe dwellings doth escape.


bogart 1 year, 7 months ago

Despite the presence of so many Haitians, or Bahamians of Haitisn descent.....they...majority are from conditions of extreme poverty....conditioned by hardship, suffering, being taken advantage of by employers, being underpaid, deprived of benefits.............their conditioning....language.......binds them together.....they will be on a jobsite and will all share one bowl of food....they will go together in the common interest of all..........


DWW 1 year, 7 months ago

That may be true but the conditions are far better than Haiti.


SP 1 year, 7 months ago

Absolute malarkey! This Dion Foulkes clown expects us to believe that illegals willingly came forward to take part in his statistics?

We need to bring Perry Christie back. At least he entertained us with his shuffle dance while trying to bullshit us. Foulks says this nonsense with a straight face as if we are all as stupid as he is!


BahamaPundit 1 year, 6 months ago

If y'all looked in the public schools ya would give up on trying to get rid of Haitians. 90% of many public schools are Haitian. Thousands of new Haitians born eat year. This country is gone folks. This is a predominantly Haitian country. Get over it and move on with ya life. Fight the things ya still can change.


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