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Updated – Inferno: 150 Homeless As Arsonist Sets The Mud Ablaze

Photo: Vado Bootle

Photo: Vado Bootle

SCORES of homes were destroyed in the shanty town community The Mud in Abaco on Sunday, displacing more than 150 people, police and government officials said.

Authorities believe the fire sprung from arson and a Bahamian man has been taken into custody, assisting police with their investigation.

Central and South Abaco MP James Albury told reporters it is estimated 55 houses were destroyed and 170 people have been affected.

Deputy Commissioner of Police Emrick Seymour said police received reports of the fire around 6am yesterday. When they responded to the scene, they found two houses ablaze. The fire rapidly spread amid high winds, he said.

Volunteer firefighters were summoned to help extinguish the blaze, which took several hours to put out.

There were no major injuries reported from the incident.

However, shelters were opened yesterday to accommodate the many displaced people, which DCP Seymour said included “quite a number of children.”

Mr Albury told The Tribune the main shelter for displaced people last night was the Church of God. Additional shelters will likely be set up beginning today, he said.

He added that the number of displaced people is based on those who checked “in with Social Services and the command centre.”

“The Department of Social Services has been fully mobilised since the morning and throughout the evening, checking in with persons, getting information, covering details of items lost,” he said. “The Red Cross has also been very helpful and vital, providing food, water and other basic supplies.”

Mr Albury said there is sufficient food and drinking water for the displaced people, as well as access to toilet and cleaning facilities.

Such fires are not unusual for The Mud. In 2014, a similar incident prompted a government pledge to relocate more than 150 people who were displaced after a fire.

A 23-old-man, Joel Josue, pleaded guilty at the time after he was charged with damaging and endangering property by the wilful and negligent use of fire.

Abaco is the home of the country’s biggest shanty town population. Combined, its three shanty town communities, Sand Banks, The Mud and Pigeon Peas, have as many as 1,000 homes, according to statistics.

Comments

TheMadHatter 1 year, 8 months ago

Not ONE single employer charged before the courts yet for the year. 28 days since new policy.

SCORE Illegals : 28 Minnis : 0

Will this game go into overtime?

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OldFort2012 1 year, 8 months ago

Since the line at the webshops is 365:0, I would say that it is going to be a slam dunk for the Illegals. Go Pirates!

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DDK 1 year, 8 months ago

These fires will continue until the Government DO something about the illegal shanty towns and the "immigration problem". This fire threatened the LEGAL businesses and residences of the Town of Mash Harbour and was contained by the commendable response of the Marsh Harbour Volunteer Fire Department. There is a huge shanty town in North Abaco, the one in Central Abaco and other smaller pockets throughout the Island. There are two elected political representatives for Abaco in the current Government. This is not a new problem. It is an avoided problem. Come on fellas, get it together.

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ohdrap4 1 year, 8 months ago

whenever there is a fire in the shantytown, it becomes 'gentrified'. some nicer homes are being built there.

in the shantytown, there are restaurants, hotels and gambling houses.

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

We wrestle not against flesh and blood but against prince and principalities And nations and rulers of nations...

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

Chase them crazy bald head...

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

Does it get any better or do we just get use to it

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

Who owns that land where The Mud, Pigeon Pea and Sandbanks exist in Abaco??? ...... I am sure it is not Crown Land ....... So, who has been collecting rent from these Haitian squatters for 50 years????? Is this an insidious plan to rid their land of these people???? ...... Where will these 5,000 Haitians go??????? ........ Or will they just melt away and begin anew again?????

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DDK 1 year, 8 months ago

Believe Mud is Crown Land, Peas mostly private and Sand Banks probably Crown Land as well. Understand there are illegal electrical hook-ups, those without electric use generators and/or kerosene lamps and candles. No roads for fire-truck access and no fire hydrants within. Bahamas Government Complex, Port Authority and Police Department within minutes walking distance of The Mud.

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Sickened 1 year, 8 months ago

No wonder we pay so much for BEC, we are paying for the thousands of haitian homes throughout The Bahamas to get free electricity. We are too nice!

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

Christ himself said ‘the poor will always be with us.’ And some among us bare so much hate and despise for them because it was on their backs they were able to climb.

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

My, my, Ma Comrade Braddas, I seriously doubt Jesus just threw his hands-up-in-the-air out frustration with the poor to mean 'the poor will always be among us.' Jesus always had a much bigger message for us.... He neither creates nor burns down Shantytowns... these Communities are an outreach of our own Peoples Islands Community... they is our poorer cousins.... so stop blaming Jesus the very circumstances we as a People gave voice to.

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SP 1 year, 8 months ago

The only surprise here is that it didn't happen sooner. This is an inevitable catastrophe that should be taken as a warning for bigger things to come!

What happens to these displaced people? Who pays to support, house, feed, medical and secure them? NOT ME!!!! Most Bahamians are living hand to mouth and struggling to make ends meet.

What happens when a major disease outbreak, CAT 5 hurricane, or larger fires stricks? Who pays, and how will an already financially crippled Bahamas deal with thousands of displaced illegals?

The Bahamas should call on Fred Smith, humanitarian advocates, and the U.N. now and DEMAND financial assistance for "all their people"!

Let's see if Fred will "walk the walk" to back up his "talk the talk".

Get rid of the shanty towns and illegals before they destroy us all!

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 8 months ago

You bet. The article says "...to accommodate the many displaced people, which DCP Seymour said included “quite a number of children.”

Duh. Really? Haitians have "quite a number" of children? This is news?

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DDK 1 year, 8 months ago

"Mr Albury told The Tribune the main shelter for displaced people last night was the Church of God. Additional shelters will likely be set up beginning today, he said.

He added that the number of displaced people is based on those who checked “in with Social Services and the command centre.”

“The Department of Social Services has been fully mobilised since the morning and throughout the evening, checking in with persons, getting information, covering details of items lost,” he said. “The Red Cross has also been very helpful and vital, providing food, water and other basic supplies.”

Mr Albury said there is sufficient food and drinking water for the displaced people, as well as access to toilet and cleaning facilities."

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John 1 year, 8 months ago

Tal Russell you should learn to comprehend what you read before you try responding in your usual ignorant way. No one was promoting the burning of the mud or any Shanty town. To the contrary. The message is to be more tolerant and less abusive towards the poor among us. And that was the message Christ promoted. To love your neighbor. And to be your brother’s keeper. As you may not know, Donald Trump has added Haiti to the list of nations from which immigrants will not be accepted into the US. So obviously this will increase the problem with more of them coming here. But we must deal with the problem humanely. Setting fire to people’s houses and leaving them with nothing but the clothes on their backs is wrong,

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joeblow 1 year, 8 months ago

While it is truly my hope that one one is seriously injured, you simply cannot replicate the living conditions in Haiti and not have these kinds of tragedies. As usual the government with deal with this in a knee jerk way. They are afraid to enforce the laws of the Bahamas in the Bahamas regarding immigration .

Also want to send a shout out to Edison Key who was instrumental in the Haitification of Abaco. Thanks brudda!

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Sickened 1 year, 8 months ago

I wonder if the volunteer fire department in Marsh Harbour have any Haitians or Haitian Bahamians signed up? If not, you think any will sign up now? You thinks any will donate to the fire department to help maintain the trucks etc.?

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SP 1 year, 8 months ago

Haitians and Haitian Bahamian parasites do not contribute to anything! Nobody ever heard of Haitians in any country contributing back to society.

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Think about this Ma Comrade Braddas, is the Imperial red government an extension of the People, or the People the extension of government? If you really feel Shantytowns are a violation of everything we stand for, isn't it we's prerogative to rise up against the people who govern us? Last count has 45 Shantytowns all over the Bahamaland with one at Elbow Cay, Abaco, with a population of 600 - which is never mentioned in discussions. Its a fuckin# disgrace for it to be allowed for even one more day... shockingly, the US media have never exposed this nastiness of 'Its NOT Better in the Bahamaland to the world. Wake up, Rise Up!

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hrysippus 1 year, 8 months ago

Elbow Cay Shanty town of 600 people?.... .... OK?

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Ma Comrade, ain't new been there since the 80's or longer. I'm told the number in and around the area could even have climbed to 1000? Did you know the settlement Hope Town has since the 80's have a public government street directional sign posted in Haitian Creole?

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DDK 1 year, 8 months ago

"Abaco is the home of the country’s biggest shanty town population. Combined, its three shanty town communities, Sand Banks, The Mud and Pigeon Peas, have as many as 1,000 homes, according to statistics."

Two Part Question to elected representatives in Bahamas Government: "WHY and WHAT IS BEING DONE ABOUT THE ILLEGAL SHANTY TOWNS?"

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bogart 1 year, 8 months ago

Disasters such as these are almost inevitable. Epidemics and disease outbreaks are extremely possible. Lack of Buildong construction rules, setbacks, proper electricals, hurricane clips, bolted down plates etc is a must in hurricane zone. Proper sanitation disposal of waste critical not only to inhabitanys but to foraging animals whose meat may be sold to the public. So many illegal items affecting many but the naton has a duty to assist those suffering.BUT not before those officials responsible for the illegalities yo exist and flourish are brought to trial and the cat o nine punishment still on the Bahamas law books is used for those found guilty.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 8 months ago

And to think Minnis and Symonette believe that the only solution to our Haitian illegal immigrant problem is to expedite their ability to obtain legal status through a robo stamp of approval process - no matter how many of them continue to illegally step on to our shores and produce babies at an exponential rate!

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Ma Comrade Bradda Well_mudda-take-sic, hasn't the rampant popups Shantytowns not become the face Bahamaland's illegal immigration. The lands they're on are either crown lands or private native landlords collecting rents. The electricity being used originates from the state. Someone's are operating illegal business on site and they range from restaurants, bars, food stores to motels and funeral homes. Are their family doctors, clinics, dentists and lawyers there too? We know for a fact the policeman's never go there on regular patrols... always with backup armed support. For fuc# suck...this is all going on under noses and eyes of Minnis, KP and Marvin. We need a state with courage, not blind eyes and deaf ears. And, beware, when Minnis Desmond and KP tell you they (the Imperial cabinet) have a plan in place to deal with Shantytowns..... its a lie... they are the state who owns lots damn lands they're living and building on. They also have authority to direct policeman's to shut them down and full access the courts. They don't need take to the air in helicopters to see what's going in.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 8 months ago

Bogart - someone told me about two years ago that many years ago the Bahamas signed a secret Treaty with Haiti which in effect saved our population from being overrun and murdered outright with machetes in exchange for a "slow peaceful" handover of our land. They said that the Bahamas historically belonged to Haiti and that it was stolen from Haiti. This Treaty remedies that theft in a "humane" way and will allow the "remnant" Bahamians to continue to live here until they are eventually driven out by their own choice to leave or they become inbred.

I, of course, do not know if this is true, whether the Treaty exists but the person was NOT joking - they were dead serious. It was just a casual conversation at a coffee shop in Nassau and i don't know the person.

It sounds CRAZY but it would certainly explain the inaction of successive governments. People may say our Govt would not do that - but what's the difference in that versus driving up a 6 billion dollar debt in our name and refusing to give us a list showing to whom and what amounts make-up that debt, OR signing us up to obey the WTO without giving EVEN ONE specific example of how membership will benefit us neither even a list of ten of the many rules we will have to follow.

So to those who say "the Government would have informed us of the secret Treaty", i say to them quit taking those colorful pills. The building permit laws etc. are nullified by the Treaty. The very few deportations (by %) are just "for show" to keep the public fooled. That's why the same deported persons are seen back here a few weeks later. Free family visits that we also pay for.

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Schemer18 1 year, 8 months ago

Talk fool hey. So how come they ain't own Santo domingo?! They got less off the land ownership. You talking fool man. So go update yourself on the Haitian Revolution, 1804 - 1806 - Jean Jacques Dessalines to make some good logic. They never had a discovery in the Bahamas origin.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 8 months ago

It's not my theory - it's only what i heard. I only give it some credit because it is the only reason I have heard yet that can explain how they can violate our Flag Law daily, tief land, build without permits, enroll in school without having to provide half the documents a Bahamian has to provide and get special assistance in enrolling from Cabinet ministers, drive cars without license plates, operate businesses without licenses and sell duty free products, sell illegal products, operate strip clubs 24-7, etc.

I am not saying they should not be allowed to do these things either. Bahamians have voted over and over for the same people, so obviously they want the same things to happen. I am just upset that as a Bahamian I cannot operate a strip club, or operate a business without a license, or drive a car without paying license fees. I want to do those things too. I don't want to pay VAT on my food. I want to travel abroad without paying departure tax too and without even buying a plane ticket, and I want to get towed into Nassau free of charge when my boat runs out of gas. These are wonderful things. I say let everyone living in the Bahamas enjoy these benefits - including Bahamians.

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concernedcitizen 1 year, 8 months ago

you know why ,,b/c there is always someone u can pay off ,,for a work permit ,,to squat on land ,,to get light hook up ,,they ain theefing we tings we been selling it to dem for a good while

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Sickened 1 year, 8 months ago

Interesting conspiracy theory. I'd give it a 50% chance of being true.

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Schemer18 1 year, 8 months ago

What is so scary with migration into other nations by another nation of poverty stricken people is people like this is this name Bahamian brand > Joel Josue?

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bogart 1 year, 8 months ago

The so called treaty perhaps had something to do with Inagua where the Haitian official had some summer residence and at one time Inagua? had the General Post office. Mmany Haitians got stuck here when the Abaco farms went bankcrjpt znd the govt even had yo pay electficity bill gor them. Living in the shanty provides cheap labour for the wealthy who are part of the nomenklatura. Its unfair competion for Bahamian labour following the laws outside and it will always be unfair competition. Something new has to happen to right side yhe ship. Everyone who flies into the airport looking out the window sees the shanties. For decades this is going on and nothing seems to be done as new shacks grow outwards. It would not be surprising to know that these constructions usually done with minimal to get the most shelter or ever use cement casements for cesspits to separate material and if ever a Honey truvk did visit the innermost dtructures to empty cesspits. Given flow of illegsls from Haiti and bringing disease it is a miracle no tourist catching a disease and taking it to their home country. The responsibklity for carrying out the law has to lie someshere and those officials be charged for collecting a paycheck and illdgalities continue whlle other govt workers getting laid off.

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Reality_Check 1 year, 8 months ago

In a high stakes cock fight between a Haitian rooster and a Bahamian rooster, I would put my money on the Haitian rooster to win hands down - no contest! In another 10 years at most the Haitian roosters will have control of our parliament.

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Don't fear Ma kämrəd Reality_Check, cause AG Carl Wilshire says the Imperial red cabinet has 're calibrated' to deal with Illegals... and I guess that will also include sponsoring seminars to entourage foreigner investors to invest in Haiti? Oh yeah, they also want the employer foreigners to provide (pay) accommodation for their imported workers... but Wilshire, what about paying da living accommodations the natives? {Oh no, you don't even has make this crap stuff up}. I done stop trying dissect Wilshire's logic's?

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DDK 1 year, 8 months ago

Understand PM paying condolence visit to Mud now.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 8 months ago

You are correct. Their rooster already winning. I predict Andros will be 90% Haitian occupied in the next 3 years. Bahamasair will have to pay a fee to fly from Nassau to Miami over Androsian airspace, meanwhile the Bahamas airspace treaty with the USA that Hanna-Martin started will still be "in negotiations."

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TalRussell 1 year, 8 months ago

Ma kämrəd, if you visualize some in House done resembles red rooster?

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

Bogart .................. this is no time for talking fool ........ The Haitians present a clear and present danger ........ The politicians and residents of Abaco, Eleuthera and Nassau have only themselves to blame for this social mess ......... Exuma, GB, Cat Island and Andros can redeem themselves if they act quickly ............ Count Long Island out of this secret Haitian takeover.

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bogart 1 year, 8 months ago

See...Sheep.?..we all agree....Tal, MadHatter, RealityCheck , on the Haitian rooster winning....so far.

While we vote govts in and out listenkng to all the slogans, on trust, on Bahamisns first, Bahamas for Bahamians. Nationalism, Patriotism, National Pride, everybody since the last 10 years wid a Bahamian flag on dey suit etcetcetc we have now become a dual language nation. Dual govt signage some places.

Our Bahamian forefathers died in struggle to build a Bahamas for us. Bahamians Couldnt go to school past 14 years old dey came out to work, Bahamisns couldnt go into Banks, Bay st, Bahamians werent worth the same vote as property and a business, got paid 4 shillings a day by Pleaszmgville while others got more, majority voted for one party in 62 but didnt win, Bahamian forefathers parents sacrificed to make ends meet, throw da Mace out, shared robinhood flour cloth bags clothing, whampas shoes....building a nation......and NOW some govt officials wid dey slackness allowing other nations people illegally come here and be Bahamian more than we?? Sure everuone is pissed the Haishuns clearly represent a clear and present danger and they are united and have no intention of leaving. Its time Bahamians come together to reclaim what our Bahsmian forefathers struggled, sacroficed and died go leave their offspring. If no inhabitant in the shanty cannot say what a whampas is or what robinhoof hood flour bag represents, or slam bam, or Burna road, Cat an Fiddle, Banana Boat, fire engine is or bippy......SEND THEM BACK. Tell the MPs to stop all the shantytown illegal activities NOW!!

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alfalfa 1 year, 8 months ago

We can all feel the pain of these people. However, the mud has always been an den of illegal activity. Illegal hookups to BPL, illegal businesses, prostitution, and gambling. To refresh every persons memory, the originator of the Mud was Edison Key, who brought in thousands of Haitians to work his farms. But I am sure that he will be referred to as a Bahamian Hero and laid out in state. Why has no one been charged for allowing this shanty town to grow so large. No house plans. No building permits. No BPL connections. Toilet and septic facilities. Give all the MP's. especially Mr. Key a medal.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 8 months ago

That is SLOPLegacy2.0 ........... Only thing worse was the Colombians.

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bogart 1 year, 8 months ago

Its a Catch 22 for every govt. Democratically elected govts parley our birthtighr to attract FDI who come with conditions to drvelop, cheap labour is key component, br it Turks ipslanders for lumber, indians for Crysyal Palace, Mexicans for PI, Chinese forBshamar. Haitiams for agriculture. In the latter coupled with this shangrila they going to find ways to evade lke shanties and wid free schooling, medicals zmd gpvt offocials who do not follow constitition and laws facilated growth. These Haitians are extremely smart people and coupled wid lax Bahamian law enforvement will survive and grow. Go to the source of the problem fpr the continustion that is the MP. Talking and getting yinna vecation al yuk up aint gon work. Blaming haishuns pdem fer how long aint works. Call the MPs and speak yinna mind. Our Immigratiom policies need to be followed, Apart from being colonizrd by the Haitians, we have the money gone through the banks by the Foreign Investors and Bahamians who go to them for loans have profits repatreated to foreign countries an we is left wid?.... Lets also do forensic investogation in Immigration to see how it is one can break the law and be rewatded an change some of the facilating processes that exercerbate the exponential continuous growth.

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DDK 1 year, 8 months ago

Hope da M.P.'s dem are reading!

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Bonefishpete 1 year, 7 months ago

Been looking at houses in Abaco to buy. Most fancy real estate agents want to show me houses in the $200,000 to $400,000 range. Why can't I have a shanty house for say $5,000 range? Seems not right because I'm not Haitian.

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