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‘Where Are They All Going To Live?’: Davis Demands - What Now For Shanty Families

Leader of the Opposition Philip ‘Brave’ Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Leader of the Opposition Philip ‘Brave’ Davis. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

LABOUR Minister Dion Foulkes’ admission that there will most likely be challenges finding rental properties in Abaco for evicted shanty town residents proves there is a lack of planning and vision by the government, according to Official Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis yesterday.

The Progressive Liberal Party’s leader said when it comes to cracking down on shanty towns, the government has only sought to say the things Bahamians might want to hear without regard to actually carrying out the plan effectively.

On Saturday, Mr Foulkes told The Tribune with only few rentals available in Abaco, efforts could be complicated. He spoke shortly after the Shanty Town Action Task Force completed assessments on that island.

Responding to questions from this newspaper on the matter, Mr Davis suggested he has yet to understand the full gambit of the government’s plans when it comes to the shanty town issue.

The government has implemented a July 31, 2019 deadline for its regulation effort in Abaco. It has a July 31 deadline of this year for New Providence shanty towns.

Last week, officials in New Providence began issuing the first round of notices to shanty town residents, giving them the opportunity to show proof of their legal right to live in their residences.

“We have been there and done that,” Mr Davis said in response to a question from The Tribune during a press conference at PLP headquarters. “First of all, again their latest response speaks to their lack of vision and planning.

“We continually remind and say to the Bahamian public that these persons who are elected without a plan or vision and it’s being manifested daily. You plan to rid yourselves of shanty towns. What would have been the consequences of that? You are displacing people. I think the word to use is gentrification.

“Now don’t you think that if you are going to rid yourselves of shanty towns there would be an alternative plan in place for persons who might be displaced by that? And what are those plans? Are the plans to identify persons who are not documented (and) dealing with those who are documented?

“Because I have visited the shanty towns for example in Abaco and you would find that perhaps more than 80 percent of the persons living in shanty towns are persons holding Bahamian passports. So where are they going to go?

“So again, it just demonstrates their lack of planning, lack of vision and not properly planning things and just trying to adopt what I call news clips.”

Asked if he believed the government’s deadline was ambitious, Mr Davis stated he could not say.

“It feeds right back into what I said. If you fix deadlines one would have thought that you would have a plan, that you would have a vision. You fix a deadline without understanding what are the consequences of your actions.

“So, I cannot say whether it is ambitious or not ambitious because I could address whether it was ambitious if I knew what their plans were, if I knew the full gambit of what their vision was in respect to the consequences of their actions.

“So again, what has to happen is you can’t just engage in political machinations and think it is popular to say I’m going to get rid of shanty towns, but then at the end of the day could you effect that statement?”

A 2013 report compiled by the former Christie administration noted that there were some 1,200 homes spread across The Mudd, Pigeon Peas and The Sandbanks communities in Abaco. On Saturday, Mr Foulkes said he feared that number may have increased in recent years.

In addition to that, he said expansions in several other smaller communities around the island had now grown into major concerns.

Asked whether the government would absorb the cost for supplying affordable housing, Mr Foulkes insisted the government has no intention of “spending any money”.

Mr Foulkes said the next step, expected to start next week, will be another notice requiring people who do not have a legal right to live in their homes to move.

Comments

DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe the Brave one should invite "them" to live at his abode!

The challenge to relocate actually belongs to those who chose to set up house illegally in the first place. They did so at their own peril and were so residing on borrowed time.

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 2 months ago

"...proves there is a lack of planning and vision by the government, according to Official Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis"

LOL. And the FNM govt coming to power interrupted WHAT plans the PLP had?

Aa to where they going to live, ask the BAHAMIANS in Freeport who livin' in their cars - for long time now. Setup some outside showers (coin operated) and wish them the blessings of the voodoo god.

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hrysippus 1 year, 2 months ago

A part of the problem is that our laws side heavily with the tenant. If you rent to a tenant who is trashing your rental unit and not paying rent you will have to jump through legal loops for months to get them out. I could invest in buying rental property tomorrow, there are some attractive deals on the real estate market right now, but I will not for this reason. I am not alone in my thinking like this and consequently there is not enough inventory and competition amongst landlords and this results in high rents and scarce properties available. To a lessor extent the labour laws protecting employees are too onerous to the employer who will only take someone the payroll if absolutely necessary. One business I know of had recently to pay $22,000.oo to terminated employee who had walked off the job and had arrived to work on time about ten times only over ten years employment. Will any other employer take on this person whilst knowing the history, I certainly would not.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 2 months ago

Hopefully those who are here in our country illegally will now see fit to return to the country they came from.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 2 months ago

True ........ If you are illegal, then go back to where you came from ...... If you have "papers", then find legal housing ......... Do not expect to earn your money in The Bahamas, and send every dollar back to your homeland.

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TalRussell 1 year, 2 months ago

Ma Comrades, for the "real official" count Shantytowns - all government has do is ask US space Agency for copies photographs taken from outer space of Bahamaland's Shantytowns.
We have every right be “incredibly angry that as a nation we are being forced confront Shantytown Homelessness. But anger should not be focused solely towards the residents residing in such illegal communities without rage also being directed at greedy slum Landlords who've collected millions dollars in illegal rents over many years and right under the noses and blind eyes governing politicians from both the PLP and Red Shirts administrations who’ve helped create this crisis. Shouldn't someone be jailed....Why let the Landlords off so easy when the Landlords should be forced contribute to the financial relocation expenses? Both the media and government knows the names Landlords.... PeoplePublic name and shame
Landlords - sons o' bitches.

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PastorTroy 1 year, 2 months ago

Keep this in mind $50 million+ dollars is made IN THE BAHAMAS and sent back to Haiti. I won't even try to calculate how much is spent in Miami by Bahamians too. It's time for more Bahama Pride or else VAT will continue to rise, it's simple economics folks. If I borrow money from an unconscionable bank to build a house for my mixed family of 10, but when I give everyone their cut of the loan to help build our home better, but they take it and spend it building the neighbors house and still want to live with me, this is a problem. #Priority

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licks2 1 year, 2 months ago

You can't go into another country. . .mostly illegally. . .work mostly illegally. . .send most of ya money back to your homeland. . .the complain that where you are going to go when government make you move from illegal shanty housing!! If you are here legally. . .YOUR RENT PROBLEM IS JUST THAT. . .YOUR RENT PROBLEM!!! Housing is here. . .you came here to live. . .FIND YOUR OWN RENT!! What they think this is aye? Take some of that money sent back to Haiti and pay the rent. . .that is not rocket science there people. . .

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 2 months ago

That shows two things ...... Haitian/Jamaican/Chinese/Filipino etc. disrespect for our laws AND our inability to be pro-active to their disrespect (for our ulterior motives)

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

First of all those who continue to spread the lie that shantytowns are filled with illegals, stop it. Government surveys confirm that most of these people are legal and a good percentage of them are Bahamian citizens. Secondly when the conditions in the Shantytowns are compared to the inner city, like Bain and Grants Town, And Englerston And even portions of Nassau Village, the conditions in the shantytowns fair better in most instances. Some persons in the inner cities have no light, no running water, floors have rotted away and roofs are caving in. And they have to fight the problem of crime Day after Day and even more at night. Some of the shantytowns have Cable and internet an, for the most part, they have less levels of crime. And yes, shantytowns are illegals and they break a lot of zoning and town planning regulations. BUT shantytowns is a cry to the government on behalf of a growing population in and all around this country. The number of people, and yes Bahamians, living below the poverty line, in delapidated conditions and yes suffering is growing. They need help. DO something about the economy and create jobs. DO something about crime that is affecting so many. DO something about housing and make it more affordable and available.. in the US, the cry is Donald Trump is keeping illegal children locked in cages like dogs. Despite your desire to eradicate and eliminate the shantytowns, do not take roofs from over people’s head until they have somewhere else to live. Especially in this hour while it is the hurricane season. Those who are gooseing you to destroy these villages without mercy have intention of inflicting pain and suffering on the poor and the needy. But your Christian teachings tells you that the poor will also be among us. And there are many homes in the West and the South that have had their water and lights cut off. Let your conscience be your guide.

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licks2 1 year, 2 months ago

You will not allow yourself to speak truth for one minute aye? That report indicated that the majority of these who were considered to have papers were or are holders of work permits!! In fact the amount of work permit holders were approximately at 90%. . .LEARN TO READ OR ACCEPT THE FACT THAT YOU HAVE TO BE AT LEAST A LITTLE BIT HONEST. As for Trump locking children in cages like dogs is just the opposite to what you are now saying! The children were NOT locked in cells with their parents. . .they were separated into different quarters suited for children. . .the sticking point was that the UN accord for children says that children should not be separated from their parents. . . SOMETHING THE US GOVERNMENT DON'T NEED TO FOLLOW BECAUSE IT HAS NOT SIGNED THAT ACCORD. . .SOMALIA BEING THE ONLY OTHER NATION WHO DID NOT DO SO AS WELL. You are so ignorant to many things or you are just down right a liar!!

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ashley14 1 year, 2 months ago

Either help the situation or leave them alone! I know you don't understand but I read your posts because you remind me of someone I totally love and respect.

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bogart 1 year, 2 months ago

Roc wid Doc an Ministers done give notice to the lawbreakers....done gone first to dere Churches leaders, pastors.Haitian groups .alldere people to helpin dem....even had one he Minister talking creole ........done spenr countless dollars manpower fire trucks putting out shanty town fire...sending million govr officials on taxpayers money to visit...inspect...count....WID humane treatment...safely dismangle pile of electrical wires....remove garbage...debris....reduce disease epidemics.etc...at taxpayers expense ...or until owners can be charged for breaking the law, safety violations, pollution, ..illegal shops..... Roc wid Doc an Minister has done more than dere part...humanely...!!! ......AND....the OPPOSITION ......been dere from the getgo....!!!!......an if dey too been planning to eliminate illegal shantytowns from way back when......whichin never did happen.....means dat we the people been gettin swing big time all dis while.... now find diis out... Queston is ....where all dese othr people at the table when dis all first started....dey aint been dere fer pretty sake......dey needs to stop duckin...an step up to da plate....an hepl dere people..an who dey family is...!!!.,...

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Alex_Charles 1 year, 2 months ago

Brave is a wealthy man who owns large parcels of land,, give the people a place Brave. You should house them.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 2 months ago

How can the Government provide affordable housing to Bahamians for less than $30,000 for a 80x100 lot ........ without creating British-style flats or US-style projects?????? ....... We have to admit that Bahamians' expectations for "a house and a yard" is not feasible in Nassau anymore.

Can the Government use PPP projects to create two-storey apartment blocks (with 8-2BR units) on abandoned lots in the inner city and sell them off to families at reasonable low mortgage rates?????

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

Good idea but our government never follows through, being the terrible business entity that it is when it comes to The Bahamas as a country. If these blocks were not managed properly they would soon become slums and the circle would be complete. Then there is the problem of nepotism.........

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Alex_Charles 1 year, 2 months ago

Sheeprunner, I 100% agree with you. It's about time we progressed to high density housing within the confines of the capital. People need housing, that's affordable. Building your own home is not financially sustainable anymore and it's not even remotely affordable in New Providence any longer.

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PastorTroy 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't think it's wise for the opposition to play politics with this issue, they are to blame, if not more, just like the current ruling party.

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sealice 1 year, 2 months ago

I don't know man .... You let them into the country and what were your plans for their legal housing needs?

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TalRussell 1 year, 2 months ago

Ma Comrades Minnis and Dion - you surprise me.....in a pretend way!
It's time stop with the pretend - lets take three red shirts governing terms steps backwards prior 10th May 2017 - some or all of which Minnis and Dion played elected or appointed roles means existence Shantytowns have been well known the Two long before Dion commissioned the Surveys be conducted. Tis stretching think this came as shocker surprise Minnis and Dion... not much shocker considering the Two have been loyal fans permitting growth some 35 Shantytowns exist and to have sprungs up under Papa Hubert.

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bogart 1 year, 2 months ago

@sheeprunnr12......Roc wid Doc program is to provide the lots for $30,000 or less.....not sure on the lot sizes....but depemding on setbacks covenants etc good soze houses can be built.....goodand the construction materials will carry a signoficant stzmp duty exemption and the contractor will be ups to da cuustomer whichinin I expect dem to have to get an licenced approved certified contractor ...there is a list somewhere....and of course the FINANCIAL INSTITUTION will do a detailed analysis to lets the client know how much dey is approves for....taking into account the equity for the land to use towatds offsetting da financial instifitions equity downpayment requirement.....simple many persons did similar tings like bringing in a container of hurricane damaged replacement items... My view is to prefer a few darn good contractors bonds,...build from certified workable plans....mass scale to get economies ....buy bulk...and give the taxpayer heavily subsidized.houses program.....to benefit the Govt Bahamas Mortgage Corporation.....do umbrella insirances wid insirance company....

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bogart 1 year, 2 months ago

@AlexCharles....actually the govt already done have a number of these multi unit low cost rent units in the inner city.....one is off Kemp rd, another around Windsor Park area etc....they usually are to single parent wid many kids..... On the affordable houses.....for many years the govt has offered many affordable housing units 10,000 plus in many subdivisions like Yellow Elder stretching from Baillou Hillrd to Bethel Ave under another name, Flamingo Gdns, Pride, Elizabeth...and others. I believe the first sets in Yellow Elder cost around $18,000 plus each..Govt Guarranteed Loans Dept of Housing....largs groups managed under different banks..... .While the cost of the govt program land at 30k say 50 x 100 lot can put a 1,400 sq ft ?? home nice - 2 - 3 ? bed 2 bath...and heavily reduced building supply stamp duty can construct nice home.$........?...& lot$ ....?...Its a great value for first time home owner. Of coutse you can build even smaller and less expensive an add on later.....current problem is dat plenty govt workers done hav plenty loans....

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

@ licks : go play with y ma. Not me ok

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

@ licks: show me where I ever (yes eve, ever) said the children were ‘locked in cages with their parents ‘. They we’re locked alone Jackass, for months and months! Which is worse you dumb ass? So go suck grapes!

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licks2 1 year, 2 months ago

GO BACK A READ YA POSTS THEM. . .CAN'T REMEMBER WHAT YA SAY FROM POST TO POST? WHO SAID THAT YOU SAID THEY WERE LOCKED WITH THEIR PARENTS? YOU SAID THAT THEY WERE LOCKED UP IN CAGES LIKE DOGS! THEY WERE NEVER LOCKED UP ANYWHERE. . .HEY WERE IN GOVERNMENT FACILITIES DESIGNED FOR COMFORT.. .CUSS AS MUCH AS YOU LIKE. . .JUST LEARN TO READ NEXT TIME!! AND CUT DOWN ON YA LYING SO MUCH. . .YA HEAR!

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

How can Government provide affordable housing for Bahamians? Put restrictions on foreigners who coming here trying to hog up everything. And that includes ‘swimming with the pigs ‘ let’s do this!

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BahamaLlama 1 year, 2 months ago

Unfortunately Mr Davis, they settled there during the PLP years. It's a bit rich to criticize the FNM for not having a plan regarding something you allowed, and didn't plan for either.

"I think the word to use is gentrification."

No. That's the not-so-clever implication those fires and/or the government action are/were deliberate as part of a conspiracy. It's also a racially-loaded inferred slur.

And for goodness sake, knock it off with the xenophobia. Blaming "foreigners" for every little thing makes us look like a bunch of small-minded, immature village idiots.

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truetruebahamian 1 year, 2 months ago

John, you had better stop eating those tide pods.,they're worse than cheap rum!

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

@licks and untrue Bahamian: show me the posts else shut Up... it’s white kids who was eating the tide pods not persons of my hue. If it had been black folks they would have increased production not do a recall..dum dums!

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

@licks until you show me the post and prove me wrong or that I am s liar or that I am dishonest go play with ya ma..nuff said

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licks2 1 year, 2 months ago

Ok. . .go back to the 10th post. . .7th line from the bottom. . .there you will find your "locked up like dogs" statement!!

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sealice 1 year, 2 months ago

Hey Brave

Since you let them in the country ... we ga let you keep dem by ya house in ya big ars yard.... they don't mind poopin in a hole and ga bathe in ya pool!!!

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SP 1 year, 2 months ago

"Where will they all go"? Is their problem. Forcing them to assimilate will begin to bring equilibrium to this decades-old problem which successive governments allowed to fester uncontrollably.

If people know they cannot afford to live here, they won't have reason to come in the first place!

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