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The Mud In Flames – Again

The scene at The Mud in the early hours of Sunday.

The scene at The Mud in the early hours of Sunday.

By NICO SCAVELLA

Tribune Staff Reporter

nscavella@tribunemedia.net

MORE than 80 people have been left homeless and their houses destroyed after another blaze ripped through The Mud in Abaco in the early hours yesterday.

Central and South Abaco MP James Albury told The Tribune between 35 to 40 structures are estimated to have been destroyed as a result of this latest blaze. At the time he spoke with this newspaper, some 83 people had registered at a local shelter after being displaced by the fire. No one was reported killed or injured in the inferno.

However, Mr Albury said he and other officials suspect the actual number of displaced persons is much higher than that.

No lives were reported to have been lost during the blaze.

Mr Albury said police have not identified a possible cause of the fire, however, he said officials will still conduct some more “thorough walkthroughs” to determine the cause and the total damage the community suffered. Mr Albury said the main shelter for those displaced by the fire is the local Seventh-Day Adventist church. The Bahamas Red Cross will be managing the relief efforts and distributing food and other items to assist those affected.

Mr Albury also said that the Department of Social Services, in addition to private citizens, are assisting in relief efforts.

Sunday’s blaze comes just over a month after a fire, alleged to have been arson, broke out at the Marsh Harbour shanty town, destroying scores of homes and displacing over 150 people. However, Mr Albury said yesterday’s fire, which has since been extinguished, took place in a different area from January’s blaze, on the opposite end of the shantytown.

According to initial reports, shortly after 1am police received reports of a fire in The Mud. Police fire services and other emergency volunteers arrived at the scene, and residents of the area were subsequently evacuated.

Fire fighters and other volunteers battled strong winds and as a result many homes were destroyed before the fire could be contained.

Mr Albury told The Tribune he first received news of the fire around 7.30am yesterday, after waking up to a number of missed calls and messages. He said when he arrived at the scene around 8am, the fire had been contained and extinguished.

After he personally inspected the site, he said he returned to the shelter to assist with relief efforts.

“Whenever these things happen it’s an emergency situation, but the police, the volunteers, the firefighters all deserve kudos for containing it and addressing the issue,” he told The Tribune yesterday. “Right now I’ll call the atmosphere calm, everything in the shelter, the procedure with registering persons went very smoothly. Tensions aren’t too high. People are trying to help one another in the aftermath of the fire.

“It is a bit of an extra blow because there was another large fire in the same community less than six weeks ago, so it is kind of almost a back-to-back blow. But right now people are being calm, collected and we’re just going to have to help them the best way we can.”

In the January fire approximately 55 homes were destroyed, affecting 170 people. A 42-year-old man was subsequently arraigned in Abaco’s Magistrate’s Court on 10 counts of arson.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has since pledged the area that fire affected will be cordoned off and no structures will be allowed to be rebuilt in that space.

In 2014, a fire in The Mud prompted a pledge from the Christie administration to relocate more than 150 people who were consequently displaced.

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

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

Comments

Sickened 1 year, 2 months ago

Maybe if they built to code this wouldn't happen??

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bogart 1 year, 2 months ago

Again!! Utilizing so much resources to protect what is clearly illegal!!! Whosoever allowed these illegal structures to continue should have all the costs to stop the fire deducted from their salary!!

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joeblow 1 year, 2 months ago

The lack of political will to address this immigration issue and all its poisonous fruit is sickening!

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

Notice the MP says NOTHING about the homes being ILLEGAL!!!! REAL NEWS FLASH: Residents of Marsh Harbour reportedly observed FOUR trucks loaded with lumber and building material heading into the Mud on Saturday. It seems apparent that this Government and its representatives are not the least bit interested in rectifying the shanty town situation, but are continuing to use resources to pander to the situation in exchange for potential votes.

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stillwaters 1 year, 2 months ago

An even bigger problem is brewing on this island. I can read the signs of a huge showdown between locals and illegals. Don't know why our government is not seeing this.....obviously these fires are being set. Locals taking it into their own hands, since our government just seems lost in denial. Sigh...........

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

BIG sigh!!!! Gubment remind me of the poor surrey horses plodding Shirley Bay Street with blinders on. They don't get being proactive......

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My2centz 1 year, 2 months ago

Or it could be a Mud resident, again. A Haitian-Bahamian on social media today quoted an African proverb (so he said): "The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel it's warmth". I'm not making any accusations toward anyone of course.

But the laid back attitudes and promotion of entitlements that don't exist has to end. Otherwise, these people who feel disenfranchised, rightfully or not, and led by Fred Smith will begin to act out in ways the Bahamian public is not prepared for.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 2 months ago

This is what happens when we, the Bahamian people, have a feckless Minister of Immigration (Symonette) and even more feckless PM (Minnis). The pandering by our politicians to voters of Haitian descent, the vast majority of whom acquired Bahamian citizenship through illegal means of one kind or another, must stop. The Haitianization of the Bahamas is our number one imminent national security threat and Minnis (and Symonette) seem quite willing to ignore this most obvious fact notwithstanding the horrible plight it poses for all other 'true' Bahamians.

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John 1 year, 2 months ago

Bahamians must realize that migration and illegal immigration are worldwide problems and not just exclusive to the Bahamas and with Haitian people. Italy has over 600,000 illegal immigrants, most of whom are from Africa. Then there is the millions who have left Syria and The neighboring country and flooding down into European countries. And whenever a country has better living standards or more labor opportunities than its surrounding neighbors, persons will trickle into that country. The keys to stemming the problem is (1) To keep the citizenship register sterile and free from having counterfeit names added. (2) Not to let or allow persons (or their offspring) who enter the country illegally, migrate from being illegal to having status. And actions to remove the illegals from the country must be swift and decisive. The longer they stay the more rights they will assume to have. And there must be some penalties beyond repatriation for repeat offenders. Either jail time increasing fines or both.

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birdiestrachan 1 year, 2 months ago

I am sorry for persons who have lost their homes. The Bahamas is going into a dangerous zone created and driven by rights Bahamas in the drivers seat. Political parties well do well to learn not to take undisclosed donations from Satan and Mad and crazy people.

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Reality_Check 1 year, 2 months ago

You and your PLP political friends had better stop feeling sorry for illegal Haitians and start feeling sorry for Bahamians, many of whom now live in misery because of the toll illegal immigration has taken on our country's very limited financial resources.

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TigerB 1 year, 2 months ago

I hope we don't see any more construction....or if we do let's hope its done with building code, now for sure the police and immigration better keep an eye on that empty space, anything new pop up it would be time to investigate...

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

In order to build a dwelling one NORMALLY has to purchase land, at least if your are Bahamian!

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 2 months ago

"...between 35 to 40 structures are estimated to have been destroyed ..."

Gotta love that word "structures."

Bahamians are suffering genocide...and loving every minute of it.

If someone could figure out where Haitians get money from, that would be a start to understanding the problem.

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

Much money comes from illegal business in illegal shanty towns. They have more shops than you can find in the mall!

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TheMadHatter 1 year, 2 months ago

DDK....maybe a smart Bahamian can open an office that assists other Bahamians in applying for Haitian citizenship. He/she could make a LOT of money with application fees - because more and more Bahamians are waking up to the advantages that Haitian citizenship provides.

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zemilou 1 year, 2 months ago

A tragedy of grand proportions - the fire, the discussion by many of Haitians being "the other," and our nation's inability to come up with functional policies for addressing the "Haitian problem."

I wonder how many of us commenting here have and/or do utilize Haitians as as laborers - both those here legally and the undocumented?!

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SP 1 year, 2 months ago

Haitians are burning down their own shanty's and why not? Minnis promised to assist them to rebuild so why shouldn't they.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 2 months ago

U may just be right .......... free land, duty free building supplies and social services to take care of them while they wait.......... smt

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joeblow 1 year, 2 months ago

Bahamians need to march down Bay Street en masse and demand that our government does not:

1) amend the constitution re: immigration in any way,

2) withdraw the unconstitutional citizenships that have been given to unqualified Haitian children (regardless of age) and give those persons an opportunity to get their Haitian passports from their embassy and leave the country or

3) start to systematically confiscate their goods and properties as proceeds of crime!

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Sickened 1 year, 2 months ago

Many of these Haitian's send home more money that the average Bahamian earns. Then they cry poor mouth and want handouts. I ain't for dat!

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DDK 1 year, 2 months ago

I believe that much of the funds sent to Haiti is used to cover the passage in the sloops to our Islands. The money institutions that do the transfers are making a killing!

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bogart 1 year, 2 months ago

Govt services utilized, police, fire services, social services for continuing fires and devestation....possible asthma problems, toxic air pollution, exposed holes with faeces etcetc....why keep spending money to support what is a clearly illegal act..with ...VAT taxpayers money ....an Dr. Sands needs beds for PMH an morgues and supploes ......

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Tricyzshop 1 year, 2 months ago

It appears that there are vices that are employing unconventional tactics as a solution to an unrelenting problem.

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