PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell.
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE government’s proposed census of shanty town communities could be slowed by persons within the Minnis administration, according to Progressive Liberal Party Chairman Senator Fred Mitchell, who on Friday suggested the promises made by the government before the 2017 election could limit its “political will.”
Mr Mitchell in a statement to The Tribune on Friday, said Labour Minister Dion Foulkes will soon test the limits of “political reality” when he attempts to raze shanty towns across the country.
Mr Mitchell further insisted that if Mr Foulkes is indeed serious about his plans, there will come a point where he may very well have to “fight his own party."
On Wednesday, Mr Foulkes, who is chairman of the government-appointed shanty town committee, revealed 11 teams were being trained ahead of a census exercise in all 11 shanty towns spread across the capital. It is expected to begin Saturday in New Providence.
He said the intention was for the government to glean an understanding of the demographics involved as it moves to clean up the capital and more broadly the country.
In response Friday, Mr Mitchell said the pronouncements and most of what Mr Foulkes has done with the committee in recent weeks, has made him “laugh out loud.”
“Sound and fury signifying nothing,” Mr Mitchell said.
“There is nothing new under the sun. The PLP has been there and done that,” continued Mr Mitchell. “He will have to fight his own party when the action hits the fan and the push back comes from migrant communities and their allies in the country, the phoney human rights activists.
“The fact that at least one of those activists believes that he bought the election for the FNM will make it doubly difficult.”
The former Fox Hill MP added: “We shall see whether the political will is really there to do this given what the FNM promised the shanty town community in order to get their support in the last election. The chickens will come home to roost.”
Mr Mitchell said what is required to adequately address the immigration crisis is not “ministerial histrionics,” but rather a “solid multi-disciplinary programme” Inclusive of conversations with the Bahamian public about what it will really cost and why for public health and national security it must be done.
The government’s shanty town committee, has toured many of the shanty towns in the Bahamas and has narrowed down who the Bahamian landowners are.
While there is no clear indication at this point when the exercise will be completed in New Providence, the minister said census officials will focus their attention on the Family Islands when this is done.
The committee last Sunday toured the Farm Lands, Sand Banks, the Mud and Pigeon Peas shanty towns in Abaco where they got a sobering picture of the urgent need to overhaul these areas.