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Deadline 'Gives Shanty Town Residents Time To Move'

Frankie Campbell, Minister of Transport and Local Government outside Cabinet. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

Frankie Campbell, Minister of Transport and Local Government outside Cabinet. Photo: Shawn Hanna/Tribune Staff

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

TRANSPORT and Local Government Minister Frankie Campbell said the July 31, 2018, deadline for the eviction of shanty town residents gives ample time for those in the community to find alternative housing.

Noting the substandard conditions in these communities, Mr Campbell, whose mother is Haitian, praised the work of the government. He said this was needed to eradicate a “parallel” society, which existed for far too long.

“I am pleased that the process the government initiated is a collaborative one,” the Southern Shores MP told The Tribune.

“It was not one done in isolation. Persons who are in the community were involved. The Haitian leaders were involved, humanitarians, men and women of the cloth were involved and it seems as if due and timely notice has been given.

“So I am satisfied that they ought not to have been living in those conditions in the first place so I am satisfied that there is a move to take us away from a situation where it appeared that we had two parallel societies existing in The Bahamas.

“I am pleased that we are moving towards proper integration. That is all part and parcel of the overall immigration effort and so I am satisfied that we are going to move and we are going to be successful this time around.”

This comes as Rights Bahamas said it now has evidence to take “constitutional action” against the government over the deadline mandating the eviction of shantytown residents, arguing the decision was discriminatory.

Stephanie St Fleur, president of the activist group, branded the move “ethnic cleansing” saying it contravened certain articles of the Bahamas Constitution.

On Sunday, Ms St Fleur said she was surprised by the news of a deadline; however, Haitian Pastors League President Dr Jean Paul Charles told The Tribune yesterday he had no issues with the deadline because in his view it gives sufficient time for shanty town dwellers to find alternative housing.

He said he had known of the government’s date to vacate since February.

The deadline was first made public in The Tribune’s report of an interview with Labour Minister Dion Foulkes, chairman of the government-appointed shanty town committee.

Dr Charles said the only challenge was some families may find it difficult to financially afford what is required to rent accommodations. This, he said, was raised with government officials. But the Minnis administration has said they are not willing to assist in this regard, Dr Charles said.

Activist Louby Georges took exception to this, saying he doubted the league asked the right questions of the government or effectively communicated the content of meetings with the government to the wider Haitian community, especially those living in the shantytowns.

He said the pastors seem to be more “yes men” than a body looking after the well being of the minority group. Mr Georges told The Tribune he doubted the wider Haitian community knew of the deadline, which is a little more than two months away.

Labour Minister Dion Foulkes announced the government’s planned timeline and further revealed two shanty towns - one in New Providence off Hamster Road, Faith Avenue and another just outside of George Town Exuma – were recently torn down.

Comments

John 1 week ago

So since governments seems to be following a lot of the policies of the former government, including the spy bill, shanty town eradication, crackdown on illegals , which may be a sign of maturity, what about the small homes assistance program? Many persons in Bain and Grants Town and Centerville and Englerston and even in some Family Island communities are living in far worse conditions than those people in the shantytowns. The roofs are caving in on some homes and the floors are completely gone in others. Water and electricity are foreign and, in many cases, persons displaced from the shantytowns will end up in these same communities and the same dwellings.

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joeblow 1 week ago

It also gives government ample time to prepare to process, get in front of a magistrate and repatriate the illegals from those communities. Why am I not hearing about the illegals in those shanty communities, or am I to believe that they were all here legally?

What about the landlords, some of whom have been collecting rent in these hell holes?

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John 1 week ago

If you follow the results of the recent census it reveals that most of the residents in the shanties are residents with status, some on work permits and others are Bahamian. Only a smaller percentage od the shanty town residents are illegals.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 week ago

Nothing here but political show boating by Frankie Campbell. Many of us wish we could give Campbell a period of time within which he must return to his true home country, Haiti.

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Voltaire 1 week ago

Joeblow - did you see the story in today's paper, the majority do "have status"

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TalRussell 1 week ago

Ma Comrades, hate to say it, but this is delusional.This is not way forward the 91,409 voting red shirts 10th May 2017 were expecting their new red shirts government to go about addressing and brungin sensible solutions many grave problems we have in this country...Voters lessons be learned - this is what happens when we elect too much majority from one party's MP's to sit on government's side People's Honourable House of Assembly.... gives them license - too much attitude.

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