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'Shanty Clean-Up Has To Happen'

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

Attorney General Carl Bethel.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel said it can’t be argued that removing debris from Abaco’s destroyed shanty towns violates a Supreme Court injunction.

He was responding to attorney Fred Smith who noted in a recent letter that the government is restrained from demolishing any building or interfering with shanty town residents’ enjoyment of land until the legal dispute over the land has been adjudicated.

Mr Bethel said in a letter to Mr Smith: “There is certainly no cause to complain that any plans to remove the debris from the destruction caused by the hurricane in any way shape or form constitutes any violation of the injunction, and there is power under both the Environmental Health Services Act and the Buildings Regulations Act to accomplish this.

“As you would be aware, in addition to environmental concerns caused by the deposit of noxious substances and other pollutants into the environment, there is the real prospect that human remains are located among the debris and rubble. These remains have to be located, recovered and processed according to the highest international and humanitarian standards.

“Further in this regard, you might wish to note (Section 11) of the BRA in particular, which specifically provides for the minister (with responsibility for works) to have ‘special emergency powers’ to demolish and remove structures made irreparably dangerous due to the occurrence of ‘flood, fire, hurricane or any other disaster,’ subject only to preserving valuable contents for the owners of such premises (to the extent such salvage is possible without endangering the safety of anyone).”

Mr Smith had criticised the government’s order prohibiting building in Abaco’s shanty towns, saying that not only must such an order be made pursuant to the Planning and Subdivision Act, but that the order must comply with a mandated Land Use Plan, something that does not exist for Abaco.

“We do not think it necessary to devote too much time to this issue, as you concede in your letter that the terms of the injunction in any event contains what is tantamount to a no-build provision in respect of the affected islands,” Mr Bethel wrote. “Thus, even in the absence of the S. 24(I)(b) zoning order under the Planning and Subdivision Act, the applicants are restrained from constructing, erecting or altering any further any further buildings or structures on the lands otherwise than in accordance with the BRA. However, please be aware that we do not necessarily accept your analysis of the provisions of the PSA in relation to this matter.”

Mr Smith had also raised concerns about the government’s intention to compulsorily acquire the shanty town land, noting the government does not have an unfettered ability to acquire area. He said land should be acquired for reasons that fit a “public purpose,” of which “eradicating people from land based on their immigration status or ethnicity is plainly not.”

Mr Bethel, however, said a public purpose is defined as “any purpose authorised by Parliament,” adding that case law shows Parliament’s authorisation of an acquisition is not justiciable, notwithstanding any challenge to the move.

For his part, Mr Smith said not only does Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ actions “heed the cry of the lynch mob” instead of valuing the law and demonstrating Christian compassion, but the prime minister should also stop “inflaming the (fumes) of violence in so many forms against our clients.”

“Even allowing for your usual incursion into sensation and incendiary language,” Mr Bethel replied, “this is an extremely irresponsible statement. With the greatest of respect, there are and have never been any lynch mobs in the Bahamas, and the metaphorical reference trivialises the serious historical injustice done to people of colour in the United States and elsewhere. Further, it is extremely irresponsible of you, and borders on defamatory, to charge the prime minister with ‘inflaming the fuels of violence in so many forms against our clients.’ In this regard, we challenge you to produce one example where the prime minister or any other government official for that matter has encouraged violence against your clients or any other group of persons.”

“You might also wish to note that the same prime minister you are lambasting has also just announced plans to build a $6.4 million family relief facility in Abaco, and it is very likely that many of the ‘clients’ you mention will also benefit from this proposal.”

Comments

OriginalBey 1 month ago

Drop that law on Smith! He is clearly blinded by his singular agenda to make the Bahamas a home for illegals. He is a QC which is no small accomplishment. So we all know he knows better.

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Chucky 1 month ago

“These remains have to be located, recovered and processed according to the highest international and humanitarian standards.”

Just about fell out of my chair laughing!

What in the Bahamas, has ever, I mean ever , been done to the highest international standard?

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Sickened 1 month ago

The drug trade? We did pretty good with that. Norman's Cay says it all. Best in class that was.

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stillwaters 1 month ago

It's just so refreshing to see somebody standing up to Smith instead of being intimidated by him and awesome use of legal language.

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My2centz 1 month ago

"...the prime minister should also stop “inflaming the (fumes) of violence in so many forms against our clients.”

Fred Smith is such a delusional intigator. He is the one fanning fumes by telling people they are entitled to what they are not, while speaking down to and outright telling lies on Bahamians. When have Haitians ever been on the receicing end of violence from Bahamians? When has any government or PM prioritized Bahamians over Haitian?

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mandela 1 month ago

Lynch Mob in the Bahamas? Fred Smith is very ignorant if there is anyone causing a problem here it's him, apparently he is confusing the Bahamas with Haiti.

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BahamaPundit 1 month ago

Finally, the Government talking sense.

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Cas0072 1 month ago

Not surprised at more tone deaf commentary from yet another Jamaican. As a reminder, the deported Haitian immigrants don't need to go to Haiti. Can't Jamaica share the milk of human kindness with Haiti and receive those eligible for deportation? History tells us the answer is no, but it has been 10 years now since Jamaica very coldly deported Haitians back to earthquake ruins. People change. Time to make amends. It was The Bahamas, not Haiti, but The Bahamas that recently experienced a natural disaster of epic proportions.

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

  1. They were heading north and a wind blew them south

http://www.ipsnews.net/2010/04/jamaic...">http://www.ipsnews.net/2010/04/jamaic... I can't deny the facts. However, there is a difference. We teh Jamaican people are not obsessed with being superior to a set of people who for one reason or another are always in some tribulation. We pity but we don't hate

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Cas0072 1 month ago

You cannot be serious. The thing that is most detestable about Jamaicans is your arrogance and the condescending ways in which you interact with Bahamians in The Bahamas. The only saving grace is that for all the superiority you all claim to have in every got damn thing, it is comical that so many of you hypocrites will hightail it out of Jamaica if given the chance.

Secondly, it doesn't matter where they were headed. They often wind up in The Bahamas while headed for the US. Same difference. The fact remains you all sent them back citing the same reasons cited by The Bahamas and any other sovereign nation whereally people migrate illegally. The difference is The Bahamas made humanitarian exceptions due to the tragedy in HaitI then and on other occasions. Jamaica did not. The Bahamas is recovering from a natural disaster of its own and Jamaicans have the gall to comment about kindness.

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

Well people all over the world migrate for varying. reasons. Nothing to apologise. You don't collect money and aid under the guise of disaster and round up and deport those it most affected. Including those who were born there and maybe eligible for some residency.

Jamaicans don't act superior to anyone. However we will not allow you to dehumanize us or intimidate us as you do Haitians. The government did what it felt it had to do but the tone of the people are different. This foolish obsession that the ills of a country can be fixed, by immigration obsession is laughable.

You support the erosion of the rights of Haitians not knowing the government will use the same dictatorial powers to grab your neighborhood when the Chinese demand it.

Fact is you Al have a Haitian problem because you want them there to cut your grass etc, because you all thing certain work is beneath you. Now if u bring men to work and they can't fraternize with Bahamian women then they will import their own and breed up. So hold the Doc responsible in a humane way.

BTW. I am sailing in on a boat called, L'Overture. Who is gonna welcome me?

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Cas0072 1 month ago

You are losing it. The guise of disaster? Hurricane Dorian did not happen then? The aid money is being used to assist all of the victims regardless of status. With the majority of those in shelters being Haitians or of Haitian descent, they most certainly are benefitting from the donations. Who is going to pay the Bahamas back for the decades of providing government services to Haitians regardless of status? The relief money is just that. It is not to be used used to manipulate immigration laws to the detriment of The Bahamas or to hold the country hostage. There is nothing stopping any organization or so called humanitarians from assisting Haitians exclusively or showing how they will provide for them if the government were to put a halt to immigration. Adding to the unemployment total and taking full financial responsibility for illegal and out of work immigrants is insane. Once again, you soapbox lunatics are quick to demand from this country what yours will never do.

Different attitude is correct. Jamaicans tend to be a bunch of know it alls who know nothing, but will still try to speak with arrogance and authority. The grandiose tales about a near perfect place called Jamaica is laughable. The Bahamas has a Haitian problem because of the US dollar ratio and their peers who make the illegal voyages possible. Did the Haitian consulate ever resume operations in Jamaica? Maybe you can hop over there on your boat to find out, but beware, Haiti also has immigration laws.

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My2centz 1 month ago

@Jamaicaproud I'm convinced you are either high or drunk when you type your nonsense on here. But on the other hand, most Jamaicans I've met are like you: arrogant and very self unaware. You have the answers for all the societal ills in other countries. Meanwhile Jamaica competes with Haiti, for the sh:thole title of the Caribbean. It's because Jamaica is too far gone economically, socially, politically and humanity left your country when started killing people for being "unJamaican", i.e gay or repatriated. But we're supposed to believe you care about Haitians?

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

Jamaica land we love. Fairer isle my eyes have never seen. I have no answers. Just point out hatred. You can throw your insults. You and this gay thing, why r u hung up on it.

I don't smoke or drink sir. My mind is filled with Clarity. Don't let me bring up the crime stats again. Have you ever been to the Rock? Naw. You are filled with hate. Listen to your nonsense, Jamaicans are arrogant and self unaware. Do you want us to bow and say, yes sah?

Anyway you have a great evening

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My2centz 1 month ago

Your mind is clear and yet you spew nothing but drivel? You can possess an infinite pride in Jamaica but facts remain: Jamaicans are not humanitiarians and Jamaica is a lost cause. And apparently you see it to, because you would point out the extreme hatred of your fellow countrymen instead, but you dont. And I'm not obsessed with gay people but in my eyes they are people too. I know you don't agree, but they really are.

So which of us is really the hateful one?

I don't have hate for anyone, i simply dont condone hypocrisy. And even though its written word, it not hatd to hear that condescending Jamaican accent of yours. I spoke only facts, but ifvyou found it offensive perhaps some self awareness is in order.

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

Lol man I ain't hate no one, I ain't that sensitive either. Won't get into an inter island slugfest. You will will, what with 700 islands and keys. Jamaica has a bunch of batty men and no one bothers them

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My2centz 1 month ago

So what exactly are you doing on this site if not engaging in an "inter-island slugfest"? As if we're going to pretend along with you that JA is, what it isnt. I won't pretend the "batty men" (human beings) run into hiding in the mountains for no reason. And that 11 repatriated were not killed this year alone, before the official count stopped.

Haitians are not running to Bahamas for a piece of land to toil. They can do that in Haiti and be more fruitful with their native soil. They run to share in, but not contribute, to an economy, that cannot sustain them...same reason as Jamaicans.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 month ago

Carl Bethel now needs to get on with dismantling all barriers that exist to the proper enforcement of our immigration laws. He should start by immediately instigating a full blown investigation of the obvious corruption that exists within the department of immigration, as well as other government departments known to be involved in the fraudulent issuance of documents to illegal aliens, e.g. birth certificates, marriage certificates, passports, etc. Certain of our more senior government officials have become filthy rich from their involvement in facilitating the trafficking of humans, especially Haitian and Jamaican nationals. All of this corruption must be rooted out in order to stop or at least sigificant reduce the pace at which our country is being invaded by illegal aliens.

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jamaicaproud 1 month ago

So now u have added Jamaicans to your hogwash? KMT. You are a sicko. Instead of watching the political crooks, you are obsessed with Haitians. Well when your ancestors stole and stole and piled up, you have time on your hands to talk nonsense

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Ton_Heijnmans 1 month ago

Best for these absoluut b`stards is ....

.... they spent the entire winter rounding up all dem Hate'nem types...

... next August... not a single Hate'nem left. Totally successful.

Then Storm Garret arrives the following month...... and deletes these ones off the face of the earth for ever more.

Leaves only that Raggedy islet place untouched. _

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Economist 1 month ago

Both the AG and Mr Smith are correct.

The Shanty Towns must be cleaned up. In many countries they would be called slums. No country should permit such places.

We do need proper planning of land use in Abaco. So the Government needs to proceed with that with all haste.

In may well be that no building should be allowed in those areas, but then only proper planning could tell us that.

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mckenziecpa 1 month ago

Well Mudda filthy rich is a stretch

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