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Demolition Ban ‘Must Be Lifted’ – Minnis Orders Ag: Get Shanty Town Order Thrown Out

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Attorney General Carl Bethel.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and Attorney General Carl Bethel.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has instructed Attorney General Carl Bethel to petition the court to lift a standing injunction that prohibits the government from demolishing shanty towns in the country.

Dr Minnis said these unregulated communities need to be removed as they pose imminent health risks.

This is the second time this month the prime minister told the House of the Assembly of the government’s policies to deal with shanty towns.

On October 2, he announced that the attorney general had been instructed to compulsorily acquire land where the Mudd, Pigeon Peas and Sand Banks once stood. At the time, Dr Minnis stressed that the government was intent on returning law and order to the country. 

“It is essential that we have all within our boundaries live in proper, safe accommodation,” the Killarney MP said yesterday. “That is the government’s responsibility to ensure the safety of its people and all within its domain.

“Therefore, it is mandatory that we remove all shanty towns within our territory. They break our laws. They are unsafe. They are unhealthy. They’re a health risk and they are unhygienic and therefore I will ask the attorney general to return to court and ask that the injunction be lifted.

“It’s essential, Mr Speaker, that we save lives. With these orders we want Bahamians and residents to know that a life threatening event is possible and you should move to preserve life and to spare lives.”

Following the House of Assembly, formal communication was sent to Mr Bethel to begin the process, The Tribune was told.

Dr Minnis’ latest announcement will likely trigger rebuke from human rights activists as was the case with his instruction to compulsorily acquire shanty town land.

Rights Bahamas has said the organisation would not relent in taking legal action over the move, branding it “xenophobic and petty”.

A little over two weeks ago, the local human rights watchdog said if this means fighting tooth and nail throughout the courts and up to the Privy Council to prevent a “terrible abuse of power,” then it was fully prepared to do so.

According to Mr Bethel, acquiring the land is expected to be a lengthy process.

“Matters are sort of in abeyance because of the condition of Mr (Fred) Smith,” Mr Bethel told The Tribune earlier this month.

Mr Smith survived a near fatal paragliding accident in Italy that required five-hour surgery last month. He had been paragliding in the Dolomite Mountains of the Italian Alps, when an accident led to him dislocating and shattering his left ankle, breaking his left tibia, dislocating and slicing his right ankle and breaking two vertebrae.

Mr Bethel continued: “We are speaking with a representative, his counsel over here, seeking to clear away what we call interlocutory matters. There are some applications for discovery documents and things like that so we’re trying to in a sense get the nod to go ahead and have those matters heard in Smith’s absence, which you know he is lead counsel so it depends on what he says.

“This is the shanty town case and so there are some interlocutory matters that need to be cleared out so that we can set it down for a date for trial. That’s what we’re trying to do.”

Rights Bahamas has said the government could not just use Hurricane Dorian as an excuse to take away property rights of people who once called those unregulated communities home.

Following the monster storm’s passage, the Minnis administration issued a six-month prohibition ban for all Abaco shanty towns.

However, Rights Bahamas said the order should not have only been directed at those areas.

In August 2018, the Supreme Court allowed an injunction barring the Minnis administration from moving ahead with its August 10, 2018 eviction deadline for unregulated New Providence communities.

The court also ordered government and utility providers to halt any planned service disconnections or evictions in shanty towns pending a judicial review of the Minnis administration’s policy to eradicate those communities.

Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson at the time granted the interlocutory injunction blocking evictions and service disconnections just days ahead of the government’s 2018 deadline during a telephone conference with human rights attorney Fred Smith, QC, and Mr Bethel.

Comments

The_Oracle 9 months, 3 weeks ago

What does the Hippocratic oath say first and foremost? “primum non nocere” Do No Harm? A Man without ethics is no man at all.

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joeblow 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Just change the law concerning shanty towns to make demolitions legal dimwits and the courts will have no choice but to agree!!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Plenty of lip service by Minnis and Bethel but where are the weekly deportation flights to Haiti necessary to free ourselves of the many thousands of illegal Haitian aliens???!!!

And while Minnis and Bethel are taking their sweet time deporting illegal Haitain aliens, many hundreds more are arriving in the Bahamas each week to take advantage of the very illegal regularization process that is has been ongoing for weeks now whereby our corrupt government has mandated the immigration department to give a residency permit of one kind or another to every single illegal Haitain alien that shows up at their doors.

Sadly fellow 'true' Bahamians, we have been getting nothing but "double speak" from the likes of Minnis, Bethel, Henfield, Johnson and Campbell in an effort to appease us. These diabolical politicians are obviously not walking their own talk, but rather working hard behind the scenes to grant residency status of one kind or another to the many thousands of illegal Haitian aliens who have been sucking heavily on our economy for decades now.

The only illegal Haitian aliens our government has deported since Hurricane Dorian are those known to have committed criminal offenses either while illegally here in the Bahamas or before they illegally arrived here from Haiti. We are once again being duped by our very own government that prefers to listen to the human rights groups and the very foolish likes of the clergy leadership of the Anglican and Cathoilic churches in the Bahamas. We are under seige and none of these idiots are doing a damn thing but giving the invasion plenty of lip service.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Our very corrupt Minnis-led FNM government has only reported 112 illegal Haitian aliens deported since Dorian. This is absurd! Hubert Minnis, Carl Bethel, Darren Henfield, Johnson and Campbell don't dare tell us 'true' Bahamians how many illegal Haitian aliens have been wrongfully "regularized" since Dorian, i.e. given official papers by our department of immigration, so that they can wrongfully escape deportation. Why are these most deceitful politicians telling 'true' Bahamians one thing in public while doing an entirely different thing behind their backs??!! What's happening here is treasonous, nothing but a defiant betrayal of all 'true' Bahamians.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The political careers of Hubert Minnis, Darren Henfield, Elsworth Johnson, Frankie Campbell and Carl Bethel will speedily come to an end if they continue providing only lip service to our country's illegal alien problem. The vast majority of Bahamians want to see evidence of sustained round ups and deportations, with regular monthly reporting of the actual numbers deported. In addition to reporting the total number deported each month, the government should also report the total number rounded up for the month as well as the the total number of new arrivals intercepted and apprehended at sea by the RBDF. All of this information should be published monthly in The Tribune and the Nassau Guardian so that we, the Bahamian people, know that our government is actually enforcing our immigration laws and not just giving us the kind of lip service we have been receiving for decades. And Turnquest should be able show in our country's national budgets and financial statements the taxpayers' funds annually set aside and annual spent on rounding up, intercepting and deporting illegal aliens.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Someone told me a shouting radio talk show imbecile by the name of Darold Miller or Darrell Millar (sp?) was calling for all illegal Haitian aliens throughout the Bahamas to quickly visit our immigration department where they would be guaranteed to receive official papers evidencing that they have been "regularized" and thereby escape deportation. Just who does this radio talk show idiot think he is??!! Or does he know something the vast majority of us 'true' Bahamians haven't been told by the very corrupt Minnis-led FNM government?

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My2centz 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The argument that they "have no where to go", should never have been accepted the first go round. Just recently, many Bahamians who stopped paying their mortgages were evicted from their homes that some lived in for over a decade. No eviction ban was ordered, and there was no consideration for where they would go. A mother and daughter was subsequently arrested for B&E when they unlawfully entered to retrieve their belongings. Why is it so hard to apply the law when it comes to Haitian/Haitian descent?

Like these mortage holders, most ( as confirmed by Minnis' administration) are legal and gainfully employed. $58 million sent to Haiti in 2018, tells me they can also afford to live at a higher standard. Therefore, they should have go where everyone else goes when they are evicted from their homes. Either live with relatives, rent an apartment or get a mortgage. And the few not legally in tge countty should be deported. Case closed.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Your last sentence wrongfully implies that there are only a few illegal Haitian aliens in our country. That's simply not true. There are many thousands of them, and even thousands more who have fraudulently obtained falsified paper work of one kind or another from corrupt immigration officials and other corrupt government officials. We are talking tens of thousands - not a few!

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My2centz 9 months, 3 weeks ago

I'm sure. But I'm going by their "in depth" shanty town report in 2018, that concluded there was only 1400 mostly legal and employed persons of Haitian descent in shanty towns across Nassau; and 3,000 (I believe) in Abaco and less than that in other islands. If they really believed that, this means that far less ten thousand Haitians sending $58 mil to Haiti. If I round way up to 10,000, that's almost $6,000 additional per household that could have gone toward decent housing. This would have made a compelling argument against "where would they go". But it's very likely that report was just a smokescreen used to downplay the reality of the situation.

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BahamaPundit 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Why is it considered xenophobic to remove illegal shantytowns? Xenophobia is defined as dislike of or prejudice against people from other countries. So, their logic is that because Haitian culture promotes illegal construction of shantytowns, our laws are hateful of Haitians. What if it was Haitian culture to sacrifice people. Would stopping this practice also be called xenophobic? We need to find a middle, common ground with Rights Bahamas. We must at least both agree that shantytowns are wrong and not desirous, healthy or legal. From this middle ground we can start a discourse.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 9 months, 3 weeks ago

The very disingenious accusations of being xenophobic are nothing but a ruse or red herring designed to distract weaker minds from the most serious problem plaguing our small nation today - the invasion of the Bahamas by overwhelming and unsustainable numbers of illegal Haitian aliens. 'True' Bahamians know that such accusations should be allowed to fall on deaf ears because of our God-given right and duty to protect for ourselves and future generations of 'true' Bahamians our heritage, culture, standard of living and overall quality and way of life. That's the patriotic thing for all of us 'true' Bahamians to do and we need to make sure all of our elected government officials understand that they were elected by the Bahamian people to represent the interests of the Bahamian people. It's as simple as that.

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TalRussell 9 months, 3 weeks ago

As the prime minister's Sheriff Johnstone the AG will soon discover that arming he self with no more than being a mere Queen's Counsel who swooped "former PLP men's" off the street for prosecution is about discover that even in his weaken health position the AG', armed with no trial resume than have been charging after one of such greater professional importance as the most respected among his learned colleagues - the comrade King's Counsel, yes, no ....

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The_Oracle 9 months, 3 weeks ago

And who created the problem in the first place? and who has created the xenophobia? They are one and the same, tho the names may change. And we elect them without scrutiny or question.

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TalRussell 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Ma comrade Oracle, the politically appointed AG Carl Wilshire is not good way to determine electability, being constituents after constituents - have consistently rejected his candidacy, yes, no .... Although often accused of engaging in political sabatourage, but you just can't make such political rejection up ....

...

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truetruebahamian 9 months, 3 weeks ago

Right! Thank you for putting your foot down on the rule of law and our country. Those who are soft hearted must realise that those soft hearts will be tramped by smiling anybody and everybody that wants to soft shoe over your Bahamian land and your hard worked and taxed dollar. It has been done for centuries. I am someone descended from the Eleutheran Adventurerrs and have seen first hand the sad erosion of principles and honour. I hope for some reversion to sanity, principle, understanding and following of our constitution and laws, also our unique way of life which cannot and should not be eroded by hard or soft hearts.

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Altalk 9 months, 3 weeks ago

All I want them to do is put a ban on work permits and even don't renew work permits for most of them.. That will send a message... All this talk is getting us no where

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