EDITOR, The Tribune.
We can sympathise with the plight of Haitians evacuated from Abaco to temporary shelter in Nassau. It is painful for anyone, particularly single-parent families with no back- up resources, to be displaced from a long-time home, even if if it’s nothing more than a shanty without running water.
Yet government will be entirely correct in preventing the return of these people to Abaco, where without insurance they can only rebuild the same slum-like communities. An entirely new system of development must replace what’s been destroyed in The Mudd and similar districts.
As I pointed out in my recent Business Bites column, the present tragedy did not start with the Minnis administration. It stems from immigration policies, or lack thereof, stretching back to Pindling, Ingraham, and Christie, all of whom simply let a growing Haitian population gradually accumulate around Marsh Harbour.
Our governments have had a deplorable habit, when faced with an a threatening crisis, of “kicking the can down the road” instead of stepping in with a tough but timely solution.
Hurricane Dorian shows that the can simply can’t be kicked any further. The crisis has arrived, and now will take long-term money and effort to resettle the Haitians, find them jobs, and create a humane and rational scheme of repatriation to Haiti for those who cannot be integrated into Bahamian economic life.
We wish Prime Minister Minnis courage and good fortune in executing a decisive and imaginative plan to replace years of official waffling.
September 19, 2019.