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Andros Eviction Threat For 1,800

AGRICULTURE and Marine Resources Minister Michael Pintard.

AGRICULTURE and Marine Resources Minister Michael Pintard.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

RESIDENTS living in structures illegally erected on government land in North Andros have been issued eviction notices, a move that could possibly displace an estimated 1,800 people.

“In all cases we are going to follow the law,” Agriculture and Marine Resources Minister Michael Pintard said yesterday. He confirmed that teams under his purview and on the advice of the Attorney General’s Office issued the notices that gave the residents 30 days to move out. Officials began posting the notices on the shanty town structures and handing them out about one week ago.

Joseph Ferguson, North Andros administrator, told The Tribune it was estimated that about 1,800 people live in two shanty towns in that portion of the island, adding it was time the “law took its course”.

He said Andros residents were concerned that if not dealt with, the situation could mirror that of Abaco, which has several unregulated communities spread across the island. Many of those communities were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian last year. 

Yesterday, Mr Pintard said his ministry was keen on handling the matter carefully, lawfully and intentionally.

“We said that we were going to make a determination if on our evaluation of our lease agreements whether or not any of the government land had persons on it that should not have been there,” Mr Pintard told The Tribune.

“Once the team did an evaluation and got back to me, they indicated that there were in fact persons on government land.  We then reached out to all those persons who we were under the impression they had lease arrangements and where it was determined that they were not honouring the lease or they themselves had concerns that the parcel of land that they were associated with – that others were also on that parcel of land, we immediately then moved upon the advice of the Attorney General’s Office. We moved to issue eviction notices which was within our right under the Ministry of Agriculture and Marine Resources.”

He also said: “These notices were placed on all structures that are on government land. When I directed the land unit to travel to Andros, their remit was simply to look at the land under our care and where persons were occupying it unlawfully to follow the legal guidelines in terms of requesting that there aren’t any illegal structures and that they are removed.”

Asked whether it was found that leases for these parcels of land had been issued for farming purposes, the minister said there were several cases where people had no form of documentation at all for farming.

“In fact there are some who had never applied but they commenced with structures,” he said. “In some cases there were some who actually thought that the lease arrangement of their parents or grandparents or some other relative had been duly executed and we are satisfied in a few cases that they were not duly executed.

“So what you will find is a mixed bag of scenarios that capture different groups of people on government land, but in all cases we are going to follow the law.”

In other cases where there are Bahamians who have been using the land for farming. Mr Pintard said discussions will take place to remedy the situation.

“Naturally for those Bahamians who have been doing farming, but did not have an appropriate lease and presumed that their relatives had a lease, we will no doubt enter into discussions with them to see if there is a remedy to that situation.

“However our first course of action is to draw to their attention that any documentation that has ever been exchanged between them and my predecessors reveals that they do not have a legitimate lease,” Mr Pintard said. 

Mr Ferguson, for his part, said he sympathised with those who call shanty towns in North Andros “home”, but the law should apply to all.

“We are supposed to do this without fear or favour,” he said, “I don’t know why we are skirting around this issue.

“Either we going to do it or we are not going to do it, but ultimately we should let the law take its course.

“. . .We have to act before something serious happens. We have already had the e-coli outbreak here because of unhygienic conditions, so who is to say it won’t get worse? Those who applied for work permits they should be able to build proper structures for their workers, but we just don’t want Andros to have the same kind of issue as Abaco.”

Last month, Mr Pintard said government was looking into whether the E. coli contamination of groundwater in North Andros was due to nearby unregulated communities. These investigations continue.

This comes amid an ongoing judicial review centred on shanty town demolition, that on its last hearing in the Supreme Court, stalled on arguments between Crown lawyers and attorneys representing Respect Our Homes Limited over document disclosures.

ROHL wants the court to grant a request for numerous documents to be submitted, including those that could expose sensitive Cabinet discussions.

This would involve full disclosure of notes memoranda, discussions papers, press releases, consultations and other documents that would form the basis of government’s apparent policy to eradicate shanty towns in the Bahamas.

ROHL represents 177 residents and/or occupants of shanty towns. The matter is back in court later this month.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Why haven't these illegal Haitian aliens been rounded up and deported?

Where is Hubert Minnis? Where is Frankie Campbell? Where is Elsworth Johnson? And what about Darren Henfield!

Why are Minnis, Campbell, Johnson and Henfield cracking their whips with corrupt senior government officials within the immigration department, registry of births, registry of marriages and passport office in an effort to get official papers issued to these illegal Haitian aliens that would allow them to remain in the Bahamas?

The vast majority of these Haitian aliens broke the law by illegally entering our country and therefore, as criminals, should not be entitled to now receive official papers of any kind that would allow them to remain in the Bahamas. By arranging for many of these illegal Haitain aliens to be wrongfully issued with work and other residency-type permits, marriage certificates, etc., Minnis, Campbell, Johnson and Henfield are literally encouraging other Haitians in Northern Haiti to pay thousands of dollars to the human smugglers who then illegally bring them to our shores. This madness must be stopped. STOP GIVING OFFICIAL PAPERS TO THESE ILLEGAL ALIENS AND IMMEDIATELY START ROUNDING THEM UP AND DEPORTING THEM!

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mandela 4 months, 3 weeks ago

ROHL needs to go back to where ever it is they came from. Born in 1960, applied for crown land and up to now still can't get any land and foreigners come here and think they are entitled to our land get the f$$k outta here,

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joeblow 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I can't help but notice how careful he is being in specifically NOT mentioning ILLEGAL Haitian residents in those communities. The government will stomp on the toes of Bahamian citizens, but want to tread lightly around illegal immigrants? This madness has to stop.

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JackArawak 4 months, 3 weeks ago

these clowns ''threatened'' the residents of The Mudd for years, it took Dorian to come along and do their job for them. Those folks in Andros can rest easy.

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TalRussell 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Comrade Minister Michael 'say whaaat' in his firing back after 'by chance' he and his Imperialists red shirts cabinet colleagues - along with out island's locally stationed contingent the colony's Royal Constabulary - did it 'suddenly' come about to discover the existence of a complete shantytown on colony's Out Island of Andros - with estimated - but highly likely be much more - than 1,800 residents and 'illegal dwelling shacks?' Can't write this. Just, can't, why it defies all reasonable logic of human mind that had it not be for but 'chance' - none we would've been reading about this? A community with 1,800+ residents and shacks - constitutionally meets the requirement be classified as being a new Andros Out Island *Voting Constituency, under Elections Act.

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bogart 4 months, 3 weeks ago

NORTH ANDROS ....IS THE NATIONS BREADBASKET........PRODUCING FRUITS, VEGETABLES.....ON THE LARGE FARMLANDS....between old lumber road an highway. Sttetching Nicholls Towm...Mastic ..down.

Now wid illegal shantytoens...some 1800 residents...concentrated ...in the same area...of course they producung human waste daily WITH NO TREATMENT GOVT PLANT TO HANDLE DAILY INCREASING HUMAN WASTE, HUMAN FAECES...INTO THE WATER TABLE WHERE THE FARMLANDS ARE ON CLOSE PROXIMITY.....!!!!!!!!!!!

THE GOVT NEEDS TO have the Ministry of Health explain that the no treatment of human faeces proximity of NATIONS BREADBASKET FARMLANDS...producung, lettuce, green peppers, tomatoes are not contaminated wid E COLI...SAMANELLA...HOST OF OTHER bacteria...etc to the nation. ...and other concerns feral pigs koving in area.....travelling foraging in the area....spreading....poop...going area to area...winds blowing particles....fish conch in waters....

MINISTRY Duane Sands..must ..now certify ..safe or not....all these 1800 persons in UNREGULATED SHANTYTOWN HABITATS.....PPOSE NOT A DANGER TO THEMSELVES...and Others....improper disposal daily of 1800 persons human faeces.... a site for CHOLERA...TYPHOID, WHOLE RANGE OF DISEASES.....FROM HUMAN FAECES ....AND CERTIFY NORTH ANDROS FOOD BASKET FRUITS, TOMATOES, LETTUCE, SPINACH, GREEN PEPPERS, MEATS ETC IS SAFE...!!!!!!!!!...

GOVT needs to Certify that Bahamian farm produce from North Andros farmlands and 1800 people daily producing human faeces in shantytown or bushes where there is NO regulated water treatment plant to safely dispose of 1800 daily human faeces ....THAT NEARBY FARM PRODUCE SOLD IN NASSAU AN ELSEWHERE... is safe for chillrens, adults, grammie, tourists, hotel guests, politicians

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K4C 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Adjusted headlines

Andros Eviction Threat For 1,800 Haitians

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TalRussell 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Do they really think that we're all a bunch Out Islander, stupids?
It just doesn't add up, why just back in October 2019 - the colony's comrade prime minister, had instructed his AG Carl Wilshire to petition the court to lift a standing injunction that prohibits the government from demolishing shanty towns in the country - yet the government, expects PopoulacesOrdinary to believe that the Andros shantytowns, seemingly could've remained hidden off the demolition government's radar? That 1.800 plus warm bodies went about setting up electricity services, built structures, registered address through employers with National Insurance, registered children attend classes at government schools, sought and obtained medical government provided health services and that the mass daily physical movement of 1,800 plus peoples and vehicles on Out Island of Andros, were skillfully calculated to have remained a well-kept secret? Can't write this. Just, can't.

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Bahamianbychoice 4 months, 3 weeks ago

He always seems desperate to gain traction in the FNM... like everything he touches backfires...anyway...

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SP 4 months, 3 weeks ago

Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Mouth can say anything! We will believe it when we see it. Otherwise, it's just more saber-rattling and idle talk for the consumption of gullible fools.

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jackbnimble 4 months, 3 weeks ago

I agree. I'll believe it when I see video footage of these shanty towns being bulldozed.

We gat a major problem on our hands as they are not catching the illegals and all they do is leave one island and head to another. Like roaches and rodents you just can't get rid of them fast enough.

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stillwaters 4 months, 3 weeks ago

We are overlooking the fact that Bahamians hire the illegals in Andros, Bahamians transport them to Andros, and Bahamians sell them building materials. The illegal problem will never be solved until Bahamians are made responsible and face the cconsequences..

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sheeprunner12 4 months, 2 weeks ago

Yep, we create the problem ….. cry wolf ….. and blame the Government when it is not "solved" …….. We are our own worse national enemies

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