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Shanty Town Families Mostly ‘Legal’

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister.

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Senior Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

WORKS Minister Desmond Bannister said people with work permits – not illegal residents – are largely the occupants of a shanty town in North Andros targeted for government demolition.

The government is expected to take legal action against residents that have not vacated the area that has been built on land intended for agricultural use.

Mr Bannister told reporters before a Cabinet meeting yesterday that he visited North Andros last week and encountered about 40 to 50 illegally constructed homes.

“Some of these homes are actually on people’s farms and so when you go where these houses are, right next to it you see the cultivation of the people who have their work permits. So, while we would like to think there are simple solutions to this, these are problems that have been in the making for many, many decades,” he said, adding that three sites were visited.

“There were maybe 40, 50 homes and most of them have been there for a very long time, many, many, many years.”

“Most of those people have been in The Bahamas for many years so it is not a simple solution of a lot of illegal immigrants. It’s an issue of people getting permits, of being farm workers and their employers not being required to account for where they live.”

He added: “It’s a very complex socio-economic situation in Andros and these are issues that will have to be addressed by a number of government agencies. What you have is a fairly medium sized group of non-Bahamians, many of whom are on work permits. They are working in communities, but they don’t live in those communities and people have been getting work permits and leaving them to fend for themselves. There’s also been some illegals, but not as many.

“There has to be comprehensive solutions based on giving people work permits. And if someone gets a work permit over the years governments have not been concerned about them finding homes for the people who work for them. So, you have farmers in Andros and they have all these people working for them, many of them, but they apply for work permits and there is no holding them accountable for where these people live. It’s a very complex socio-economic challenge. I’m making some suggestions to Cabinet and we’ll see how we work through those solutions.”

Agriculture, Marine Resources and Fisheries Minister Michael Pintard has said the number of people living in the informal communities has dwindled since the beginning of the year but the government is determined to remove the illegal structures.

A notice for occupants to vacate the land expired on March 5, 2020, Mr Pintard said.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 1 year ago

It's not that complex. Who gave them the permission to build the structure? Did the plans go into town planning for approval?

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mandela 1 year ago

There is and should be no excuses, if foreigners can freely occupy OUR LAND THEN SO CAN WE. POINT BLANK.

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joeblow 1 year ago

It they have work permits that means they have jobs. If they have jobs they can pay rent and inject money into the local economy!

If they violate the law by building illegally their work permits should be revoked and they should be repatriated!

Why does government make everything so complicated?

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UN 1 year ago

People are acting as though every little bit of money these people earn goes to Haiti (and helping out fellow humans is a problem? Dorian?? Trump help us and then we will stay permanently). I’m PROUDLY of Haitian descent and was raised poor. We didn’t have a car or a phone, but 80% of the money my parents earned went towards food (thankfully never went to bed hungry - either parent would shop weekly and come back with a trolley filled with food). We never traveled, so they shopped here for school items and clothing (no going to Florida to help a 22 trillion economy).

Work permits add up to $60 million per year (according to Brent Symonette). They also have to eat and need clothing, so they are contributing. No pleasing some people - reminds me of the other side of the whole ‘foreigners taking our land’ thing (during bad times we want foreigners to live here - inject $ into our economy but during good times amnesia sets in and we resent them for living well).

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Purpose_ 1 year ago

Not only I am proud Bahamian but also an Androsian and PROUD!!! And also grew up poor (what’s your point) I mean outside toilet wooden house fall down built on post poor where all the rooms were in one. So as a proud Androsian it is wrong and unacceptable for the mere fact that I can never build a house in Haiti by just having a work permit ( I don’t like when you insult our intelligence) not only is not fair but I resent it.

No one said they can work here but do it the right way because today it’s 50 houses then tomorrow it’s 1000 then we have a mud. It’s not sanitary; it’s 2020 and why they don’t learn to adapt other people’s culture especially when you want/need to live on the land. So ‘biggety’. There apartments in Andros; I know lived there all my life. And yet can’t get a piece of crown land and this is acceptable. Foolishness!

It was never a matter of hate but respect.

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themessenger 1 year ago

@UN, you hit it right on the head. Bahamians will never get over their xenophobia of all things foreign and their hatred and discrimination towards Haitians and Jamaicans in particular. Foreigners in this country, particularly white ones, are only good for one thing in our estimations, free lunch or handouts, gimmie sumptin or what you gat fah me. An after you done gimmie what I want carry ya ass. Lazy Bahamians think that menial labor is beneath them for the most part and won't even contemplate performing many of the tasks carried out by the Haitians, in fact, the construction industry in the Bahamas would have collapsed years ago if it weren't for Haitian labor. Bahamians, particularly those in Nassau, have preyed on the Haitian community for decades, robbing and exploiting them at every turn, we covet the little bit that they have while cheating and stealing from each other as well. The Bahamas long ago became a Nation of bigots, beggars, and thieves.

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tribanon 1 year ago

Desmond Bannister must think all of us were born yesterday. But it's common knowledge that for decades now certain corrupt immigration officials have achieved quite a comfortable living by pocketing the illegal sale of initial work permits and work permit renewals to illegal aliens for a reasonable cash price.

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JokeyJack 1 year ago

Maybe a BETTER law to amend, would be to ALLOW Bahamians to get work permits (even though we don't really need them). Just make it so that you can apply and if you indicate on the form that you are a Bahamian and you provide documents like passport etc to prove your citizenship THEN you can get a work permit.

That would be great because myself and many other poor Bahamians would be allowed to go out and build houses here and there and we can fall under the category of "...and their employers not being required to account for where they live.”

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