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‘We’Re Human Too’: Shanty Town Residents Hit Out At Authorities On Tactics Employed In Raid

Aerial photos from last year of suspected unregulated structures in the Farm shanty town, Treasure Cay.

Aerial photos from last year of suspected unregulated structures in the Farm shanty town, Treasure Cay.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

RESIDENTS of The Farm shanty town in Abaco have hit out at what they claimed were heavy-handed tactics carried out during a raid on their community.

Their claims - which the The Tribune has not been able to independently corroborate - cast a shadow over the government’s attempts to stop the spread of unauthorised developments.

Several residents claimed that during the pre-dawn raid last Thursday officers at some point drew their sidearms.

One witness, speaking anonymously to The Tribune, claimed this was in response to him trying to record the raid on his cell phone.

This resident said he “ran for his life” after the officers threatening told him to put his phone away.

Last week’s raid saw law enforcement agencies descending on the shanty town in a joint sting operation, confiscating generators, food supplies, personal items, illegal contraband and arresting several residents for various alleged infractions.

The officers handed out notices of eviction and as the sun began to rise, a 40ft container, flatbed trucks and forklifts moved in.

Yesterday, one woman who only spoke Creole, told The Tribune through her English-speaking young daughter that having received an eviction notice, she has no idea what is next for her family because she has nowhere to go.

She claimed her generator and money were removed from the place she calls home.

Asked about some of the allegations, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Desmond Bannister said he would speak about the operation in Parliament today.

The young male shanty town resident said the community has been left scrambling after last week’s raid.

“I know the Haitians they built on land that there was no permission given to building on, but we still humans,” he said.

“Thursday I would say there were as many as 60 officers. There were just so much of them. When they came, they didn’t come professional like, asking questions or anything, they came with force, pulling weapons and stuff, ransacking things,” he alleged.

“... I ran away for my life I would say because I was trying to record them doing this injustice to people who have nowhere else to go.”

The man said he was born in The Bahamas and has status here, but he lives at The Farm like many Haitians of Bahamian descent.

“On Thursday these people were just digging in our houses and if you were not at home or at work they were going by force in these people house.

“The things that the Red Cross and Samaritan’s Purse gave them and some that they bought on their own like freezers and generators, these people took them away even though the people was providing their receipts for some of the things that they had.”

He insisted there was a better way to deal with the situation, adding that residents would have cooperated.

Another man told The Tribune he viewed the entire ordeal as “inhumane”.

“They chased us for our phones, they broke in people house what wasn’t even home. This is wrong,” he claimed.

In early February, Mr Bannister along with other government officials toured some parts of The Farm. He said it would not be an “overnight fix” but pledged to Abaconians that the government would take the necessary action to deal with unregulated developments on the island.

Aerial surveillance, released by Abaconians earlier that month, showed new construction taking place, with buildings being built more strategically and sturdier than what was seen in the irregular communities pre-Hurricane Dorian.

Following this, the Ministry of Public Works along with other authorities carried out the operation last week.

“The Ministry of Public Works co-ordinated a multi-agency operation, with the assistance and advice of the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF); the Royal Bahamas Defence Force (RBDF); Bahamas Customs Department; the Bahamas Department of Immigration; Bahamas Power and Light (BPL); and private sector partners in the unregulated community known as ‘The Farm’ near to Treasure Cay, Abaco,” a statement issued last week noted.

“The operation resulted in the arrest of illegal immigrants and other persons who are suspected of being involved in various criminal offences; the seizure of suspected stolen goods; and the disconnection of a large quantity of illegally operated generators and gas tanks.

“The illegally constructed access roadways were closed; and signs written in English and Creole were erected. Signs were also posted on illegally erected buildings. The signs warn inhabitants of the legal prohibition of any new construction, and of the intention of the government to demolish all of the illegally constructed buildings.

“The Royal Bahamas Police Force and Royal Bahamas Defence Force will maintain a presence in the area to enforce these notices as officers of the Ministry of Public Works carry out their legal mandate during the upcoming weeks.”

Comments

mandela 5 months, 1 week ago

The law is the law, why should a few be allowed to live, possess and own land just by illegally squatting on the land? If this is allowed to continue unchecked then where will it end? In the Bahamas, it is not Haitian of Bahamian descent but the other way around, Bahamian of Haitian descent. If a person is living in the Bahamas and considers themself a Haitian of Bahamian descent then clearly they are living in the wrong place and should be living in a shantytown in Haiti and not in the Bahamas Oh! true, true Bahamians can't live, possess or own crown land illegally which they are entitled to and we are also HUMANS. THE LAW IS THE LAW.

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TigerB 5 months, 1 week ago

I wonder of they would try to build those homes in America? I was born in Spring City, and lived there until I left for Nassau. Even though our house was a wooden structure, we had proper lighting, complied with the govt's laws We didn't and couldn't take any short cuts, just like all of our neighbours. The rules are for all.

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Proguing 5 months, 1 week ago

I don't think we want to be like Biden's America, with open borders, giving stimulus checks and free Covid tests to illegals immigrants, and soon they will all receive residency papers and be able vote for the Democrats to ensure the flow never stops.

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Emilio26 5 months, 1 week ago

Proguing I heard the last Ingraham administration sold hundreds of bahamian passports to Haitian and Filipino migrants back in 2012.

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milesair 5 months, 1 week ago

The U.S. is a nation of immigrants! EVERYONE came from someplace else except of course. the American Indians of various tribes. The racist GOP wants to change this because most immigrants are not white Christianists! You can NOT vote in the U.S. unless you are a U.S. citizen, or born of U.S. parentage or have become a naturalized U.S. citizen. U.S. residents can NOT vote! We get the fact that you don't like Democrats but get your facts straight before you go spewing fake news. And thank God the U.S. does not have a fascist, wanna-be dictator in the form of the whinny bitch Trump!!

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JokeyJack 5 months, 1 week ago

At least now after decades and decades of begging we finally find out why we Bahamians cannot get Crown Land - we are not humans.

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Emilio26 5 months, 1 week ago

Jokey Jack I'm surprised Fred Smith hasn't come forward to express his outrage over the demolition of The Farm Shantytown.🤣🤣🤣🤣

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Sickened 5 months, 1 week ago

"We're Humans too" - correct! And as humans you should follow the laws of the society in which you live.

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Proguing 5 months, 1 week ago

Hummm strange that none of the criminal defenders are asking where were the body cams??? Maybe it's because the Farm residents did not shoot at the police? And where are the Biden supporters? Don't they also want open borders for the Bahamas?

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Sickened 5 months, 1 week ago

Bahamian Biden supporters want America's border to be opened up for Bahamians, so we can get the hell out of here.

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benniesun 5 months, 1 week ago

What is not being reported is how the migrants lower the standard of living of the average melanated-Bahamian by accepting low salaries, overburdening the government ran schools and hospital, send millions of dollars to Haiti etc.. We average melanated people will never see a report detailing and analyzing their impact as the Haitians are being used as a willing visible competitive and combative force against us melanated-Bahamians, so that we are distracted and cannot see the pillage and rape of our country being done by the none-melanated among us. This is why the none-melanated among us support and defend the Hatians.

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tribanon 5 months, 1 week ago

Corrupt FNM and PLP governments alike have done absolutely nothing meaningful since 1967 to stop the ever increasing flow of Haitian nationals illegally entering The Bahamas. Today the evidence of their illegal colonizing of The Bahamas is all around for true Bahamians to plainly see. And by true Bahamians, I mean those of us whose citizenship or residency is not rooted in either ourself or one of our parents or grandparents having illegally entered The Bahamas or having managed to secure citizenship or residency status through corrupt means.

Our immigration, citizenship and residency laws should have long ago been amended to prevent all illegal aliens, including those who claim to be seeking asylum, and all of their generational offspring born in The Bahamas, from ever receiving citizenship or residency status. This is the single most important thing we can immediately do to help deter the continuing influx of illegal nationals into our country with the support and assistance of organized profiteering human traffickers as well as self-serving human rights organizations. The second most important thing is to root out our corrupt immigration officials and others with ties to organized human traffickers. For decades now the smuggling of humans into our small over-populated country has supplanted the smuggling of drugs and weapons. There's no release valve for The Bahamas anymore because the US Coast Guard is now doing such a good job at preventing most of these smuggled illegal nationals from getting into the US.

And as inhumane and uncaring as all of that sounds, the harsh reality is our small struggling nation simply does not have the land area and other resources necessary to accommodate more illegal nationals than we already have. Truth be told, we are already overwhelmed by illegal nationals and there generational offspring to the point where we ourselves, as Bahamians, are on the verge of becoming a full blown nation of asylum seekers looking to flee from our own country to another country for our very own well being.

You only have to look at the increasing level of political corruption, the crumbling of our parliamentary system, the crumbling of our judiciary, our dysfunctional and under-resourced health system, our failed public education system, the ever rising level of violent crimes, the joblessness, the hunger and despair now faced by so many Bahamians, and on and on. These are certainly not matters the international human rights organizations and the likes of Fred Smith really care about. We really must start looking out for ourselves as a small nation and people under seige. Our way of life and very existence as Bahamians now depends on it more than ever.

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Emilio26 5 months, 1 week ago

tribanon I hope Fred Smith QC doesn't go crying to the United Nations claiming bahamians were being racist and discriminative towards haitians.

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JokeyJack 5 months, 1 week ago

Dont you worry Tribanon. Bahamians are with you and are gearing for trememdous change in the upcoming election by removing the FNM from power. I hear the majority of voters plan on replacing them with a totally different party called the PLP. That oughta teach them government folks a lesson !!! Even now they're probably shaking in their boots at the power and supreme intellect of the people.

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Sickened 5 months, 1 week ago

Replacing an unimpressive government with a far worse government? That's a great plan.

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tribanon 5 months, 1 week ago

Believe me when I say I am not a supporter of either a Davis-led PLP administration or a Minnis-led FNM administration. But I am definitely of the view our country and its people would not have any hope of recovering from even another two years of Minnis as PM, let alone five. No PM has ever done more harm to our parliamentary democracy, our constitutionally guaranteed civil rights and liberties, and our overall economic and social well-being, than the grossly incompetent, extremely arrogant and very power-juiced Minnis.

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DDK 5 months, 1 week ago

It's a crying shame that your sad commentary is spot on in its entirety. These accurate sentiments have been expressed over and repeatedly for many years, but not a single government servant in a position of authority, with the ability to DO something about this horrible state of affairs, has stepped forward and taken steps to correct the problem.

Now that some action is finally being taken there is a great wailing and gnashing of teeth by those who have long taken advantage of our stupid hospitality. As many of the commenters have stated, we are human too, but this is OUR country. The country of the creole speaking humans lies to the south of ours.

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jus2cents 5 months, 1 week ago

People say the Bahamas is a God fearing Christian nation and Bahamians are welcoming kind people, well that may be true for some visitors, but not if you are a Haitian.

Haitians are literally relatives of Bahamians, but the hate and vitriol written above and on social media is disgusting to see.

All Hattians want is a better life, put yourselves in their shoes and have some decent human empathy, for Gods sake!

They have come from a hell (Haiti has major unrest right now), to live in hell (because they cant afford rent because they get paid subhuman wages) and gone through hell (Poverty Earthquakes & Dorian) to be treated like hell, over and over again, and all this is happening because Bahamians lack compassion.

Its all a result of the Bahamian Gov's bad Management, if the Immigration department could only be trusted (not to bully and take bribes) and if they made work permits and resident permits system operate properly there wouldn't be a "Haitian Problem" in the first place.

Before you cast your cruel and callous stones FIRST Look in the mirror. Remember, There for the Grace of GOD.

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Emilio26 5 months, 1 week ago

jus2cents well Bahamians can't take in millions of haitian migrant when we have our own homeless population to deal with.

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tribanon 5 months, 1 week ago

Spare us the usual sympathy seeking poppy cock. You @jus2cents conveniently want us to forget that the Good Lord can only help us as Bahamians if we try to help ourselves.

Recent satellite photographs reveal New Providence is beginning to look very much like the western half of Hispaniola, treeless and greenless. When it comes to lending a helping hand to illegal nationals, we Bahamians, with our very limited land area, shortage of resources and struggling economy, long ago did much more than can be reasonably expected of us from a humanitarian standpoint.

For you to suggest Bahamians are not humane or Christian really means you just could not care any less that the Bahamas has become overridden with illegal Haitian nationals and overwhelmed by their many generational offspring. This has reached the point where many of us Bahamians now fear we may soon have to flee our own country and try seek asylum in another. It's time for you @jus2cents, and others like you, to knock on another country's door for the tears you want in support of your desired open borders policy. Our house is already more than full and therefore we have no choice but to try shut our door as tight as we possibly can. Our very survival as Bahamians now depends on it no matter what you may say.

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Emac 5 months, 1 week ago

Please stop misconstruing what most Bahamians feel. The whole playing on our emotion and Christian belief thing is getting old. We are simply asking that all guests adhere to the rules of the Bahamas. That's it, cut and dry!

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DDK 5 months, 1 week ago

We have our own problems, we don't need the help of another nation turning our Bahamas into the hell you claim they are escaping. It's time these people sort out the problems in their own country instead of adding to ours.

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JokeyJack 5 months, 1 week ago

Their only problem is excessive pregnancy.

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Emac 5 months, 1 week ago

Look here! I haven't posted anything on this forum for over a year. But I had to login just to respond to JokeyJack's comments about the new PLP....barrels of laughter I say. Man I needed that joke lol

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JokeyJack 5 months, 1 week ago

Youre veey welcome my brother, but the real joke will come next year wheb Bahamians vote either the PLP or FNM back in power and forums continue to host a long list of complaints (the same complaints by the way, so if you want you can just screenshot a few pages and save for next year and save your data)

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UN 5 months, 1 week ago

We point fingers at them BUTT a HAITIAN FEMALE is our Money-God?? To us she’s simply a bag of cash or gold bars - an object who is also here to keep us entertained? HYPOCRITES.

They prey on the weak & vulnerable. SHE’S by herself & keep her ‘ignorant’, AND they’re all poorer than us = makes us ALL feel ‘powerful’??

50 yrs from now when the sea level rises/floods us out: will we follow all the ‘rules’ or will we also be eager for a place to stay?? May need to go to earthquake-central Haiti..

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Sickened 5 months, 1 week ago

To state that Haitian's can't afford to pay rent is utter garbage!!! They earn far more the Bahamians on minimum wage. Offer a Haitian $50 a day to work doing anything and they'll cuss you in more languages than you know. Thousands of Bahamians get paid less than that and they get NIB taken out of it. These Haitian's earning good money here, they just don't believe in paying rent and take their CHANCES squatting on other people's land. They cry big time when police come around and then laugh at how long it took authorities to catch them. These are not ignorant people - they know the risk they take and they know that many people have soft hearts for people who pretend not to understand. We are the fools - NOT THEM!

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JokeyJack 5 months, 1 week ago

Boi, you too smart to be a Bahamian. Immigration ga come cancel your passport soon.

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John 5 months, 1 week ago

Obviously this issue draws emotions that run deep. So what if low cost land was made available for those residents who are legal and qualify? Then it would still leave the issue of persons without status needing somewhere to stay. But apparently most who were affected by the raid does have status. But we’re building illegally.

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