Public Works Minister Alfred Sears.
By EARYEL BOWLEG
Tribune Staff Reporter
WORKS and Utilities Minister Alfred Sears has advised people who are contemplating building on land that does not belong to them to cease and desist because “we will not tolerate it”.
He said officials have a team from building control and also town planning who have visited Abaco and prepared a report on unregulated communities there. According to the minister, officials will be announcing “shortly” the measures that they will be taking.
Mr Sears gave these details on the sidelines of another event when the issue of unregulated communities and shanty towns was brought up.
“With respect to persons who are squatting on land, we are put together two working groups, there is one dealing with Crown land in New Providence and the Minister of National Security is heading an intimate ministerial group. The Ministry of Works when we were in Abaco, I could not help to observe that on some of the land, there were what appeared to be irregular buildings,” he said.
“We’ve had a team from building control, and also town planning to go into Abaco and they have prepared a report for us. And we will be announcing shortly the measures that we will be taking because we cannot allow anybody to be on land that you don’t have a right to be on and building without town planning, without building control, and without inspection before the issuance of an occupancy certificate.
“This is an important issue and (I am) asking today that anyone who was contemplating building on land that does not belong to you cease and desist because we will not tolerate it because we’re putting everybody at risk when building structures that are not in compliance with the building code.
“And it compromises the work that we’re doing in the ministry. Because we are now revising the building code. We are reviewing the planning and subdivision (laws). We are reviewing the Building Control Regulation Act so that we can better secure the Bahamian people in the built environment of our country.”
He also confirmed that officials will be assembling a task force because these “problems are multi-dimensional”.
“When you’re dealing with communities, they involve children, they involve public health, they also involve national security. So, of course, it would have to be a multi-dimensional response and task force.”
He noted that the task force will be made up of the various relevant government agencies whose jurisdictions are impacted by the problem.