WHERE WILL THEY GO? Haitian pastors call for compassion and delay in demolition

Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis met with pastors who serve the local Haitian-Bahamian community to discuss the government’s multi-pronged approach to address shanty towns and illegal immigration, and to hear their recommendations on these long-standing issues.	
Photo: OPM

Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis met with pastors who serve the local Haitian-Bahamian community to discuss the government’s multi-pronged approach to address shanty towns and illegal immigration, and to hear their recommendations on these long-standing issues. Photo: OPM


Tribune Staff Reporter


HAITIAN pastors asked Prime Minister Philip “Brave” Davis on Tuesday night to delay shanty town demolition plans and show compassion for the people in those communities.

Haitian Charge d’Affaires Louis Harold Joseph told The Tribune he helped organise the closed-door meeting at the National Training Agency on Gladstone Road to discuss issues ranging from shanty town action to the instability in Haiti.

The meeting, featuring more than 30 Haitian pastors, came amid signs the government is moving to disrupt shanty town communities.


Prime Minister Philip ‘Brave’ Davis speaks with pastors and leaders of the Haitian community at a closed-door meeting to discuss issues affecting their community. Photos: OPM

Last week, Defence Force officers served residents in unregulated communities in SC Bottle Highway, Abaco, with notices of an upcoming Supreme Court hearing connected to the government’s plans to demolish shanty town structures.

According to a summons the Office of the Attorney General filed last month, the government is seeking to demolish 555 shanty town structures in New Providence and Abaco that were allegedly built in defiance of a previous Supreme Court order by Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson.

 Bishop Celine St Louis, the pastor of Gospel Assembly, said Haitian pastors told Mr Davis they want the government to slow down so people can find regulated places to live.

 “Haiti is not settled, Haiti has so much problems,” he said in an interview. “For the shanty town, I know since 1948 when Haitians came to Nassau, we always lived on shanty towns.

 “You can’t find no house to rent. We can’t even find house to live. We get a work permit. We get a permanent residence. We get a Bahamian passport. We cannot find a place to live. But I don’t think it makes sense for the government to not build nothing, but to destroy shanty towns.”

 He added: “Last night, we asked them for forgiveness, for compassion. Compassion mean, when you can do something Monday, we give you more time to set up myself before you do what you seek out to do. Compassion for shanty town for right now is very hard, that’s what I tell them last night. (It’s) very hard right now, (but) we don’t have no place to live.”

 “If you have 200 Haitians living in one shanty town, if you break that, where these people could go?”


The Prime Minister heard from pastors and leaders of the Haitian community, as they asked for compassion and to delay the demolition of shanty towns. They also discussed other matters including the ongoing crisis in Haiti.

 Asked how long Haitian leaders want the government to suspend its plans to demolish shanty towns, Pastor St Louis could not say.

 He said leaders are encouraging people here illegally to “buy their ticket and go back home” to take the pressure off struggling legal residents. 

 “That’s the only thing we could really do,” he said. 

 As for legal residents in shanty town communities, he said: “So many people looking for house to rent, but can’t find any.”

 In an interview with Eyewitness News on Tuesday night, Mr Davis said he told pastors the government would not “deal with one problem” by creating another one.

 “I think all their concerns about this is that due process and (a) humane approach is taken,” he said.


Sickened 6 months, 1 week ago

More time? More friggin time?!?!?!?! They can't be serious! Any sensible conversation with them would stop right there. And to suggest that Government should build places for them to rent. Insane.


sheeprunner12 6 months, 1 week ago

Brave, Fweddy and the PLP have NO intention of sending any Haitians (of any age, status or longevity) back to Haiti .......... the PLP count the Haitians as the swing vote for the next election.

These pastor meetings, Minister committees, court cases, CJ declarations etc are only PLP shams for dithering and doing nothing but looking for more excuses to let the Haitians run wild in our country.

Brave is already on record as saying that he is "one of them" ................ Nuff said.


mandela 6 months, 1 week ago

Sorry, but people living everyday lives are also struggling pastors, with the shantytowns' existence, illegal migration from Haiti will continue and flourish, because once they end up on any of our shores and in any of the shantytowns, they will find refuge, live undetected for years, and then multiply, and on independence day or any day will not pledge allegiance to the Bahamian flag, no refuge no place to live and hide, simple, and once shantytowns allowed where will they stop? Bahamians who have never experienced what a shantytown looks like from the inside need only to go online and see documentaries for themselves about shantytowns in Haiti. If allowed now it will never ever stop. Now is a turning point. In the Consitution, it should be written that shantytowns are forbidden throughout the Bahamas. Shantytowns are a cultural form of life that has been in Haiti since the time France had ownership, over two hundred years, the Bahamas on the other hand, maybe 45 yrs.


LastManStanding 6 months, 1 week ago

Home. You will go home.

The arrogance of these people to pretend that they are some kind of victims in this situation is astounding; I studied overseas and did not build a shack on a next man's property that I had no rights to be on in the first place. These people and their mentality are incompatible with civilized society.


bahamianson 6 months, 1 week ago

Co.passion and delay when they new what they were doing was wrong from the start. They saw the writing on the wall for years now. They had ample time to prepare.


alleycat 6 months, 1 week ago

A few comments: 1. It makes no sense to demolish somebody’s house, legal or not, without providing them with somewhere to go, whether it’s here or Haiti. 2. Nobody is going to buy a ticket back to Haiti when they can get deported there for free. 3. Sheeprunner, only Bahamian citizens can vote. 4. The reason that there are shanty towns on NP and Abaco, and not the other islands, is because people on these two islands give them jobs. You won’t find a shanty town on Long Island, because those people do their own cleaning and yard work. 5. I don’t know what the answer is, but knocking down houses isn’t it.


quavaduff 6 months, 1 week ago

I am glad to see we have at least one sensible Christian commenting here. The Haitian people come to the Bahamas for a better life for themselves and their families similar to when many Bahamians migrated to the States. These people do the work many Bahamians find beneath them.

Remember ... " there but for the grace of God go I"


thomas 6 months, 1 week ago

Well then, let's just let them be...


truetruebahamian 6 months, 1 week ago

make them breed less and responsibly. The excess over two children in a married situation should be taxed. those bastard children who overpopulate should have been spared a confusing life. We cannot support them, and common sense should come into play. If you are going to have sex, over the limit and within the boundaries, get your ovaries and/or your testes chopped!


birdiestrachan 6 months, 1 week ago

They have had a very long time to find housing the Bahamas government the people of the Bahamas are not responsible to find homes for persons who come from other countries , look for labour from other countries the Hatians seems to believe they are entitled ,


TalRussell 6 months, 1 week ago

Maybe because cemeteries both here and when traveling abroad are quiet, and just calming and always at sundown ----- Over your comrade's some 60 adult years, I've taken a quiet cemetery's stroll to bring calmness to thinking straight. --- Look at and read the short messages referred to as an epitaph is usually added to a headstone along with a person's name, birth date, and death date.--- And, I find it puts everything back to. --- 'How to Live in the Moment" perspective. --- There's something to be said about engaging in inner self-talk with one's inner soul and a headstone's soul. --- Yes?


avidreader 6 months, 1 week ago

I believe that thinking people knew all along that nothing would be done to correct the situation. This is a never ending story. However, I do agree with the comment that illegal migrants, and many legal migrants, are able to continue in residence because they are offered employment. Those nations with the means to effect change on the ground in Haiti are sitting by without acting since they are distracted by larger problems in the world. We, however, feel and see the direct results of uncontrolled mass migration from a nation out of control. Bahamians are not accustomed to having to face a situation requiring a united front and decisive action before it is too late. Once the demographic balance is upset it will be virtually impossible to correct the situation. Those who are very concerned must feel continuously frustrated by the lack of political will to face up to a reality that is of concern of the great majority of the Bahamian people.


TalRussell 6 months, 1 week ago

Today's Haitian nationals --- Can only pray that the premiership of "Brave" Davis, --- Will seek out and learn the lessons of history that were rarely recorded. --- When the shoes were on the other foots for the majority of adult male Bahamians. ---- When the early twentieth century brought little opportunity here at home. --- When poverty was the norm. --- When adult male Bahamians --- Set their sails for Haiti, --- In search of plentiful, well-paying jobs. --- I, rest a reminder of a little known history. --- Yes?


ExposedU2C 6 months, 1 week ago

How many times have you folks heard me say that Davis, Mitchell and the entire PLP ruling class love the Haitian nationals and their offspring who have invaded our country much more than they will ever love the Bahamian people. LMAO


pablojay 6 months, 1 week ago

Did anyone besides me notice that everyone in the photo is wearing clothes of the same hue? Coincidence?


TalRussell 6 months, 1 week ago

It's been a long time, coming. --- Well, yes. --- Donald J Trump, --- Has finally got himself indicted by a Manhattan "jury of fellow USA citizens. --- Who decided that. --- "Not even presidents" are above the law." --- Becoming the first former U.S. president to face criminal charges.** --- Even jail time is in play as he makes another run for the White House. --- Yes?


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