June 14, 2021

The Government of Bahamas insists on demolishing irregular slums after the hurricane

The Prime Minister of the Bahamas, Hubert Minnis, urged the lifting of a 2018 court order that prohibits the Government from demolishing the neighborhoods of homes built without permission, given the increased risks of Hurricane Dorian last September.

Minnis announced on Wednesday to Parliament that he asked the Attorney General to process the lifting of that order, noting that the constructions in those areas, inhabited mainly by Haitians, should be eliminated when representing risks.

Following the passage of Hurricane Dorian, the Minnis Administration issued an immediate ban on the lifting of new irregular buildings.

This is the second time this month that the prime minister is addressing the Legislature to address the issue of slums in the Bahamas.

On October 2, Minnis announced that the attorney general, Carl Bethel, had been instructed to acquire the land where homes were built without official permission.

"It is the responsibility of the Government to guarantee the safety of its people and therefore it is mandatory that all slums within our territory be eliminated. They break our laws, they are not safe or healthy," said Minnis.

Minnis' latest announcement prompted the rejection of human rights activists, who described the measure of xenophobic and petty, for affecting people mostly from Haiti.

Bahamas human rights activists denounce that the government cannot use Hurricane Dorian as an excuse to remove the rights of people who once called those unregulated buildings home.

Previously, the Government had given residents in shantytowns on the island of New Providence until August 10, 2018 to leave before its demolition, while residents of the slums of Abaco Island were limited end of last July.

However, in August 2018, Supreme Court judge Cheryl Grant-Thompson established an order that blocks the demolition of slum structures.

The Bahamas Supreme Court has postponed the resolution of the case several times.

. (tagsToTranslate) Government (t) Bahamas (t) insists (t) irregular neighborhoods (t)

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