ABACO, BAHAMAS — The re-emergence of shantytowns on Abaco is merely exacerbating the housing crisis on the hurricane-ravaged island, according to its Chamber of Commerce president.
Ken Hutton, the Abaco Chamber of Commerce president, told Eyewitness News: “I’m not taking sides on the issue, because that is not we do that, but we support the equal application of the law. If things are legal and they are following the rules, then they have our entire support.
“That said, there is a housing crisis here on Abaco and continues to be. There are not enough rental homes and housing, period, for people wanting to come back here. That only exacerbates the situation here.”
According to the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), Hurricane Dorian left almost 3,000 homes “uninhabitable” and inflicted $1.487 billion worth of damage on the housing sectors on Abaco and Grand Bahama.
The government had already demolished a number of homes in a shantytown on Abaco known as The Farm, and recently continued with efforts.
Its actions have been criticized by the United Nations.
A total of 177 shantytown residents remain in a legal battle with the government over its bid to rid the nation of shantytowns. In August 2018, an injunction was granted protecting the applicants from eviction and their homes from being disconnected from services or demolished.
Reports reaching Eyewitness News suggest that many shantytown residents are living on land purportedly leased to them by Bahamians.
Hutton told Eyewitness News: “I am aware of these reports but I have no first-hand knowledge of that.”