Bannister plans to travel to Andros to investigate reports of illegal structures

Bannister plans to travel to Andros to investigate reports of illegal structures
A dwelling in a San Andros shantytown in an area known as The Codd. (Royston Jones/EWN)

Govt. will have to reissue some eviction notices on Abaco illegal structures

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister said yesterday that the ministry will target several illegal structures that have been built in Andros, in a similar exercise to the process underway in Abaco.

Bannister told reporters outside Cabinet that he plans to visit Andros to “look at what is happening” and a plan will be formulated for the way forward.

“I’m understanding that a lot of these illegal structures might be on private land and these pose dilemmas for us,” he said.

“So we work with the attorney general to get the proper wording for notices to ensure that we are compliant with the law.

“The last thing the government wants to be is not to be compliant. As much as we want to see us get rid of those structures we have to ensure we live up to the law.

“Otherwise we could have judgements against us and we don’t want judgements against the government.”

He said the government will be “relentless” in taking down the illegal structures.

He said the exercise will be a similar one conducted in Abaco.

“It’s going to be much more precise. Whatever we do again in Abaco is going to be equally as precise. I will see them myself, with my own two eyes.”

Bannister added that the government has to renew some notices in Abco in order to comply with the Building Controls Act,

“Those notices are going to be reviewed to ensure that if anybody takes action in the courts that we are well within our rights to do it,” he said.

“Notwithstanding the fact that someone may break the law, we still have to act within the law when we are seeking to get rid of those structures.”

He added that any notice issued over 56 days will be renewed.

“So if they are over 56 days we will renew them and we are going to ensure that they are brought to the attention of the people who live there.”

Bannister could not indicate at the time when the trip to Andros will occur.

A government notice posted on a dwelling in a San Andros shantytown in an area known as The Codd. (Royston Jones/EWN)

In February, residents of a San Andros shantytown have been given eviction notices, giving them 30 days to leave the area known as The Codd before their homes are demolished.

Officials told Eyewitness News the area is Crown Land exclusively designated for farming but has seen an increase of shantytown residents since Hurricane Dorian decimated Abaco and Grand Bahama.

Island Administrator Joseph Ferguson put the total number of residents living near The Codd at 1,800.

Ferguson said the community was one of two large shantytowns in Andros – the other several miles away in Mastic Point.

The densely populated Codd shantytown is accessible via a track road.