NASSAU, BAHAMAS — After traveling to North Andros to investigate dozens of illegal structures, Public Works Minister Desmond Bannister said yesterday that the issue continues to spiral due to the lack of comprehensive planning when issuing work permits.
Bannister said he visited the island earlier this week and toured three sites that had 40 – 50 illegal structures on non-government private properties.
He noted that many of those residents have been in The Bahamas on work permits for many years.
“It’s a very complex socio and economic situation in Andros and these are issues that have to be addressed by a number of government agencies,” Bannister told reporters outside Cabinet.
“What you have is a fairly medium-sized group of non-Bahamians, many of whom are on work permits, they are working in communities but they can’t live in those communities.
“People have been getting work permits and leaving them to fend for themselves.
“There’s also been some illegals but not as many.”
The public works minister said there has to comprehensive solutions when approving people for work permits.
“If someone gets work permits over the years, governments have not been concerned about them finding homes for the people who work for them,” Bannister continued.
“They have farmers in Andros and they have all of these people working for them, many of them.
“They apply for work permits and there’s no holding them accountable for where these people live. So it’ a very complex socio and economic challenge.”
He added that he will be making suggestions to Cabinet on how to work through those problems, once again insisting that there is no simple solution, but there is a way to make things work properly.
“It’s an issue of people getting permits, being farm permits and their employers not being required to account for where they live,” Bannister said.
“Some of these homes are actually on people’s farms. When you go where these houses are, right next to it you see the cultivation of people who have their work permits.
“While we would like to think that there are simple solutions to these, these are problems that have been in the making for many many decades.”