Many residents in shanty towns across the nation are reportedly shaken after the government recently announced July 31 as the deadline for all residents in unregulated communities to relocate.
It’s all a part of a massive government venture to crack down on shantytowns nationwide. Sources suggest that some shantytown residents are reportedly up-in-arms as the eviction deadline nears.
But, Minister of Local Government Frankie Campbell, who has a close relationship with the Haitian-Bahamian community, said shanty town residents should not be surprised by government’s thrust toward the July deadline.
“The government made its intent known from February. There should be no surprise,”Campbell asserted.
“I’m pleased that the process that the government initiated is a collaborative one. It was not one done in isolation. Persons in the community were involved, the Haitian leaders were involved, humanitarians and religious leaders were involved and it seemed as if due and timely notice has been given.”
In an effort to carefully approach the shanty town shutdown, government formed a 40-member committee comprised of a number of officials from public and non-governmental organizations.
The committee was charged to work in tandem with a number of Haitian pastors, who would help to get relevant information and access, which the committee needs to carry out its agenda.
With a little over two months left before the July 31 deadline rolls in, government is set to release the findings of its shanty town surveys and residents in these unregulated communities are beginning to pack up their belongings and relocate.
“They ought not to have been living in those conditions in the first place,” he said.
“I am satisfied that there is a move to take us away from the situation where it appeared as though we had two parallel societies existing in the Bahamas. I’m pleased that we are moving toward proper integration. That is all part and parcel of the overall immigration effort.’
There are 11 shanty towns in New Providence, four in Grand Bahama and several in Abaco, North Andros and North Eleuthera.