FOLLOW THE LAW: Shantytown lawyer warns govt. over North Andros

FOLLOW THE LAW: Shantytown lawyer warns govt. over North Andros
An aerial shot of a San Andros shantytown in an area known as The Codd. (Royston Jones/EWN)

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Attorney Martin Lundy II, who represents the shantytown residents awaiting a judicial review on the fate of their communities, has called on the government to follow the law as it seeks to evict residents in three shantytown communities in North Andros.  

Eviction notices were placed on more than 150 structures in San Andros and Mastic Point on February 5, giving those residents 30 days to leave.

According to the government, those residents have been illegally occupying Crown Land earmarked for land.

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

Speaking to Eyewitness News, Lundy said Rights Bahamas has not instructed him to seek to include those residents in the ongoing judicial review.

“The only thing Rights Bahamas is concerned about is due process and respect for the rule of law,” he said.

“If the government is going about outing people out of homes that they have been occupying for all these great many years then they need to establish that they have the right to do it, and they follow whatever procedures are in place to do just that.

“So, that’s really it and that’s what this whole judicial review is about,” Lundy added.

The government gave shantytown residents of New Providence until August 10, 2018, to evacuate those communities, and residents of shantytowns in Abaco, until July 31, 2019 to leave.

However, days before the deadline attorneys representing 177 shantytown residents filed for judicial review on the government’s eradication program and were granted an injunction barring the government from removing those structures.

The current respondents in this matter include Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister, Attorney General Carl Bethel, Bahamas Power and Light and the Water and Sewerage Corporation.

The matter is expected to go before the courts to deal with numerous interlocutory matters this month

The substantive case goes to trial in March.