“It’s critical we get to the bottom of this and deal with these challenges”
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The government continues to receive reports of illegal shantytowns across the country, according to Deputy Prime Minister Desmond Bannister, who described the situation as “unconscionable”.
Speaking with reporters ahead of a Cabinet meeting yesterday, Bannister noted that the government is abiding by the ruling of Supreme Court Justice Cheryl-Grant Thompson, who back in June extended an injunction to the entirety of Abaco, preventing the government from destroying shantytown communities without bringing evidence of a breach of the law to the court first.
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.
Grant-Thompson has not yet made a ruling on the substantive judicial review matter.
Bannister told reporters: “We are a law-abiding government. We abide by what the court says. We are still waiting for a ruling from the court on the issues that are before it. Whenever the court makes a decision, we will be able to analyze it and take steps from there.”
He noted that the government has received “many reports” of illegal shantytowns across New Providence and a proliferation of shantytowns in the Family Islands.
“Every single one of us has an obligation to our children and our grandchildren. We are going to protect the water table and our health and ensure that they have the same standard of living that we have,” said Bannister.
“It’s critical we get to the bottom of this and deal with these challenges.”
He added: “I want to send the message out that we are monitoring all of the things that are happening and the minute there is an opportunity to protect the health of the Bahamian people, we are going to take it and follow-up with it because what is happening is unconscionable.”