WHERE TO GO?: Haitian single father in The Farm faces looming eviction

WHERE TO GO?: Haitian single father in The Farm faces looming eviction
This November 2019 photo shows a small group of homes forming one of many micro-communities that sparsely populate the winding dirt road leading to The Farm shantytown on Abaco.

Bannister to address The Farm raid in Parliament this morning

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — “We don’t know where we are going and we have 28 days to move,” said Rony Jeudy, a work permit holder and father of two who lives in a single-story structure in The Farm, Abaco.

Jeudy, who has lived in The Bahamas since 1990, built the structure in the shantytown following Hurricane Dorian in September 2019.

He previously lived in Marsh Harbour, an area that was decimated by the record storm.

Jeudy has a work permit as a handyman and does odd jobs on the island, including exchanging the use of his generators for a small fee, the majority of which goes towards the gas to operate the generators.

His daughters are nine and 12 years old.

Notices have been erected on constructed buildings in the area in English and Creole, warning inhabitants of the legal prohibition of any new construction and the “intention of the government to demolish all of the illegally constructed buildings”.

“My children cried. My daughter said: ‘Sir, I want to ask you something. I would like to be a lawyer to fight for my country and my dad bought generators for my house so we could do our homework.’ And the officer cried, and the next one said ‘just disconnect,’” Jeudy told Eyewitness News.

“He told them ‘take that and go inside’. Man, she said she would like to fight for our country, but when this happen, she said: ‘Daddy, we have to get our visa and leave from here.’

“She said she doesn’t want to do anything with the Bahamian people, and I said don’t say that because there aren’t much people like that.

“With Haitians, you gone see some bad Haitians and you find some good Haitians. And Bahamians, you find some bad Bahamians and you find some good Bahamians. I said: ‘Baby, no problem.’”

Jeudy acknowledged that he has built a home on government land, but insisted he has never stolen from anyone. He said if the government sold him the land for $20,000, he would pay in installments every month.

“I have no problem doing that, but they say we have to move,” he said.

“Since then, for the last couple days, I ain’t even eat well.

“I have children and I don’t know where to be with them, and they (officials) say ‘pack and to leave.’”

Last Thursday, a multi-agency operation was launched in The Farm and led to the arrest of a number of irregular migrants, as well as others who had allegedly been involved in “various criminal offenses”, according to the Ministry of Public Works.

The ministry said the operation also resulted in the seizure of suspected stolen goods and the disconnection of a large number of illegally operated generators and gas tanks.

Photos and video footage purportedly showing law enforcement officers and what appeared to be dozens of generators and other items loaded on a flatbed truck in The Farm made the rounds on social media last week.

When contacted yesterday, Minister of Public Works Desmond Bannister said he will address the matter in a communication to Parliament this morning.

Jeudy continued: “I had three generators in my place and the defense came and just take them and go with them.

An alleged copy of a receipt for two generators shantytown resident Rony Jeudy said he purchased.

“Some of them were not even in use. I don’t use them. Some people ask me to use them because some generators [got damaged] by water, but I got them by getting different parts. One of my friends, name Mike, by the airport, and I buy them from him, and I helped him do some work, too.

“He sell me those generators for the best price and those [officers] came in and disconnect them, take them and they say they seize them. They said those generators [are] on government land and they seize that.”

He sent Eyewitness News a copy of the receipt for two of his generators recently purchased.

Jeudy said he visited the police station to prove ownership of his generators after they were seized, but claimed he was informed that he had to get Bahamas Power and Light to the home to continue to operate the generator.

Jeudy said other residents who had property seized also alleged funds went missing during the raid.

About Royston Jones Jr.

Royston Jones Jr. is a senior digital reporter and occasional TV news anchor at Eyewitness News. Since joining Eyewitness News as a digital reporter in 2018, he has done both digital and broadcast reporting, notably providing the electoral analysis for Eyewitness News’ inaugural election night coverage, “Decision Now 2021”.