As the government moves to regularize shantytowns in the country, retired pastor Bishop Simeon Hall warned that any help offered to those residents should not exceed aid to struggling Bahamian homeowners.
“The help and assistance the government of The Bahamas extends to those who have broken our immigration laws – and now require proper and legal housing – must not exceed the systematic aid the government renders to Bahamians waylaid and disadvantaged by the loss of their own houses,” Hall said.
“At the risk of sounding callous, the hard reality is that our government should indeed help illegal immigrants along humanitarian lines.
“But this help should not be offered to those who continuously break our immigration laws, exploit our welfare and social services systems and transfer their own earnings and savings out of the country.
“The government should counterbalance the traumatic and disconcerting experiences of hundreds of law abiding Bahamian citizens who have loss their houses, or risk losing their houses, after paying mortgages for decades. An initiative such as the much touted Mortgage Relief Program must not be waylaid by the help we offer to those who flagrantly break our laws.”
The government has said that it is not paying for shantytown residents to find new homes.
Hall said charity starts at home.
This is not the first time Hall has levied criticism on undocumented migrants in The Bahamas.
Hall has said that illegals entering The Bahamas with impunity who have settled and are working within weeks or days “clearly bespeaks the high level of slackness and corruption in the relevant government agencies”.
His latest sentiments came days after Acting President of the Bahamas Christian Council (BCC) Anglican Archdeacon James Palacious called on Bahamians to lend aid to shantytown residents who struggle to find new homes.
“All Bahamians are urged, as they are able, to help these residents to readjust to the financial and social realities of a new life and location,” Palacious said.
“They are our brothers and sisters and we need to come to their aid in whatever way we can.”
The government has established a Shantytown Action Task Force (SATF) to deal with the issue of shantytowns throughout The Bahamas.
The task force has served residents of 11 shantytowns in New Providence with final notices.
Residents have until August 10 to move.
Many residents have expressed dismay over the process with some lamenting that they have nowhere to go.
Education: College of The Bahamas, English