Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced today that he has directed the attorney general to acquire the land on which multiple shantytowns in Abaco were built.
“Mr. Speaker, I’ve said before that we will eradicate shantytowns and return laws to our country,” Minnis said as he addressed the House of Assembly a short while ago.
“I’ve heard noise… about the property of the shantytowns, so I’ve informed the attorney general to compulsorily acquire the Mudd, Pigeon Peas, Sand Banks and other related areas.”
The law allows for the compulsory purchase of land, in accordance with of the Constitution. The compensation for the land is based on the market value, among other factors.
Several shantytowns in Abaco were destroyed, during the passage of Hurricane Dorian, which decimated parts of that island and Grand Bahama.
As he provided an update on the restoration efforts in the aftermath of the monster storm, Minnis also addressed illegal migration generally.
“…This morning, Mr. Speaker, I met with represents of the IOM, the International Organization [for] Migration, and they were informed that we are a country of laws and our laws in respect to illegal immigrants… will be carried out; however, they will be carried out in a humane manner.
“Therefore, I serve notice to all those who are illegal that they can leave voluntarily or they will be forced to leave.”
Yesterday, Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson made similar comments. He also insisted that hurricane shelters will not be used “to circumvent the law”.
“So, just like we don’t go into schools [and] churches, we will not allow a home or a church to be used as a mechanism to circumvent the law. And so, one will not, for example, one will not be allowed to stay in the shelter and say, ‘I just don’t want to leave because I know outside the police is waiting.’
“Or, ‘I don’t want to leave because I know outside that they’re going to be checking.’
“I was careful to say that Hurricane Dorian did not work a miracle. So, if you were undocumented before Hurricane Dorian, you remain undocumented after Hurricane Dorian if you didn’t go through the right process.”
Hurricane Dorian was the strongest storm to hit The Bahamas.