Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday that he’s asked the attorney general to get clarity and seek a modification from the courts over an injunction that bars the demolition of shantytowns.
The injunction was granted in 2018 after some shantytown residents filed a judicial review of the Minnis administration’s plan to demolish shantytowns in The Bahamas.
Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson has yet to rule on the judicial review and the injunction was amended to include all of Abaco and New Providence.
Several new shantytowns have reportedly cropped up on Abaco in recent years.
When asked for an update on the matter, Davis said, “I spoke to the attorney general and he is now seeking to go back to the court to have a clarification on what the effect of that injunction is and to modify it to ensure that we are able to do what has to be done to effect and stop the growing numbers of shantytowns in this country.”
Last September, Central and South Abaco MP John Pinder told The Nassau Guardian that shantytown structures have grown significantly in the years since Hurricane Dorian destroyed large shantytowns on Abaco.
Less than two weeks after Pinder’s comments, immigration officials carried out an operation on Abaco with the police and defense force in shantytowns.
They informed that since Dorian, The Farm shantytown in Treasure Cay has grown “exponentially” from 50 acres to “as much as 200 acres”.
The Department of Immigration will ramp up its special operations in the coming weeks to ensure people in shantytowns have legal status, Minister of Labour and Immigration Keith Bell said.
“As the minister with responsibility for immigration, if you are an illegal migrant living on New Providence, Abaco, Eleuthera, Harbour Island, Grand Bahama or anywhere else in this Commonwealth, you must leave,” he said in Parliament last week.
“You must immediately wind up your affairs and leave The Bahamas voluntarily. Failure to do so will lead to your arrest, prosecution, deportation and placement on a restricted list, which will completely bar you from any future entry into this country for any reason.”