More than a week after several shantytowns on Abaco were destroyed by Hurricane Dorian, Minister of Labour Dion Foulkes said the government’s initial plan to demolish the slums was out of concern for the residents.
“One of the main motivations, the primary motivation of the government by establishing the Shantytown Action Task Force, was the well-being, safety and health of the persons living in the shantytowns,” said Foulkes, who heads the task force.
“We emphasized this throughout. That was our motivation and that is still our motivation. All of you, who have been in shantytowns, see the conditions. I will also like to say that there is a view out there that a majority of the persons living in The Mudd and Pigeon Peas are undocumented. That is untrue.”
The government announced last year that shantytowns would be demolished.
The government gave residents of most shantytowns on New Providence until August 10, 2018 to leave before demolition.
However, in August 2018, Supreme Court Justice Cheryl Grant-Thompson granted an injunction blocking the demolition of shantytown structures.
Yesterday, while speaking about the injunction, Foulkes said, “In New Providence, by July 31 of last year, we were supposed to deal with the shantytowns (which was extended to August 10)…and by July 31 of this year we were supposed to deal with the shantytowns in Abaco, all [five] of them.
“That’s The Mudd, the Pigeon Peas, Sandbank [and Farm Road and Elbow Cay]. We’re still awaiting the court to make a decision on what to do. The committee is ready to move as soon as the injunction is lifted.”
He said the government had a “very systematic” and “very organized” schedule in place.
The minister said the national committee comprised of close to 100 members.
The Supreme Court has adjourned the case several times.
It was most recently adjourned to September 12.