The Bahamas government says it is moving to remove “shantytowns” where many Haitian migrants live, from the landscape of the country even as it seeks to implement its immigration reform policies.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, speaking at a Church service Sunday, commemorating the 26th anniversary of the ruling Free National Movement’s (FNM) 1992 general election victory, recalled his discussions with the League of Haitian Pastors some months ago, when he informed them that “our aim is to improve the lives of all those affected by what we are doing.
“It is unjust and unfair to allow the shantytowns to remain, especially given the social and other problems often found in these areas. It is a moral imperative for the country to remove the shantytowns even as we engage in immigration reform,” he said.
Minnis said that because his administration is committed to social justice “we are removing shantytowns, a long-standing problem successive governments failed to address in a comprehensive manner.
“Last year, my administration set up a large task force carefully planned for the removal of shantytowns so that we can better assimilate the residents of these areas, and help to improve the quality of life of residents.
“We have been careful to address this issue in a comprehensive, careful and compassionate manner,” he said, adding “we must also ensure that those who should be granted permanent residency or citizenship are so granted in a timelier manner”.
An injunction granted by a Supreme Court judge earlier this month blocks the government from demolishing shantytowns in New Providence as it had planned to do after August 10.