August 31, 2014
More than half of the people living in the shantytown off Sir Milo Butler Highway have relocated after their homes were marked for demolition as part of the government's effort to crack down on illegal communities.
When The Guardian visited the community yesterday, many of the homes were vacant and some had already been demolished.
According to some of the residents who remain in the area, they received notices from the government giving them four weeks to vacate the premises.
The notices were posted weeks after officials cleared down the bushes that surrounded the shantytown.
The government announced the shantytown crackdown more than a year ago.
Referring to the shantytown off Sir Milo Butler Highway, Minister of the Environment and Housing Kenred Dorsett said notices were served to the owners of those structures which may not have a building permit or do not adhere to the building code.
"We have also advanced notices through the Department of Environmental Health Services with regard to environmental health breaches," he said last month.
"This is another area where my department has earmarked an overall cleanup and removal subject to the procedures, but the immediate action is the cleanup, so we moved tons and tons of debris from that area."
And while residents have until the end of this week to find new homes, some of those who remain say they have nowhere to go.
Sainfora Guillaume, 64, who has been living in the community since 2006, said she can't afford to pay rent.
Guillaume said she works one day per week helping a disabled woman.
"I don't know yet where I [am going]," she said. "[I'm] packed up."
Guillaume said she lives in her house with two others, including a child.
Another resident, Aui Jean, said he's searching for somewhere to go.
"In one more week I [will] go but I don't know [where]," he told The Nassau Guardian.
"I hope I will find a place to go."
The clearing of the bushes around the shantytown sparked anger among Bahamians, who are demanding that the government do more to rid the island of these communities.
A government report on shantytowns released last year found that there were at least 15 of these communities in New Providence.
Researchers found that there is a "marked indifference to the extremely unhealthy conditions by those that occupy the shanties".
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News date : 08/31/2014 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories