The subject of Shanty Towns in The Bahamas is up for discussion once again. All and sundry are aghast over the fact that court ordered demolitions of these so-called towns are currently taking place.
What gets me most is that a whole lot of Bahamians, that have crossed paths with me, are afraid of what the United Nations or other human rights organizations are going to say about the demolitions of these illegally built structions.
With all due respect to those organizations, we are the ones on this side feeling the “ugliness” of those Shanty Towns. They are unsightly, they are the home of diseases, corruption and they are filled with illegal immigrants who come here to pillage from our economy and our systems.
The sad thing is that we are behaving like these Shanty Towns came into existence recently. They have been around forever and I am happy that the courts and the country have had enough of them and the decision was made to have them removed. To that I say, ‘It’s about time!’
Note that I used the word corruption as it relates to these Shanty Towns. Vast “corruption” is associated with these areas, as it is said that anything can be found from prostitution to contraband, to illegal gambling, to missing and wanted people.
Why would we tolerate these areas growing larger for decades, if they are the breeding ground for all of the aforementioned ills? The old adage, “Something is rotten in the state of Denmark” comes to mind.
As far back as I can remember, there have been Shanty Towns spread all over Southern and Eastern New Providence. In fact, as a young reporter, this writer along with veteran photographer Derek Smith visited and investigated the happenings at many a Shanty Town on this island.
During that time and many years after, countless citizens of this country are convinced that affluent people own the land that houses these Shanty Towns. These affluents are said to rent plots of the land, provide makeshift electricity and God knows how the water becomes a factor, to the illegal and less fortunate.
This goes two ways. When these people are being evicted from the land and their shacks destroyed rendering them homeless, the Bahamian owners of those plots of land should be brought before the courts and every law book tossed at them with violence. They are just as guilty as the illegal immigrants that reside there.
We can no longer continue to make ourselves hypocrites when people born in this country are enabling illegal immigrants and their illicit activities. We are renting them the land to live illegally, sell drugs along with other contraband items and also sell their bodies. This is just foul!
We cannot continue to grow as a country if we insist on doing a dance with illegal aliens. We are a titled, a small, developing nation and we are ripping at the seams carrying the load of illegals. Our economy is stretched and so are the nation’s education and health systems.
The Bahamas Department of Immigration and the Royal Bahamas Defence Force are doing a tremendous job in intercepting watercraft loaded with illegal immigrants trying to enter our islands. When this is achieved another bill comes to the fore – thousands of dollars to carry out the exercise of repatriation.
After all of the pressure on us as a nation outlined here, there are many thoughtless Bahamians who would engage these people in risking their lives on the waters to seek what they say is a better way of living here in our burdened country.
Just before writing this edition, I saw a post from a local human rights advocate that said, and I quote, “Where will the Shanty Town residents live?” Years ago, I would have concerned myself with the same question. Today? Not so much. If you are a squatter …. a squatter that is not only living illegally on the land, but living illegally in this country, then you must know that at some point, the day of reckoning would come.
No sensible person would think that their entire generation will live illegally in a country and on someone’s land forever, with no recourse for their actions. They were warned by officers of this government to vacate the land. I feel that those Shanty Towns should have been raided first by immigration and the police and then demolished.
I am no longer concerning myself with the wellbeing of illegal immigrants in this country. If you make your bed hard, you must be made to sleep in it. Well that’s how I see it, anyway.
“AS I SEE IT” DISCLAIMER – The views and opinions represented in this column, “As I See It” belong to the columnist and do not necessarily represent those of the Broadcasting Corporation of The Bahamas. The views and opinions expressed in the column are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual. This column is for informational purposes only.