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Bahamian Politics Last Updated: Jun 10, 2021 - 2:08:24 PM

DNA on shanty town demolition court order
By Arinthia S. Komolafe, Leader Democratic National Alliance
Jun 10, 2021 - 10:55:35 AM

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The Democratic National Alliance (DNA) notes the recent ruling by a Supreme Court judge which halted the ongoing demolition of shanty town structures and the response by Cabinet Ministers to this decision. Members of the Executive arm of government have come out to condemn the action of the Judiciary in the face of public outrage.

The separation of powers in theory and in practice are important tenets of our system of government. While many Bahamians disagree with the ruling, the law must always be followed and the independence of the Judiciary must be respected. We submit that the greatest travesty in this instance is not the ruling by the Supreme Court but rather the ineptness and duplicitous actions of successive administrations in relation to this matter. Equally as egregious is the fact that the Office of the Attorney General was either unaware or failed to advise the government to avoid this national embarrassment

The DNA believes in upholding the Rule of Law. We maintain that substandard and unsafe structures which violate our laws must be eradicated. The enforcement of our laws must be straight across the board and there cannot be two different standards or selective implementation of laws in our country. It is simply unacceptable to turn a blind eye to blatant violations of building codes and the laws of The Bahamas.

Bahamians want to know why it has taken the current FNM administration four years to address this vexing issue. While the government dragged its feet on the eradication of illegal structures and unhealthy living communities, new shanty towns developed across our nation. It is curious but not surprising that the Minnis administration has suddenly found the courage to address this issue in the lead up to the next general elections and another hurricane season. The old trick of appealing to the emotions, fears and frustrations of Bahamians to garner political support has been activated once again.

The demolition of illegal, unsafe and substandard structures should be ongoing in accordance with the law. It should not be a special occasion, grandstanding exercise or public relations initiative. Bahamians pay their taxes to fund the salaries of our political leaders and public servants. We expect them to do their jobs without expecting us to pat them on the backs for doing what they are being paid to do. The AG and the government must get their act together.

Arinthia S. Komolafe
Democratic National Alliance

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