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Shantytown nearly cleared out, lawyer says

  • Residents in the aftermath of a fire at a shantytown off Joe Farrington Road. FILE

Guardian Senior Reporter

Published: Oct 02, 2013

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Only 10 residents remain at the Joe Farrington Road shantytown which was ravaged by fire in July, said the landowners’ attorney Senator John Bostwick II.

According to the National Emergency Management Agency, more than 100 people were left homeless and at least 30 homes were destroyed after the fire.

Earlier this year, government officials said an estimated 400 people lived in the community.

A demolition order from the government expired on Monday.  However, Bostwick said his clients do not have the money to raze the remaining structures.

He said they would not resist demolition if government work crews tear the homes down.

“They haven’t gotten anything further from government,” Bostwick said.

“They have not removed all of the structures, but from my last report, there are only about 10 people left on the site and some structures [remain].

“The government is aware that these people are trying to work with them. They are prepared to tear them down, they are willing to have the [structures] bulldozed and carted away.  If government moves to do that there will be no resistance.”

Bostwick said the fire burned through the southern portion of the land, which contained most of the homes.

In September, Environment Minister Kenred Dorsett said the government may soon prosecute shantytown landowners who have not met environmental and building standards.

Bostwick has said his clients have mostly complied with the government’s orders to clean up the shantytown and do not expect prosecution since most of the residents have moved out.

A report completed by the Department of Environmental Health Services, which was released earlier this year, indicated there were at least 15 Haitian shantytowns in New Providence.

Researchers found a “marked indifference to the extremely unhealthy conditions by those that occupy the shanties”.

While speaking in the House of Assembly in June, Dorsett vowed to crack down on these communities.

He said there would be consequences for people who live in shantytowns if they were found breaking the law.

It is not clear where the former residents of the Joe Farrington Road have relocated.

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