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Bahamas: Shanty Legal Fight: Smith Warns Govt Cannot Use Dorian To Take Away People’S Property Rights

ATTORNEY Fred Smith says the property rights of residents from The Mudd and Pigeon Peas survived Hurricane Dorian’s destruction of buildings in their communities.

He suggested that though the government has issued a prohibition order against residential and commercial construction in the areas, the legal fight over the future of the property is not complete.

“The government couldn’t take away their property rights before Dorian and so the government cannot legally use the disaster of Dorian to now take away the same property rights that existed before Dorian,” he said. “Just like every other community, they have a right to rebuild.”

Many of The Mudd and Pigeon Peas residents are staying in shelters around New Providence, anxious about their next move. Some dream about going to the United States, some plan to relocate to Haiti but many say they want to return to Abaco.

Mr Smith, QC, said it is their right to have whatever remains of their community “respected just like everybody else in every other devastated community in Abaco.”

“Just because the shantytowns may not look nice or may not be built to code or they don’t smell nice or they are a poor community or that they are mainly composed of people of Haitian ethnic origin, doesn’t mean that they are not entitled to due process in respect of their property rights under Article 27 of the Constitution,” he said in a statement to The Tribune.

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