On Thursday, February 4 the Senior Island Administrator Charles Moss assembled heads of government departments including the Police and Defence Force for a walk through and familiarization of the shanty town communities known as the Mudd and Pigeon Pea.
Mr. Moss said the walkthrough was meant to give a view to what is going on in these communities, “to see if there are any deficiencies, business license or building control issues, electrical and environmental health. Suffice it to say we found deficiencies in all the areas.”
During the walkthrough it was observed that there appeared to be several new shanty homes built in the area of the Pigeon Pea that was destroyed by fire over two years ago despite an order existing for no new construction. There were also several more new structures observed in the Mudd community.
Ministry of Works Engineer for Abaco, William Krezel, posted stop work orders on more than a dozen structures between the communities which require the builder to remove what was built or face having it demolished.
Head of the Business License Department, Gaynell Rolle also inspected several business licenses that were out of order or expired. Shop owners were advised to go to the Business License Department to apply for a valid license before April 1, 2016.
With mounting fears of the Zika virus (a mosquito borne virus) as well as others like Dengue, the Department of Environmental Health has conducted fogging exercises throughout the island including around the shanty towns where there are often many sources of standing water – a fertile breeding ground for mosquitos.
Residents of these communities in particular are asked to ensure that septic tanks, holes etcetera are properly covered and any standing water emptied out.
With the big problem of trash in and around the communities from derelict vehicles to household garbage there also is a rodent problem in the area. According to one source; however, despite repeated requests since early last year the local DEHS does not have rat poison available to assist in curbing the vermin.
During their walkthrough, the administrator and police discovered a significant cache of suspected marijuana in an unfinished wooden structure. The drugs were confiscated but no suspect was arrested.
Mr. Moss, who arrived in Abaco in December 2015, reviewed the issues observed during the tour of the communities and suggested each department work on the respective concerns.
He said that he “will address these concerns to the persons who are responsible for them and hopefully they will correct those issues and moving forward.”