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January 12, 2009


Erasmus Folly

Nassau and Briland could definitely use one of these studies as well. Our leaders need to understand that they must begin to have a vision for the Bahamas in the 21st century. They must move from a government strategy of simply 'fixing pot holes' and start thinking about what kind of high tech 'road' we will need moving forward as a nation. We must move from REACTION to planned and concerted ACTION! Until this transition occurs, we are doomed to suffer more of the same. WAKE UP BAHAMAS!

Dave Ralph

Your observations on Abaco got it right.

I think Andrews University is way off base on their vision for The Mud.

1) The land is low and prone to flooding in hurricanes - four feet of salt water in one of the recent ones. Most of a person's possessions are in the first four feet. Commercial interests would fill the land to acceptable heights but I don't think these people have the funds or insight to do this.

2) They are squatters on government land. Can government afford to set a precedent that if you persevere in your squatting, you will win? Do Bahamians have this right?

3) Equating the density there to Hope Town is interesting but not a valid reason to approve of the practice.

4) Allowing them to eventually acquire the land they are on does not improve their squalour. They are living much better than they were accustomed to in Haiti. It is not likely that ownership of the land they are on will cause them to rebuild their houses to code.

5) Allowing them to continue to exist under ghetto-like conditions allows new illegal immigrants safe haven as the area is not policed and not under public scrutiny. The police and others do go in there but there is no effort made to monitor whether the population is static or increasing.

6) Andrews U had some cute solutions, one being landscaped drainage ditches leading to the harbour. All I could visualize was a ditch full of cans, bottles, refrigerators, garbage and other debris. I think it will require education and enforcement of current laws before they change their living habits. Even then it will be as a result of moving out of the Mud and getting re-established in Spring City or other Bahamian areas.

7) I think The Mud's eventual future lies in commercial or public uses. Commercial ventures would have the capital and motivation to raise the land to acceptable heights to avoid persistent flooding. Public use might include sports fields or a public park. These can be on low land as occasional flooding is generally harmless.

8) Bahamians must jump through hoops and dance on one leg to get connected to BEC power. The Haitians cannot be given electricity as they cannot produce the necessary documents.
Relaxing the rules, any of them, for Mud residents would be a political nightmare, whether for electricity, water. shop licenses, building code, septic tanks and drain fields, etc. The Mud and Pigeon Peas are full of shops, nightclubs, bars, restaurants and the like. These are all to their standards, not ours - big difference. One of my suggestions was to relax the rules slightly on peddler's licenses in an attempt to bring these businesses somewhat into the light of day as a first move to get the area legitimate. Nothing happened; maybe it was a bad idea.

It was an interesting study, with many elements that are worth considering or implementing, but others that are not feasible - in my view.

Dave Ralph

Abaco has four of these Haitian ghettos, The Mud, Pigeon Peas, Sand Banks outside Treasure Cay and the un-named farm settlement in the Norman's Castle farm area.

These are all growing, expanding unchecked. A fifth is developing in the forest just off the Treasure Cay highway on the road leading to the farm area.

Andrew Curry

How about a follow up piece on how the Bahamas Government has raped and pillaged this Island.

In the past 16 years Abaco has contributed more than $800 million to the public treasury. What have we received back? Less than 10%. Most of this on the watch of the Prime Minister from Abaco.

This thing you call local government is a joke. Abaco has not been given the money or the power to make decisions for it self. Period. Real local government collects money at the local level and uses those funds to make things happen. With real local government you can actually make decisions at the local level, implement them and pay for them.

You want to talk about the Mud and how ugly Marsh Harbour is. That's old news. We live here. How about you talk about why things are the way they are. NOTHING happens without money and power.

We have had the same shack for an airport for more than 30 years. The new runway sits unused for a year now and you want to talk about town planning. Get real man. Wake up.

People in Abaco are so used to having to raise money for things that government should supply that we don't think about it any more. Any thing of beauty you see in Marsh Harbour is donated. Three quarters of all the money and volunteer work on the keys are provided by the second home owner because they love the Bahamas. Thank God for them.

The Bahams government does nothing for this island. We are the black sheep. While you might be right that Marsh Harbour is the ugliest city in the country we still are not the sewer that Nassau is.

Why don't you do this community a service and write something that can make a difference. Why don't you ask the prime minister some tough questions.

Andrew Curry

The mud is a huge problem. Who is going to tell them they have to move? Abaco has a lot of public land. Who is going to pay for the low cost housing? This is problem number one of many.

drew Roberts

"Real local government collects money at the local level and uses those funds to make things happen."

Bing, bing, bing!

The other good thing this would bring about is a training ground...

So, how do we get this done?


Ken Chaplin

Right on the money!

I have a lot of faith in Abaco and I think it is our “best bet” island in the Bahamas (that is why I own property there) but I feel the same way – dismayed that there is no planning for Marsh Hr. and the Abaco Highway will end up looking like Prince Charles drive if we/they are not careful.

If there is any silver lining to this recession it will be that we take another look at future developments in the Bahamas – without doubt, - the best idea is Schooner Bay...we need to get that up and running as a successful model asap, and scrap plans for developments like Rum Cay, Ritz Carlton, Royal island etc...

Keep it up!!

Joseph Gibson

This was an extraordinary piece. An education on one of the areas of the Bahamas with a real history.

Bob Knaus

Andrew hits the nail on the head. Effective local government is the key. I am glad to see others picking up the torch.

Orjan Lindroth

Thank you for analyzing the issues and bringing them to the public forum, which is seriously needed to encourage positive change.

I am also going to re-read Alice-in-Wonderland!


Local govt would be the way until we realize it will just bring the pillaging of the treasury down to the local level. Besides it would mean the capital doing with less...
Ain't no way that will happen.
Look at the shining examples in the capital that we have to follow when it comes to ethics.
we need to get to the point that we castigate the crooks among us who have "mini doc" mentalities and educate the sheep that vote for them.

Delawrence Charles Blue

I was born in Lake City, Abaco, Bahamas in 11/27/1966. I am only 213.28 miles away in North Miami, Florida. Based on my research and love for my place of birth. I am planning to produce a movie on Abaco and helping the local officials to bring $1 billion dollars for development to Abaco. As the son of a poor Haitian widow the 5 Haitian Ghettos must be protected and afforded legal status.

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