Bahamians owning a ‘piece of the rock’ is important, says MP

by: Jaimie Smith

Member of Parliament for Englerston Glenys Hanna-Martin spoke of the importance of land usage to Bahamians in the House of Assembly on Wednesday. 

“Land use planning is critical to the process of sustainable development. In developing land use planning it must be a participatory democracy; the people of a community must participate. The planning includes land management, zoning and culture green spaces, beaches, housing and schools.” 

She added that the planning for land usage does not only affect the current population, but rather future generations as well.  

“Adaptable planning is critical, it must be the vision of a forward-looking community.” 

Although she agrees that recreational parks are vital to communities, Hanna-Martin said that land ownership for Bahamian people is of utmost importance. 

“We must take measures to crawl back for the Bahamian people, some level of autonomy when it comes to land ownership and acceptability to land of our people. We will be like nomads in our own country if we cannot own land. We need to review that.”

Martin also addressed the necessity of Urban Renewal in inner-city communities throughout The Bahamas, in particular, in the constituency which she represents, Englerston. 

“This community (Englerston) and communities like it require a singular focus and level of aggression in terms of revitalization that cannot be constrained in any way. It must be an effort where significant resources are invested.” 

She added that measures must be taken to regenerate and nourish communities. Clearing of overgrown lots, demolishing of dilapidated buildings and removing derelict vehicles are a few of the matters she feels must be addressed. 

“These things affect the psyche of a people. They need to be removed and homes need to be restored. People are living today in conditions that require the urgent intervention of the government. We need to invest significant resources in ensuring that people below or at the poverty line who are living in sub standard housing have some level of decency in the way in which they live,” Martin lamented.

She added that Urban Renewal requires infrastructural enhancement through roads and streetlights and signage. 

Additionally, stimulus must be made for small businesses to go into these communities and bring new vitality there. “I am working with Urban Renewal in Englerston to bring an aggressive, sustained effort to revitalize the community of Englerston particularly as it relates to young people because most of the population in our country are young people,” concluded Martin.  

Published  Thursday, October 2, 2014 

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