Expat bachelors to be segregated




SEGREGATED areas of Manama will be set aside for single male non-Bahrainis under a new proposal put forward by the Capital Trustees Board.

So-called “expatriate bachelors” have variously been accused of harassment, trespass and causing a nuisance by complainants to the capital’s new governing body, which replaced Manama Municipal Council last year.

In response, the Capital Trustees has proposed a new rule obliging all landlords to inform the Capital Trustees Executive Authority – formerly known as Manama Municipality – before any “expatriate bachelors” are taken on as tenants.

“Expatriate bachelors are involved in immoral activities and many families are complaining about their behaviour and attitude,” said trustees chairman Mohammed Al Khozaee.

“Confining them to designated areas will ensure that families are separated from these bachelors, which will ensure peace for all – rather than the current situation, which leads to numerous complaints.”

Mr Al Khozaee stressed that “no-one will be evicted” under the move, insisting that the “re-organisation” would only affect new tenants.

Some residential areas have become “ghettos”, the official said, filled with so-called “free visa” immigrants, who bought their way into Bahrain and have set up unregulated marketplaces selling merchandise and fresh produce.

“These marketplaces are illegal and despite being removed several times, the expatriate bachelors running them always come back,” said Mr Al Khozaee.

“Many families can’t even walk there, as the place is too crowded and they feel intimidated.” Although the idea of “expatriate bachelor” segregation has been approved in principle, a study must now be done to assess which areas of Manama should be cleared of single migrant workers, Mr Al Khozaee said.

“It is not just the location of their accommodation we are worried about but the accommodation itself, as many of these expatriate bachelors are forced to cram into old homes with 30 or more living in unhygienic conditions,” he said.

“Having landlords undergo municipal inspection before being allowed to rent out to expatriate bachelors will ensure they have fair living conditions.”

Migrant Workers Protection Society (MWPS) chairwoman Marietta Dias said the move was welcome, but only if the segregation resulted in better housing for those moved on.

“The Capital Trustees is obviously referring to labourers by saying ‘expatriate bachelors’, but they tried to put it in a nice way,” she said.

“These labourers already live in very bad conditions, so I cannot decide if the new restrictions are good unless they are promised good, convenient housing.

“The neighbourhood must be close to their work place because they won’t always find proper transportation.

“However, it is really rare to hear of incidents in which labourers are abusive or disturbing other people in their neighbourhood.

“The ones to be blamed are the landlords who cram 20 to 30 labourers in one house because they want them close to their places of work without paying too much for it.

“They are greedy and the authorities should discuss the problem with them first.”

Ms Dias said that the main reason unemployed labourers were seen selling goods on the streets was because they were trying to make some money to sustain themselves.

“They are poor and they have to do something to make a living,” she said.

“It is normal to see this happen, because these people are not offered anything by anyone and I don’t think that we can blame them for their actions.”

Source: http://www.gulf-daily-news.com/NewsDetails.aspx?storyid=394629

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