In his New Years Speech on December 29th 2011, Prime Minister of Belize Dean Oliver Barrow announced that Government would write off $17 million in housing loans with the Social Security Board. Here is a recap of what the P.M had to say.
Dean Barrow New Year’s Message
"I announce today that government will purchase all mortgages of $50,000 dollars and under owned by the Belize Social Security Board. These numbers 780 and have a total Aggregate Value of $17,000,000 dollars. Government will there after write off these mortgages forgiving the house holders all of their loan obligations and putting that money at their disposal to spend on the economy and generate more activity."
According to Barrow, government will spend approximately $6 million to acquire the loans worth $50,000 and less acquired by 780 persons. For many tax payers, the write off is clearly an election scheme to sweeten up voters for the upcoming municipal elections and at the rate things are going maybe even early general elections.
But what is of more concern is that recent reports indicate that top brasses of the Social Security Board and staff members will also be included in the write off. In a press release issued out today the P.U.P lashed out against the Government and demanded an investigation on the SSB Program.
The release states and we quote “The People’s United Party is informed that it is not just householders with mortgage loan obligations who will benefit. Purportedly, the CEO of the Social Security Board (SSB), Ms. Bailey Martinez has obtained a loan from the SSB staff program which has been reduced in order to benefit from the GOB mortgage write off program. Furthermore it is alleged that certain “select” members of staff of the SSB have obtained loans at commercial banks and other lending institutions in Belize, to pay down these mortgages, to take their balances below $50,000 in order to benefit as well.” End quote.
The release goes on to say and we quote, “It is further alleged that these select members of staff of the SSB have been promised that once the balances of $50K (and lesser amounts) are forgiven by GOB, these same staff members will be facilitated with SSB staff loans to pay back the commercial banks; so as to be able to pay at a concessionary rates on any monies still owed.” End quote.
The People’s Unite Party calls upon Board Members of the SSB, especially those representing the Private Sector and the Trade Unions to speak out on the matter and to join their call for answers on what they call a serious and burning issue.
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