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Belize: $17 Million Housing Loans Write-Off

Article Summary:

A total of seven hundred and eighty persons that will benefit from the write-off a loan write-off program in Belize. The government says it will purchase from the Belize Social Security Board (S.S.B.), all mortgages at or below fifty thousand dollars. The mortgages were originally with the Ministry of Housing before they were transferred to the S.S.B.

Photo Credit: Channel 5 Belize

Original Article Text From channel 5 Belize:

$17 Million Housing Loans write-off; Who Pays?

The Prime Minister’s New Year’s message offered a gift to persons who owe thousands of dollars to the Belize Social Security Board (S.S.B.). The government says it will purchase from S.S.B., all mortgages at or below fifty thousand dollars. The mortgages were originally with the Ministry of Housing before they were transferred to the S.S.B. The announcement of the New Year’s goodies, has unleashed a firestorm from persons who believe that taxpayers will pay for electioneering. News Five today spoke to Minister Michael Finnegan who says that after the purchase is complete, the government will write off seventeen million dollars in mortgages.

Michael Finnegan, Minister of Housing
“It’s a government that is living up to its promise to help those at the bottom of the economic ladder in the country—meaning the poor, the marginalized, the underprivileged, etcetera. It is a government program to lift them from the bottom up.”

Jose Sanchez
“These loans were originally housing loans or they were transferred?”

Michael Finnegan
“Most of these loans were originally housing loans, but during last term of government when they were dealing with this securitization program with the Royal Merchant Bank of Trinidad, they passed off these people’s mortgages without telling them anything and sold them to the Social Security Board so as to give the impression to the Royal Merchant Bank in Trinidad and Tobago that the government had mortgages that were operating and to fool them in Trinidad.”

Jose Sanchez
“How much millions are we talking about that people won’t have to pay?”

Michael Finnegan
“The loan values some seventeen odd million dollars, but government will not pay that for it because Social Security owes government some money and I think government will get these mortgages that are valued at some seventeen million dollars for some six million dollars.”

Jose Sanchez
“So it is not something that; cause I know some people are assuming that the taxpayers are probably going to have to foot the bill?”

Michael Finnegan
“No, no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no tall at all. Social Security owes government some money; these are some seventeen point nine million dollars worth of loans and because of the swap off that government will do with Social Security, government will be paying some six million dollars for these mortgages. So it is not government going out there and will have to find six million dollars or extra money out there. That is not the case at all, at all.”

Jose Sanchez
“The only requirement then is that the loans are below a certain amount?”

Michael Finnegan
“All these loans—almost seven hundred and eighty loans—but they are all within the range of fifty and below. But if you break them down, if you break them down, most of the loans are between sixteen thousand, seventeen thousand, twenty-odd thousand, thirty-odd thousand, etcetera.”

Jose Sanchez
“Okay, last question: is this a preview to an early election?”

Michael Finnegan
“This has nothing to do with early elections. I don’t know when the elections are going to be called; that is the prerogative of the Prime Minister so I don’t know that. But this has got to do with the philosophy of a government; that a government that is bent hell on bringing the small people from the bottom of the economic ladder to another level on the ladder.”

There are a total of seven hundred and eighty persons that will benefit from the write-off.

Link to Original Article:

From Channel 5 Belize

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