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Jan 3, 2012

$17 Million Housing Loans write-off; who pays?

Michael Finnegan

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.

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24 Responses for “$17 Million Housing Loans write-off; who pays?”

  1. Storm says:

    This amounts to theft of taxpayer money, or sheer Communism — taking money from some hardworking people, and making a gift of it to other people.

    No matter what lie they tell to justify it, it is PUBLIC money, and that means, one way or the other, you and your children will pay it.

    So, there’s a Merry Christmas kick in the rear end for most of us!

  2. Lucas says:

    Not so fast. SOCIAL SECURITY OWES GOVT. SOME MONEY. Isn’t that money owed to govt. not then taxpayers money?. I believe helping the needy is an obligation but with my own money not with someone else money; especially when that money is badly needed for something more urgent, for example: providing the BDF with much needed equipment and man-power to properly patrol our western border. No matter how Barrow spins it, he is screwing us taxpayer. I would shut my mouth if the money Barrow is using was his own money but Barrow must feel good helping some by screwing others. Was it not Boots who said that NO PUP WOULD EAT FROM THE UDP TABLE? Who can convince me other-wise that these lucky 750 people were not proplerly selected to be UDPs?. Yet Barrow stands before the nation to congratulate himself and expects us to applaud his philanthropy.

  3. Rod says:

    Thief thief thief yes all the tax payers will be paying for this some way or the other now this gov is just out right the thief the belizean people worse gov. And pm in the history of this great nation.

  4. Mosh says:

    Mr. Finnegan, regarding that the SSB owed the government for some money, we di people will end up paying for this transaction. We pay SSB contribution,we pay GOB taxes. Use our money effective. Reduce cost of living, if you do not reduce fuel, for the least fix our streets. Help the needy, send your officers to search for the poor people that has the needs for a house. Come on, help who needs it.

  5. RENE says:

    this is complete and utter non sense that we have to foot the bill for all these people… Oh.. maybe the honorable minister has not payed a cent to the social security thats why he thinks that its not the people money.. how does he think ssb get money.. i have to pay it weekly.. this da lone fool.. they poor of the poor get to use the hospitals the most and contribute the less.. have more kids. so the use education more…. the get christmas hampers, and now we paying off thier house… the rich of the rich get tax havens, big contracts.. who is looking out for the middle class that continues to pay more and more to keep this country running

  6. MACAL RIVERA says:

    I CONGRATULATE THE GOB FOR THIS MOVE TO HELP THE LESS FORTUNATE, I HAVE NO PROBLEM THEM USING MY HARD EARN MONEY TO HELP THESE PEOPLE, AT LEAST THEY ARE NOT TAKING THE MONEY TO SEND ABROAD IN THEIR BANK ACCOUNT!!!! HAHAHAH THEY MONEY IS BEING ACCOUNTED FOR AND ITS TIME FOR THE PEOPLE OF THIS COUNTRY TO GET SOME BENEFIT AND HELP, JOHNNY BRICENO SAID IN ON NATIONAL TV, WHEN HE TOLD HIS FELLOW THIEVES TO BRING BACK THE MONEY THEY TOOK FROM THE POOR BELIZEAN PEOPLE, HELL THAT IS SOMETHING TO RAIL UP ABOUT.
    DEAN BARROW YOU DO WHAT YOU HAVE TO DO OK, AND PLEASE WRITE OFF THE DFC HOUSING LOANS TOO PLEASE PM.

  7. Bzean says:

    SSB money is the people’s money. Since when is SSB a private entity. Everyone pays social security. Even our politicians are ignorant or pretending to be so.

  8. O.Walk Observer says:

    Sheer madness, Mr. Finnegan is saying that the most marginalized, the poorest of the poor shall benefit from this program; not so, I know of a guy who gets arround $5,000 monthly and his balance is arround $27,000 so he will get off; do you consider this guy poor?? Maybe by THEIR standards yes, but he can more than afford to pay and is paying; for what sensible reason should his mortage balance be write off?? Can’t think of any!
    What about increasing social security benefits, increasing the income tax bracket or personal relief, lowering gas prices, cost of living, better medical attention, educational programs, fixing roads etc.etc. the list can go on and on. Do not continue milking the middle and working class, remember that evntually the goose that lays the golden egg can and will die.

  9. ABC says:

    We are not asked to pay social security weekly, this is taken out of our salary without question, this is not GOB’s money it is our money. Which one of u idiots has applied for a loan at social security for $60,000 and gotten it, we work and we don’t qualify for a $5000 loan much less these loans being written off. Don’t be stupid ppl, we pay our taxes and we don’t get any damn benefits, d big shots can get all d cuts they like and be given it free too. $#!% dis da lone $#!%, christmas for who?? Publish d name of d ppl who benefit from these write offs, that wud b atleast a little transparent.

  10. Indy says:

    This is the same thing the PUP did. They forgave housing loans in their term. In addition they took Venezuela money that was designated for housing to campaign money. UDP is now doing the same thing for campaign. What they should have done is just lowered the interest rates so that the people can make payments instead of giving them hand out and create more dependency.

    Politicians should stop creating dependency and make people solve their own problems. Less government in peoples matters is what we need. Government is there to protect us/sovereignty and create jobs. They are not there to pay our debts.

  11. Teacher says:

    Where is Lois Young’s Association of Concerned Belizeans?

  12. Get it right says:

    Wow you people are just so covered in Blue paint that no matter what this government does to help the poor, you will criticize because you are not benefitting from this write off. This government is helping a lot of poor people, and get this, most of these people who will feel relief are PUP to the bone supporters. Quit complaining and start contributing to the upliftment of the country you. Jelousy brings nothing but hate. Get that attitude out of your system and your life will be more at peace. UDP will win the next election so just get over it.

  13. rod says:

    macal rivera tha people like you we have this country in the dumps you must owe alot of money for your house which you will get for free from the backs of the other poor belizeans.

  14. CEO says:

    Myveit I like you and the idea to help is good but come on! Government only have one place that they get money from: the people! So SSB money is the GOB money which is the peoples money!

    The group that is targeted for help is also good however, just writing the loans off is eeh! You should find creative ways of making the property owners pay. Here are a couple ideas:
    1) if you are a public servant who have retired or about to be retired I can see cutting them some slack; say half the balance and let them do some voluntere work if they can.

    2) If you have never served your country then feninance the balance at zero percent and if you are of working age then have them serve the public in some manner for a set amount of hours over the next few years.

    3) if you are a senior member of society fefinance the balance at a zero percent.

    4) if you are senior and they write off the mortgage then the property should revert back to the government when the current person living there passes away. This way someone else who needs help can occupy the dwelling and perhaps that person can buy it. This way the country and government never really looses out completely and many more can be helped.

    Much could be done to help the poor but it does not have to be free for all! Have them paint and clean public buildings. Trim headges, clean the parks, establish youth programs, after school care for children….

  15. kay says:

    We that are paying DFC are not in this “Jolly-gift-giving spree” because our “housing loans” were created or given under the PUP government (PUP manifesto project) so automatically we get disqualified from the “UDP TABLE” We don’t get the priviledge to boast that “OUR” government gave us a “break”. Thanks for NOTHING Mr PM. Happy New Year to you too!!!

  16. lino says:

    Why not give a tax break to productive citizens who pa all their taxes-again-reward the lazy-what about the middle class-the true middle class like in Freetown and carib shores

  17. Earl Grey says:

    SOCIAL SECURITY should be used to help people and NOT AS THE GOVERNMENTS PIGGY BANK.

    THEY ARE JUST BUYING ELECTIONS……as usual.

  18. hmm says:

    i support it now that i understand i wont ahve to pay for it with my taxpayer dollars. i hope this comment is posted to show that the website is not biased. i did not support at fi rst but now i thihk its ok after i hear the explanation from finnegan.

  19. ned says:

    These are the loans that the PUP minister of Housing made between 1998 and 2003. These loans were some 90% NPL loans that were made to Belizean and I would bet mostly PUP without proper collateral. The GOB is trying to make this sound very pro poor and it maybe be but the reality is that they would never have been able to recover these loans anyway. It is indeed very humours that all the smart heads in this blog forget who issued these loans in the first place.

  20. JoBro says:

    I said it before and I will say it again to all stupid Belizean.
    STOP PAY Social Security. Everyone in Belize must do this. Then the Social Security system will be broke and crumble within months.
    Hide the money you pay the SS under you mattress or in Credit Union. By the time you retire you will be rich and have enough to live comfortable until you die or get murdered.
    Do Not Give Your Money To the THIEF at Social Security.
    They live good, work in a/c all day, drive nice rides, drink and screw around with Your Money and when you retire thay give you . . . WHAT? . . . $125. a month. WHAT A JOKE !!!
    CLOSE DOWN SOCIAL SECURITY NOW ! ! !

  21. Do the Maths says:

    That social security loan write works like this:

    1. Social Security (Lois is Chair and Net sits on the Investment Committee at SSB) buys $50Mil worth of BTL (Net is the Chair and Lois is BTL’s secretary) shares.
    2. Soc Sec owes GOB for those shares.
    3. GOB assumes Soc Sec loans
    4. GOB then writes off the loans.
    5. Taxpayers are shafted.

    Happy Endings, folks.

  22. 100% BELIZEAN says:

    Hey! By this time we should all know that this pill head goverment keep saying that he is helping the poor people RIGHT?Yes he is helping some people but messing up others like spending our money ,braking houses,chopping cane field,saling the sugar to guatemala just living us with trash…just cause they they paying more money and alot more stupidness that he is doing,, why we can’t understand that he is like MR.CRAB AL HE SEE IS $$$$$$$$$$$$$$ thats all he cares.?he is not that stupid to spend his money in our belizean people! And guess what we are the stupid ones that FOR ELECTIONS DAY WE WILL GO AND VOTE FOR HIM AGAIN…AND AGAIN…AGAIN

  23. spanglish says:

    NO MATTER WHAT ANYONE SAY THIS GOVERNMENT IS DOING FAR BETTER THAT THE PREVIOUS ONE, I WILL NEVER FORGET MUSA WORD THAT WILL BLOW AWAY LIKE WAN LEE BREEZE, AFTER THE JAM THE BUCCUT IN OUR @$$,
    WDF!!!! UDP WILL WIN ANOTHER TERM, AND I HOPE THEY FINISH THEIR WORK BEFORE VIP TAKES OVER.
    PUP NEVER AGAIN!!!! NEVERRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
    NOT AGAIN, SAME OLD PIECES OF STINKING $$#!%!!!!!!!

  24. ProudBelizean says:

    CEO, you really brought very good points. Maybe PM should hire you for his Advisor. This here is just nonesense. When have the poor been able to access SSB Funds for house or even for medical assistance? NEVER!!!

    Its just a way of BUYING OUT THE ELECTIONS. Its a slop on the face of hard working Belizeans. Good thing report card day is near for this government.

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