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Peoples United Party

Secretariat

Office of the Leader of the Opposition


Independence Hall Belize City, Belize
Tuesday, 10 January 2012 For Immediate Release

OPPOSITION DEMANDS INVESTIGATION ON SSB MORTGAGE DEBT PROGRAM

In his New Year message, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced that Government would purchase all mortgages of 50 thousand dollars and under, owned by the Belize Social Security Board. According to Barrow, these mortgages were about 780, with a total aggregate value of 17 million dollars. The intention is that GOB will thereafter write off these mortgages, forgiving the householders all of their loan obligations, and putting that money at their disposal to spend on the economy and generate more activity. The Peoples 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 paid $20,000 to the SSB for a mortgage with a balance of about $69,000.00 in respect of a loan which was originally held by Saint James National Building Society and which was securitized to the Royal Merchant Bank of Trinidad and Tobago (RBTT) via the SSB. Furthermore, several select members of staff of the SSB were advised on what was necessary in order to qualify for a write off, and were allegedly given recommendations by the CEO of SSB to obtain loans at commercial banks and other lending institutions in Belize to borrow to pay down these mortgages to take their balances below $50,000.

Serve the People!


#3 Queen Street, Belize City Telephone: 674-9958 Facsimile: 223-3476 Email: pupsecretariat@yahoo.com

Peoples United Party


Secretariat

According to our sources, payments were made to the cashiers at the various SSB offices, but the majority was paid via the Belmopan office. It is further alleged that these select members of staff of the SSB persons have already secured a firm commitment from the CEO that once the balances of $50K (and lesser amounts) are forgiven by GOB, these same staff members will be facilitated with new staff loans to pay back the commercial banks; and then be able to pay at a concessionary rate of 8% on a declining balance on any monies still owed. These loans are all categorized as Class A loans meaning that these are loans with excellent performance and with a very low default risk.

Prime Minister Barrow has said on local media that the intention is to write off mortgages thereby relieving the holders of their obligations and putting more money in the hands of those who need it most. If this program was ever meant to help struggling Belizeans, then what is happening at the SSB can only be described as a travesty. The Friends and Family plans coupled with the Feast or Famine approach of this UDP administration is bankrupting our nation, morally and fiscally; and Belizeans deserve better. On behalf of the people of Belize, as the constitutional Opposition, the PUP demands an immediate investigation of the entire scheme of SSB mortgage debt write off. We call upon those Board members of the SSB, especially those representing the Private Sector and the Trade Unions to speak out on this matter and to join our call for answers on this serious and burning issue. As Fiduciaries of the monies of thousands of Belizean contributors, all Board members of the SSB are responsible - and liable - for the management of those monies including how that hard-earned money is spent. ### ends ###

Serve the People!


#3 Queen Street, Belize City Telephone: 674-9958 Facsimile: 223-3476 Email: pupsecretariat@yahoo.com