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Gibson Denies Housing Allegations

By DANA SMITH dsmith@tribunemedia.net THERE is "zero evidence" of missing money or that homeowners were overcharged by the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation, according to former housing minister Shane Gibson. The PLP Golden Gates incumbent has come under fire from the FNM in recent weeks over allegations that he mismanaged the corporation (BMC) and caused millions in debt. FNM Elizabeth candidate and BMC chairman Dr Duane Sands said more than 800 homeowners were overcharged by the BMC from 2002 to 2007 through contingencies. He also stated the corporation's finances were mismanaged to the point where approximately $1.874 million held in BMC's name was found in bank accounts for which BMC had no record. Speaking in front of BMC yesterday morning, Mr Gibson said Dr Sands is lying and the accusations are meant to distract Bahamians from the FNM's "record of failure". Whenever the FNM is in trouble, "their lie-production machine goes into overdrive," he stated. "The FNM lies as easily as people breathe. They'll lie about anyone who gets in their way, but I seem to be a favorite." Dr Sands is the latest persons to do Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham's "dirty work," Mr Gibson said, with his "series of demonstrably false statements". "Let me tell you the facts: We came in and found a department that was millions in debt, without proper contracts or procedures, without enough engineers or inspectors. We fixed all that: paid the debt, instituted proper procedures, hired the right people. Then we built 1,400 homes for Bahamians," Mr Gibson said. "I'm proud of the work we did. I'm proud of what we accomplished, and proud of the way we did it, too. So, to be clear, Duane Sands is lying. He is not simply misleading the public, he is lying." There is zero evidence that homeowners were overcharged because it never happened, Mr Gibson stated. "There is no missing money, no accounts with my signature - all of that is lies, political theater and lies." He said reimbursement requests made by the housing director for BMC's sole account are based on cost overruns which make it impossible to overcharge homeowners. As for the loans that were granted during the PLP term and are currently in default, Mr Gibson said: "They're in default because the FNM mismanaged the economy, driving it into the ground, raising taxes and stopping projects and hiring foreigners, making a bad situation - the global recession - so much worse. "Have they pointed to any mortgages which were granted but should not have been? No, of course not." With the election looming, the FNM have come to "wave around some papers from years ago" and make a lot of noise, he stated. "Really, it's pathetic," Mr Gibson said. "They are counting on cooked-up charges to distract voters from their record of failure, it's just another sign of their contempt for Bahamians." "By now, everyone recognises the pattern: they throw out their lies, get the headlines they want. Then the facts show them to be flat-out wrong. Then they retreat until the next time, when they invent some new lies, make some new headlines."

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