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Christie: Governemnt Will Carry On With Mortgage Relief Plan

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Prime Minister Perry Christie

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Staff Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE government will move forward with its promised mortgage relief plan under "strict consultation", Prime Minister Perry Christie confirmed yesterday.

Mr Christie said his administration also plans to meet with Moody's to discuss the top Wall Street credit agency's scathing review of the programme.

"As a government we're moving forward and we're moving forward with the programme that we were elected upon," Mr Christie said.

"We've always indicated that our plan is well thought out, well considered, that we had consulted some bankers in The Bahamas on it, and other experts on it. As a government, everything will be done on strict consultation and to serve the best interest of the Bahamian people."

The leading Wall Street firm said the Christie administration's plan undermined efforts to rein in the $4.356 billion national debt, and warned that the scheme will likely cost Bahamian taxpayers $250 million to implement.

The mortgage relief plan seeks to strike an agreement with banks and institutional lenders to write off unpaid interest and fees for homeowners facing foreclosure in return for government guaranteed interest payments for five years, 2017. The proposal also includes working with banks and lenders to implement a 120-day moratorium on foreclosures and extend the loan repayment period under defaulting mortgages.

In his defence of the government's proposal, Minister of State for Finance Michael Halkitis said Moody's credit agency did not fully understand what the government intended to do, and had based their report on "erroneous" assumptions.

Referring to the US State Department's Crime and Safety Report at a special thanksgiving service yesterday, Mr Christie said the government must pay strict attention to external reports concerning the country. Drafted to assist American travellers and businesses, the annual report rated New Providence's criminal threat level as "critical" - and for the first time rated Grand Bahama's level as "high", putting the island on a par with the Dominican Republic.

Mr Christie said: "People are influenced by the reports, so clearly we have to be very concerned about it. Crime is a matter that we feel is a top priority, we indicated that the country was in crisis.

"You would recall during the campaign that we put up statistics and the former government thought it was harmful to the tourism product and so we agreed they would be withdrawn. Clearly we are dealing with an issue that is profoundly important to the way forward for our country that is why our government is resolute in our commitment to begin virtually immediately to launch a fight against crime."

Mr Christie said the government has already begun rolling out the infrastructure to launch key crime-reducing initiatives such as Urban Renewal 2.0 and national security reform.

Speaking at the service yesterday, Deputy Leader Philip Brave Davis reaffirmed the government's commitment to providing relief.

"It will be our mission that we keep our people first," Mr Davis, Minister of Works and Urban Development, said.

"Even if it means declining to deal those physical things, like infrastructure, but first the people, we move to relieve their suffering."

Comments

concernedcitizen 9 years, 8 months ago

opps we said we consulted with all the stakeholders to make a workable plan while we were campaigning ,now we are going to have "strict consultation "' blaa blaa blaa since all the real work is done roads ,ports ,strawmarkets ....we have come to the conclusion through are" strict consultation" that we need to spread some money around to our handpicked supporters to ensure our victory in the next election ...so nany nany boo boo to moodys and any other finacial experts ... blahh blahhh blahhhh

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Concerned 9 years, 8 months ago

It is so surprising that all the previous Moody reports on the Bahamas under the previous government were correct and now under a new administration Moody doesn't know what it is doing. The hypocrisy is choking.

The U.S. was only able to offer a mortgage bailout because it has the financial backing to do it. The Bahamas does not have this. As I look through the Bahamas bank repossessed listings I don't see many homes worth less that $200K, so is mortgage relief really helping the small man or people who overstretched their means to keep with the Joneses and now have to suffer. What the government needs is a trade in scheme; give us your oversized house and we will give you a lower priced house that you can actually afford. In fact, do you really need a house and mortgage? Renting is so much cheaper in the long run. We've falsely sold our people on the notion that unless you actually own a house, you aren't anything.

Anyway, fortunately for me I have ways to move my money out Bahamian banks and into the U.S. and Canadian market and will start doing so the moment this silly proposal is passed. That way I have no worries for when the BS dollar is devalued. My hard earning savings, by sweat and sacrifice, is not going to degrade because of egos to political leaders to fulfill nonsensical election promises.

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242 9 years, 8 months ago

If the BSD is devalued that would be VERY hard to fix

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concernedcitizen 9 years, 8 months ago

how many people spent their mortgage with the numbers man and sweethearting ??i live on a small family islsnd and watched as many people didn,t change their spending habits one iota as income dropped during the recession ...

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TalRussell 9 years, 8 months ago

PM Christie you must listen to the concerns being posed. Every red penny to make the mortgage interest guarantees increases the risks back to your government's one and only source for money, the taxpayers. Get the hell completely out of the political mortgage and housing business. Return all government business back to private risk takers.

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mynameis 9 years, 8 months ago

Did anyone expect him to say otherwise? Really? Particularly after selling the "plan" so hard?

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notsogullible 9 years, 8 months ago

Anyone else thinking about stopping their mortgage payments to take advantage of the PLP's mortgage relief plan? If you good paying citizens continue to pay, you will be taxed to help the PLP out with the mortgage relief to their chosen few. How about let's all of us seek to have the PLP rescue us from our mortgage?

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concernedcitizen 9 years, 8 months ago

yes they propose a .05 % tax on good mortgage payers ....the PLP is stuck between a rock and a hard place now ..the FNM borrowed but i can see it ,roads ,hospitals etc ...will PM PGC gazzette all of the people that get the tax payers money that the country will have to borrow .."strict consultation" lmao ,thanks goodness i thought it might be just ,same old regular consultation...

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Cc 9 years, 8 months ago

Fa real. Further, if I stressin trying to keep my mortgage afloat, I think I deserve just as much assistance as those who ain been checkin at all. ai foresee every mortgage holder marchin on Bay, demandin Perry dem to pay up or shut up. What they do for one, they ga have to do fa all. This isn't 2002-2007. Bahamians are tuned in like never before. Perry, you will not get away with talking and talking about this mortgage thing until your term comes to a merciful end. You will be expected to DO SOMETHING. Ya might as well come clean and confess that you only told the yellow t-shirt -wearing people that foolishness ta get their votes. 'Fess up. The sooner the better.

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242 9 years, 8 months ago

That is the main reason why it is a bad idea. Moral would be low...."Why pay if there is a bail out"

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perspective 9 years, 8 months ago

ITS ALREADY BEGINNING.....THE CHANGE FROM HYPE TO REALITY. VAGUE CONJECTURES ARE NOT MEASURING UP.

BAHAMIANS WILL SOON REALIZE THE BIG MISTAKE THE MADE IN MAY 2012

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perspective 9 years, 8 months ago

CHRISTIE WILL ADHERE TO HIS AGENDA OF POLITICAL PANDERING.

HE WILL PRESENT A HOLOGRAM OF A CONSULTATIVE PROCESS AND WILL MAKE THE CHOICE THAT WILL POSSIBLE BE HARMFUL IN THE LONG RUN.

HIS BOTTOM LINE IS POLITICAL GLORY.......HE CAN'T MAKE THE TOUGH DECISIONS.

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dacy 9 years, 8 months ago

I have heard people say that if this happens they will stop paying their mortgage too...well I pay rent and wont benefit from this sweet deal.

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TalRussell 9 years, 8 months ago

Before the muti-millions are pumped into default mortgages it is far more effective to get out of the mortgage and construction of low-cost homes business and use it for rent subsidiaries. Both are a mistakes but the rental assistance monies can assist five to ten times the number of natives in need of financial relief. No government should talk about its revenues when the government has no revenue but collects taxes and rich folks in the Bahamas pay little to no taxes.

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notsogullible 9 years, 8 months ago

TalRussel you are really making sense on this issue. My respect to you comrade!

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TalRussell 9 years, 8 months ago

I may be a Comrade but not one for government spending money outside providing national security and the very basic of needs. The mortgage and housing business has never produced sufficient results for the hundreds-of-millions connective governments have injected into it. The FNM regime borrowed over $1 billion in just the past two years and the natives don't really have much that they can see and touch for it? And, if you wanted to smell lots of the dollars, to be paid back through taxes collected for up teen years to come, you'd have to get your hands on some of the loot that ended up with their financial backers, friends and supporters. Why else would any government even consider opening our waters to oil drilling and the numbers rackets if they didn't keep blowing the natives taxes they not only collect but keep on increasing?

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concernedcitizen 9 years, 8 months ago

sorry i can see where the money went ,roads ,hospitals,ports ,airports straw markets ,and before we go on about Hotmix ,wheres else could you get that much aspalht ..we keep going on about 200milliom r to JCC and hotmix ..that was the cost of the project not their profit ,,400 to 500 bahamians got a paid every week ,,,the bahamians at hot mix got paid ,the bahamian fuel supplier got paid ,etc etc

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TalRussell 9 years, 8 months ago

I have never once knocked any local company per say for doing work for the FNM regime. What many have question is the awarding of millions of dollars in contracts to any company of which a cabinet minister has an association of ownership with, regardless of at what arm’s length it may be. Simply walking out of the cabinet room when a vote is being taken does not fit well enough with what many think are the principles required to avoid undue government influence over personal financial benefits. If you had to leave the room then you must have had a reason to so, right? Wouldn’t you have leave the room more than a few times, including when the Baha Mar and Nassau Road Works projects go ahead vote was taken? What I am much more concerned with is how Baha Mar is being allowed to import their material directly from China cutting out the local suppliers from benefiting from anything but the scarp bones left over to dwindle up between them. I am all for locals getting rich but not for the rich having their golden wheel barrels rolling in and out of the native’s public treasury vaults.

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MartGM 9 years, 8 months ago

In response to the Baha Mar bit: When China invests in any country they ensure two things are met: 1) The majority (if not all) of laborers working on the project must be Chinese and 2) If the materials needed are made in China, they must be imported DUTY FREE from China. This is something they do all over the world in particularly in the Global South (or developing nations), including African countries and Central and South American countries. This is what happens when you get in bed with the Chinese...

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concernedcitizen 9 years, 8 months ago

i will still take 1billion to 2billion in FDI ,chinese or martian ??

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TalRussell 9 years, 8 months ago

Comrade MartGM your points are both factual and well made. But don't you think PM Christie has to do a lot more than just use his putting the native's first as some campaign slogan to unseat the FNM regime? The fact that Hubert is gone demonstrates that the real power rests in the hands of those with the mighty economic clout. With is bully office now yakked, his once mighty clout pretty damn mousey these days from Abaco.

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TalRussell 9 years, 8 months ago

More than leave the room when votes are being taken. What about the minister then leaving the cabinet room and returning to your immigration desk to sign work permits for foreigners to work on the same projects you were asked to leave the room on?

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Ironvelvet 9 years, 8 months ago

I'm for mortgage relief on proven evicted/homeless people as I'm hearing there are a growing number of families (yes kids too) sleeping in cars in Grand Bahama. The rest with their hand out because times are hard need to reshuffle their priorities and downsize. Yes, ConcernedCitizen I am with you on how most of them are living above their means anyway.

This is definitely not an easy fix and not one that will please everyone, but I will say that something does need to happen. Happen because its needed and is right.

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TalRussell 9 years, 8 months ago

The FNM was the party that preached private enterprise and allowing free markets to function, yet when the free money markets rejected putting their $11 million into a foreign corporation to make beer, that is exactly what Hubert did. But were they really what they preached, when they had more quick fix cash hand out programs than at anytime time in our Bahamaland's history? I remind you the government earns "no" revenue. They collect taxes and call it revenue. The quick fix cash handouts sure as hell didn't work for the FNM regime and it want get the economy rocking by bailing out with mortgage payment errors. I do not want to see a our Bahamaland turning into socialist state, be it under an FNM or PLP government.

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Arob 9 years, 8 months ago

PM Christie is trapped. Careful, "a coyote or fox will gnaw its paw off if caught in a trap".

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