Mortgage Forgiveness & Lower Light BillsThe Prime Minister's New Year's Message was released this evening, and it offers some surprising surgarplums.
In fact if you are one of the 700 plus persons who has a mortgage that's held by the Social Security Board, and the outstanding balance is less than fifty thousand dollars, we'd say it might be time to break out the bubbly!
That's because the entire balance on that mortgage will be written off - bought over by government as what's being called a gift to unburden the poor and middle class.
It's a tremendous weight off the shoulders of those homeowners and seems timed to coincide with what might be an early election.
Here's how the Prime Minister explained it:..
PM Dean Barrow
"I announce today that government will purchase all mortgages of $50,000 dollars and under owned by the Belize Social Security Board. These numbers 780 and have a total Aggregate Value of $17,000,000 dollars. Government will there after write off these mortgages forgiving the house holders all of their loan obligations and putting that money at their disposal to spend on the economy and generate more activity."
And so while that covers 780 loans, the PM's Message also has something for those not in that pool.
It's lower electricity rates. Yes, BEL has already announced that it is asking for a 3.4% decrease - which the PUC is reviewing.
But according to the PM, it's a done deal - and another outreach to the poor and middle class:..
PM Dean Barrow
"Our outreach to the poor and the middle class continues, they and indeed all Belizeans will be helped by the lower electricity rates that I promised in September and which are now a certainty. BEL owned at last by government and people has already accepted by way of its submissions to the Public Utilities Commission, that rates must come down, and the PUC may well reduce even more what has been proposed by BEL. The final decision will be on January 31st and the new lower rates should under the current law take effect a few months thereafter. But we are a government in a hurry to do good things and the ease to the consumer, the ease of the cost of living,
the ease to business and industry and agriculture cannot wait. Thus, government will amend the law to implement from the very next day February 1st, 2012, this historic decrease in what Belizeans pay for electricity."
And in some outreach to the business sector, The New Year's message also announces that government will also appoint business development facilitator.
The entire English language message will air as an ad later on in this newscast; it will air in Spanish after the news.