Another Priority: Protecting Homeowners
While reviewing the voluminous news in the blogmaster’s inbox this morning the following podnote from Bloomberg piqued the interest. The content is not 100% relevant to Barbados, it targets US consumers. However, it reminded the blogmaster of the pressing need for local homeowners to be protected at a time COVID 19 continues to wreck havoc on homeowners.
In one of many national addresses delivered by Prime Minister Mia Mottley a few weeks ago, she advised us that Minister Ryan Straughn was assigned the task of working with the “financial sector to address the issue of retail and commercial mortgages and loans, to allow individuals to have a greater level of certainty over the next 18 to 24 months”. She went on to include utilities in the rescue effort. It is more than one month since she issued the statement and the blogmaster is not aware of a progress update. As the saying goes – while the grass is growing, the horse is starving.
We are also reminded that the Barbados Association of Retired Persons (BARP) in 2013 promised then that reverse mortgages were to have been available ‘as early as this year’. A search of several websites of financial entities while blogging on the issue this morning came up empty.
The prevailing economic circumstances triggered by the rampaging pandemic has created an urgent need to expand the definition by government of who are vulnerable groups. There is a large so-called middleclass unable to meet monthly mortgage payments who must be protected. So-called because this group is a paycheck or two away from returning to the family house to beg for a lodging. In the current market not only do they stand the risk of losing homes but the equity which represents years of labour as they struggled to achieve the dream of owning a piece of the rock.
The blogmaster is always the first to acknowledge that “uneasy upon the head who wears the crown”. We are living in unprecedented times and when the politician comes to mind, we are reminded of Joseph Conrad’s “words, as is well known, are the great foes of reality”. Barbadians must continue to believe that our leaders charged with the job of navigating the global tempest that currently assails small and large nations – small island developing states being more vulnerable – will be successful in the undertaking of avoiding the rocks, reefs and other obstacles of the time.