‘Use Catastrophe Fund to help homeowners’
Opposition Member of Parliament for St George North Gline Clarke believes Government should use its Catastrophe Fund to help Barbadians in danger of losing their homes because of financial challenges.
Zeroing in on the announced increase in the Bank Asset Tax in his contribution to the debate on the 2016 Financial Statement and Budgetary Proposals on Wednesday night, Clarke was adamant that the imposed levy would create more hardship for residents.
“The Catastrophe Fund by nature was designed to help people, and if you have a situation where a person is laid off . . . nobody in the house is working, why can’t you use the Catastrophe Fund to ensure that that person does not lose his only investment?” he questioned. “We can use this fund to help ordinary Barbadians to get over and get through this.”
Clarke lamented that some homeowners and businesses were losing their investments because some financial institutions refused to help. He suggested that regulations should be put in place to both penalize such institutions and reward those that assist.
“I believe that a tax on the bank assets and the credit unions assets needs careful regulation. We need to look very carefully at how it is going to be applied. When banks give credit in terms of mortgages, when they give loans, either to householders or businesses, then we need to help that bank that is helping.
“But those banks that are not helping the situation – because in recent times a number of financial institutions have not been helping ordinary Barbadians, especially with their mortgagees – we need to look at this and therefore those financial institutions that are willing to help Barbadians get over this difficult period I believe that some rebates should be given,” Clarke recommended.
The Opposition parliamentarian also chastised the Freundel Stuart administration for the level of taxation, while advising Government to introduce innovative programmes to ensure that “Barbadians that are suffering because of the economic situation” get the help they need.