Nevis Housing and Lands Development Corporation on brink of bankruptcy, says Minister Jeffers
NIA CHARLESTOWN NEVIS (MARCH 02, 2013) — Minister responsible for Housing and Lands in the Nevis Island Administration (NIA) Hon. Alexis Jeffers, said investigations into the state of the Nevis Housing and Lands Development Corporation (NHLDC) revealed that the statutory body was in a state of disarray and on the brink of bankruptcy.
The Minister was at the time making his first official presentation at the Nevis Island Assembly Chambers during the 2013 Budget Debate on April 30. 2013.
“Where does the Corporation stand? On the brink of bankruptcy, Mr. President. We have a dire situation up there irrespective of what they might say; up there is in a mess Mr. President and I don’t say that lightly, I am serious about it. Up there is in a colossal mess [and] it needs fixing,” he said.
According to Mr. Jeffers, since taking office late January, it was discovered that a number of missing documents and files at the Corporation for the period January 2007 to December 2012 were missing, among them check stubs, bank statements, lodgement books and custom entries, loan schedules,
He added that request for a list of businesses that conducted businesses with the Corporation was not available; a list of persons and employees who purchased building materials from the Corporation was incomplete while another for lands purchased by NHLDC detailing persons from whom lands were bought and the prices at which they were purchased were unavailable since the associated details and data was not documented.
The Minister also spoke to the 300 houses constructed by the Corporation at Cherry Gardens, under the former NIA.
“Three hundred houses, sounds good but they were building houses for people who obviously didn’t qualify in the first place…They have about 80 houses that their mortgages are being done at the Corporation. Let me say first and foremost, the Corporation is in no, no position to operate like a bank where you have mortgages and calculate interest and all that kind of thing…
“At the Corporation they change the whole thing in 2009…The value of that portfolio is roughly $14, 104, 468.94. The balance on those mortgages is $12, 972, 784.58, now when on God’s earth the Corporation is going to collect that?”he said.
Mr. Jeffers said it was obvious that the Corporation’s new Board of Directors had difficulty with the existing situation which could not continue and pointed to what he described as a serious situation with arrears by some homeowners who were granted loans by the Corporation.
“How do you bring them up to date? Seems impossible people are not paying. They are not fulfilling their commitment to the Corporation because in most cases they can’t Mr. President. They can’t, they just can’t!” he said.
The Housing Minister spoke to one house holder who was in arrears for $37,050; another one was behind on payment by $27,000 while others reflected balances of $19,00, $17,000, $13,600, $13,550, $11,375, $11,425, $10,500, $7,700, $7,116.73 and $6,775.
“Right now we have an accumulated balance of arrears up there of over $209,770.42. It might have gone up by now because these numbers are from a few weeks ago… I don’t even want o go into persons who are behind on their lease, I don’t even want to go into other things I am just concentrating now on this housing scheme…what we have down there is a colossal mess.
“We have now to undertake the process of now rebuilding that Corporation; cleaning the mess that is over there” he said.