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Bmc Faces Legal Fight To Repossess Homes
Attorney Wayne Munroe, QC. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

Attorney Wayne Munroe, QC. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY Wayne Munroe has taken legal action against the Bahamas Mortgage Corporation for repossessing homes in Millennium Gardens, a move he says the BMC was statute-barred from doing.

He said he filed a summons in the Supreme Court initiating the action a week ago and is waiting for a date before the court.

“There is a decision of Justice Ian Winder in a Perfect Luck case where he endorses an opinion of Sir Michael Barnett that if you get an order for possession, after six years you can’t enforce that anymore,” he said. “In this case, the order came in 2010 and these people got their writ of possession in 2018.”

Mr Munroe wants the court to discharge the BMC’s writ of possession and allow residents back into their homes so other avenues for getting them to repay their loans can be explored.

He said according to the law, the BMC would not be allowed to reissue an order of possession if the court sets aside its writ of possession.

“You can’t issue the order again,” he said. “There is something that indicates they may have done that but when you read the decisions, once you get an order for possession that’s it, you can’t file a new action. If you have an action in court, you get an order; you can’t start another action for the same relief.”

Mr Munroe said his arguments are based on the Limitation Act.

“It’s the same Act that people don’t understand that says if I squat on your property and you do nothing to reject me in 12 years the property belongs to me,” he said. “It’s the same Act the government relies on a lot that says if you have something that’s governmental and you have to sue the government you have a year to sue them or you can’t sue them anymore. It’s a provision that says I might break my contract with you, but if you don’t sue me in the time prescribed, you don’t have a case and you can’t come back.”

Mr Munroe is representing two people in the case but imagines others will come forward if his action is successful. It is unclear how many people in Millennium Gardens were forced out of their homes.

Last month, Housing Minister Romauld Ferreira said some BMC clients have not paid a single dollar toward home loans.

Deputy Prime Minister Peter Turnquest revealed that of the 2889 loans being repaid to BMC, 1366 are in arrears. The value of the loans in arrears is more than $34m.

As the Progressive Liberal Party attacked the repossession policy as cruel, Mr Turnquest said: “The Bahamas Mortgage Corporation owes $162m and it has receivables out there of about $194m, not including the interest. In any other world, I’ll try to be careful with my words but there are no delicate ways to say it, that institution is probably insolvent, it is not a going concern. It only can operate the way it’s operating because the people of the Bahamas have guaranteed it. How do we stand here and say ‘man give them another year, you being cruel’ but at the same time say ‘you raise VAT to 12 percent, you killing the people.’ Where you think this money comes from? You think it just grows on trees?”

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