Government wants to protect homeowners who may be in danger of having their houses repossessed and sold because they have fallen on hard times and can't repay the second half of their mortgages to banks.
Speaking on the issue during the budget debate in the House of Representatives on Tuesday, Legal Affairs Minister and Congress of the People political leader Prakash Ramadhar said in difficult economic times, good and decent people had lost their homes because they had fallen ill, lost their jobs and couldn't afford the mortgage.
"We say the banks have a right to exercise their legal rights on a mortgage. But guess what this Government has approved? That before you (the bank or financial institution) can sell a home where more than 50 per cent of the mortgage has been paid off, you do not just execute that mortgage.
"You have to go to the court to get an order so that there would be a hearing to determine whether the people, the mortgagee, has fallen into bad circumstances for any good reason and therefore whether that mortgage or that loan should be recalculated and new conditions put. So that no longer would persons be in fear of losing their homes for good reason where more than 50 per cent of the mortgage has been paid," he said.
Ramadhar also said Government planned to remove the $6,000 fee people had to pay for a release document to show that they have paid off their mortgage. He said the receipt for the last payment would act as a final release "and the property would be returned to you for no fee".
Ramadhar said the population over the last ten years had mistrusted government because the criminals were getting the wealth of the country via contracts. "They saw high government officials steal with impunity," he said.
He said societal changes didn't come overnight, but by slow, deliberate action.
He said this was why the People's Partnership Government had engaged in public procurement policy. "When the Partnership came into government, we didn't expect that all corruption would end because the (corrupt) systems that were there were almost a way of doing business- that you had to pass something to get anything done. It happens up till today. But what is important is the direction and intent of this government, to get rid of that sort of thing," he said. "And slowly but surely by attrition and certainly by the FIU, and giving the resources to the police to do their work, then the society will and must change."
"I believe in truth and I believe in fairness. And if there is wrong and you know the COP, my party, wherever there is wrong we speak out against it. But where there is right and where there is goodness and there is service to people, we will always recognise it and we will always partner with those who have the will of the people and the interest of the people on their side," he said.