Social Security Board (SSB) chairman Lois Young told Amandala today, Monday, that she is convening an emergency board meeting following reports that SSB staff, including senior management, who have SSB mortgages have been trying to borrow from banks to reduce their debt so that their mortgages would fall under the $50,000 ceiling for a recently announced government write-off program.
In his New Year’s Day message, Prime Minister Dean Barrow had indicated that the Government would purchase millions in loans from the SSB and then proceed to write them off, giving homeowners more financial leverage.
The move has been criticized in some quarters as electioneering, using taxpayer dollars, since municipal elections are due in March and general elections, due in 2013, may be called early.
Young told Amandala that the list of persons who would benefit from the SSB write-off was closed since last October 31, and new persons cannot get on the SSB list.
She also said that any move by SSB staff to take advantage of the write-off would, in her view, be considered “insider trading,” which would be wrong.
She said that if SSB staff were to be added to the list, it would mean that persons already on the list to benefit from the write-off would have to be taken off.
According to Young, such a move cannot be approved by the SSB and a meeting would be held by this Wednesday with SSB’s Chief Executive Officer, Merlene Bailey-Martinez, and the board, to discuss the matter.