Bermuda Housing Corporation (BHC).
Bermuda Housing Act 1980. A Bermuda Government quango.
In brief, the BHC scandal is "believed to have cost the taxpayer more than $8,000,000 through backhanders, questionable accounting practices, fraudulent deals and inflated invoices with building contractors". The Government quango's money 'disappeared' and suspects named in the investigation include Government ministers - see 'the leak'.
The Bermuda Housing Corporation
Hotline since late 2002 is 295-HOME (295-4663).
As at February 28, 2003 it manages a large portfolio of rental, owned and private sector properties. It holds 310 mortgages valued at $19 million. It owns more than 100 properties with an estimated value of $65 million. Its Rentals Department has a clientele of about 600 households, of which 500 are housed in BHC properties. The remaining 100 households are housed in units rented from private sector landlords. Clients must be Bermudian.
Death by investigation
DISAPPOINTING is not the only word I would use to describe the Speaker's decision not to allow the Opposition motion on the Bermuda Housing Corporation. But fear not, Mr. Editor, it is the only word I will use here in this column.
The motion itself was straightforward enough. The Bermuda Housing Act requires the production of annual reports by the BHC, including financial statements. The Minister responsible is also required to table them in the House. There hasn't been one for the past three years.
Is it any wonder then that Shadow Minister Wayne Furbert brought forward a motion deploring the PLP's failure to produce these long overdue reports? But the Speaker thought it would be "unwise" to allow a debate at all on the Housing Corporation.
There was that special report by the Auditor General and an ongoing police investigation into events that date back well over two years. In the circumstances, the Speaker ruled he would not allow a debate on a motion that involved the BHC.
You might think that the House on the Hill is just the place where those in charge should be called to account for their actions. But the saddest fact of all? The Government MPs who stamped their feet in glee at the Speaker's decision, apparently happy and proud.
PS, Mr. Editor: It used to be that Government could stall, if not kill, a matter by sending it to committee. Not so, in the New Bermuda: now you need only call in the police to investigate and investigate and investigate and . . .
Ask and maybe you shall receive . . .
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