Call for reimbursement to those who bought land licences
A campaigner who called for an end to land licences said Government should reimburse those who bought land licences should the controversial scheme end.
Ronnie Viera praised Government's announcement that it would re-evaluate and likely abolish land licencing for mixed-status couples who own land together.
While the regulation, put in place in 2007, was hoped to bring an end to fronting by requiring any non-Bermudian who helps a Bermudian purchase property to obtain a licence, critics argued it negatively impacted Bermudians married to non-Bermudians.
Ronnie Viera, who led a campaign to end the scheme said: “It is clearly good news that the Government have finally, after more than three years, come to the right decision to change the discriminatory legislation that has caused so much financial and emotional stress to Bermudians married to non-Bermudian spouses.
“It is a shame that some never got the chance to purchase property because they couldn't get the licence in time or could not invest in a second property, or were told they had to sell a second property due to the law being applied retroactively. However, thankfully it will be changed.”
While he said he was pleased that the licences would likely be abolished, he said some form of reimbursement should be put in place for those who were forced spend time and money getting a $1,375 licence.
“I would like to ask the politicians, when the debate comes up in the house, to address the issue of reimbursing those that have had to pay for licences to in some way compensate them for having had to go through the flawed license process,” Mr Viera said.
“Clearly this will not include the legal fees incurred, which in most cases were more than the licence fee itself, but at least it would be something.
“Hopefully, in future, before proposed legislation is drafted, there can be sufficient consultation with stakeholders and a Minister that is willing to listen.”
Several comments on
The Royal Gazette website also called for some form of reimbursement for those who were affected by land licencing, with one comment reading: “The legislation is akin to using a sledgehammer to kill a mouse.
“Unfortunately, it killed a lot of real estate deals in the process.”