Minister: ‘Alleged Schemes’ For Land Ownership

September 22, 2017 | 20 Comments

Speaking in the House of Assembly today [Sept 22], Minister of Home Affairs Walton Brown provided an update on “investigations into alleged schemes for non-Bermudians to own land without the benefit of a land licence,” saying there are approximately 120 properties being investigated.

Minister Brown said, “Prior to the enactment of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007, non-Bermudians were utilising schemes – including Bermuda Trusts – to acquire an interest in Bermuda real estate without obtaining a licence in accordance with the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956. These schemes are referred to as fronting arrangements.

“There are approximately 120 properties that are being investigated. While properties may be in contravention of the 2007 Act, it may be determined that not all are, by definition, “fronting” arrangements.

“The use of these fronting arrangements are estimated to have cost the Government approximately $40 million during the 10 years preceding the enactment of the 2007 Act.

“The 2007 Act sought to criminalise fronting arrangements by introducing severe penalties for those who contravened its provisions.

“Simultaneously, the 2007 Act granted a 3 year amnesty period for non-Bermudians caught by its provisions to either obtain licences or dispose of their interest in the Bermuda real estate.

“While some of those affected complied within the 3 year amnesty period, others did not, despite the dire consequences of non-compliance.

“The Attorney General’s Chambers have undertaken to identify those non-Bermudians who continue to flout the law and to ultimately make recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions to be prosecuted to recoup some of the estimated $40 million referred to above.”

The Minister’s full statement follows below:

Mr. Speaker, Honourable Members will remember that my Ministerial Statement from the 15th September was titled “The Next Wave of Changes to Immigration Policies and Procedures”. I am about to describe another component of this “next wave”.

I rise today to provide an update on investigations into alleged schemes for non-Bermudians to own land without the benefit of a land licence.

Mr. Speaker, prior to the enactment of the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Amendment Act 2007 [ “the 2007 Act”] non-Bermudians were utilising schemes – including Bermuda Trusts – to acquire an interest in Bermuda real estate without obtaining a licence in accordance with the Bermuda Immigration and Protection Act 1956 [“BIPA 56”]. These schemes are referred to as fronting arrangements.

Mr. Speaker, there are approximately 120 properties that are being investigated. While properties may be in contravention of the 2007 Act, it may be determined that not all are, by definition, “fronting” arrangements. The use of these fronting arrangements are estimated to have cost the Government approximately $40 million during the 10 years preceding the enactment of the 2007 Act.

Mr. Speaker, the 2007 Act sought to criminalise fronting arrangements by introducing severe penalties for those who contravened its provisions. Simultaneously, the 2007 Act granted a 3 year amnesty period for non-Bermudians caught by its provisions to either obtain licences or dispose of their interest in the Bermuda real estate. While some of those affected complied within the 3 year amnesty period, others did not, despite the dire consequences of non-compliance.

The Attorney General’s Chambers have undertaken to identify those non-Bermudians who continue to flout the law and to ultimately make recommendations to the Director of Public Prosecutions to be prosecuted to recoup some of the estimated $40 million referred to above.

Mr. Speaker, in order to progress this work quickly, the Government will be allocating dedicated resources to this project. We will be working with the Attorney General’s Chambers to ascertain the most cost-effective method for completing this initiative.

Thank you, Mr. Speaker.

Click here banner of real estate 3

Share via email

Read More About

Category: All, News, Politics

Comments (20)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. really says:

    I have an issue with the approximately…can the PLP not count to 130 ?

    Give us facts and back up those facts with evidence. If you cannot, then you are simply making things up to suit your agenda.

    I expect a full report on the number of properties that are fronting. Let us see if it is anywhere near 120.

  2. Rocky5 says:

    So what did PLP do after amnesty ended in 2010? Nothing?!! What is PLP doing about the complete lack of adherence to Financial Instructions with Port Royal Golf Course, Kings Point Dockyard Terminal , BIU/Berkeley Bond, $85M Lois Brown Bldg fiasco, Global Hue, Lahey $42,000/month 1996 – 2015…. – NOTHING??!!

  3. frank says:

    this minister is on the job and he will get things done

    • Onion says:

      They didn’t do much last time.

      • jt says:

        They ripped money from Bermudians married to non-Bermudians. It was supposed to fix this. Discrimination’s only bad when they say it is.

    • Zevon says:

      Will he get back the money wasted on Grand Atlantic? Or the overspends on the golf course, swimming pool, tcd, cruise ship dock, court building? Will he make sure the taxpayer is compensated for the Lahey scandal?

  4. swing voter says:

    oh man, just let it go. yes there’s a new sheriff in town but please chase something worthwhile…like work permit cheats. The real-estate purchases under investigation probably were not for average joe Bermuda anyway.

    • Caramel says:

      What about those who are not Bermudian but related and have claimed property in spite of the original Bermudian owners passing away? Think of the generational inheritance that has been stolen.

      Maybe that’s part of the reason our young people leave the island and don’t return. The underhanded fight for property…well, ridiculous!

  5. legalgal says:

    The witch-hunt continues. How to sink an already inflated market. Why not have the AG recover funds under previous litigation launched? Bye bye Bermy.

  6. jt says:

    Back to punishing Bermudians married to non-Bermudians?

  7. jty says:

    If nothing else, there should be some clarification around what is meant by “cost the government $40m”. If those are simply the fees that otherwise would have been earned by the government, then this is nothing new, and was known back in 2007.

    It probably also assumes that everyone under investigation is actually in contravention…

    Quoting the article:
    “The Attorney General’s Chambers have undertaken to identify those non-Bermudians who continue to flout the law…”

    It’s clear they’ve used the $40m figure as a headline. Let’s see what the actual estimated recoveries are, after costs…

    • Ringmaster says:

      You can’t form a trust without a lawyer. Why is there no mention of going after the lawyers and firms who aided these alleged violations?

      • Arnett B. says:

        And how about going after the Bermudians that did the actual fronting?? This could get real interesting real fast.

        • jt says:

          They’ve been down this road before. Cast a big net that cost certain Bermudians thousands of dollars. And yet here we are.

  8. ramon says:

    You can run but not hide :) )

Leave a Reply

="banner728-container bottom clearfix">