Nation e-Edition

New plan to recoup BIDC rent arrears

New plan to recoup BIDC rent arrears DR LEROY McCLEAN, chief executive of the BIDC. (FP)

Mon, December 03, 2012 - 2:30 PM

ON A CASE-BY-CASE BASIS is how the new chief executive officer of the Barbados Investment and Development Corporation (BIDC), Dr Leroy McClean, plans to tackle tenants in an effort to recoup millions of dollars in arrears of rent.

A 2010 report released last year said the Government agency was owed over $7.4 million. And in a response carried by the report, the BIDC said it had collected $4.7 million in arrears between April 2009 and March 2010.

“The arrears are big. We know that. But we can’t have a blanket policy towards them. We try to encourage those who can afford [it] to pay. Those that are in arrears, we try to have some sort of facility whereby they can pay their current [expenses] while we try to get the company back up,” McClean told BARBADOS BUSINESS AUTHORITY in a recent interview.

Information was not readily available to say how much more money the agency would have collected since March 2010.

One of the things the BIDC would be doing, he said, was “going [into] the companies to see what we can do to help in terms of their management practices”.

“We understand that we have to look at it on a case-by-case basis. Many of the manufacturers are having serious financial difficulties now because of the current economic crisis. So we are looking at it on a case-by-case basis,” stressed McClean.

The rent of 51 per cent of the corporation’s tenants was said to be in arrears. The BIDC manages 12 industrial estates comprising 70 commercial buildings. In addition, there are eight buildings which house 27 craft shops and a restaurant.

“Those manufacturers [whose] businesses have the potential to survive, we will work with them to revive those businesses.

“There are some which, if they are beyond help, we will have to look at them differently, but we are not in that mode of getting rid of or shutting down businesses. We want those who can afford to pay to pay but we will work with all of them regardless of the size or type,” he said.

He said that if the BIDC found some businesses doing well and simply refusing to pay, then they would take “whatever action we have to take to make sure they pay”.

That, he said, might even include “the usual kinds of action that a landlord can take, including legal action. But we are not in that mode to go out there and to take legal action for the sake of taking legal action.” (MM)

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