Larry Burchall
Larry Burchall

April Fool’s Day came and went so fast that I thought I’d missed it. 

But that’s because in the past year, there’s been so much farce and high comedy. Unintended I’ll admit, but farce and comedy all the same.

The US Consul warned his ‘fellow Amurricans’ about polluted beaches. Our ‘talking head’ Minister quickly assured us that our beaches were clean. 

Then things called ‘greaseballs’ turned up on a South Shore beach and it was picturesquely obvious that there was some kind of crap on a Bermuda beach. 

The ‘talking heads’ re-assembled in greater numbers, and re-assured us that Bermuda’s beaches were pure and clean and swept regularly.  

But no Bermudian went swimming to prove the Minister right. Not yet May 24!

There was gonna’ be a referendum. Then there wasn’t. We were told that we were going to get casinos and gaming anyhow. 

The Lamb Foggo Urgent Care Centre was gonna’ be closed. Then it wasn’t.  

And we found out who the ‘fourth’ man was on that private jet trip.

The Premier is suing the Leader of the Opposition and the Shadow Minister for Finance. 

The Attorney General and the Minister for Tourism are suing the Leader of the Opposition. 

MP Walton Brown is questioning the right of the Minister for Finance and backbencher MP Jeff Sousa to sit in the House of Assembly. 

MP Brown avers that the two are there illegally having fallen foul of the Legislature [Qualification and Disqualification] Act 1968.  

The Bermuda Monetary Authority indicates that after examining the books of all four Bermuda banks, that the four, in combination, have about 11.7 per cent non-performing loans [NPL]. 

That means that more than one out of nine loans — personal loan or mortgage— is giving them a problem.  

Seized property

However, the banks have protected themselves by taking out writs against the people who owe them money. Trouble is, what can the banks do with seized property? What can the banks do with houses on which the bank has a non-performing mortgage?

The quick answer is that the banks can seize and sell at auction. But how many ‘foreclosure’ auction sales where property has actually been sold have you seen and heard of in the past 12 months? Ten? Two? One?  The answer is zero. There have been none. There have been fewer than three foreclosure auction notices in the last 12 months.  

So our banks have millions in NPL’s. Unlike their harder-hearted counterparts in jurisdictions out past North Rock and Argus Tower, our locally based banks are being really (some say uncharacteristically) nice.  

Or, by their across-the-board inaction, are they silently acknowledging that they realize that they are stuck with millions of unsellable Bermuda real estate? 

After all, if the bank gives an auction and nobody turns up, is it an auction? Is the property worth anything at all if nobody even turns up to make even a very low offer?

Seems to me that the banks may be engaged in elements of farcical financing.

“Loose lips sink ships” was a World War Two warning about blabbing stuff that might be useful to ‘the enemy’. 

 “Loose lips” let the ‘f-word’ drop in Parliament as a Cabinet Minister and Deputy Leader made less than complimentary remarks about other politicos. 

Listening to and watching big man Speaker Randy Horton keep order in the House, I confess that I like the man’s ability to do his Speaker’s job. 

Keeping order

I reckon that if ‘Mr Speaker’ was sufficiently riled up, he’d flash down from his Speaker’s chair, fly across the room, fasten his big hands on the offending MP, and fling the so-and-so so quickly and so hard that the so-and-so would wonder how he got into Hamilton Harbour without walking. 

But I don’t think he’d do that to a lady.

I love farce. I always try to catch a good West End farce. Ain’t been much lately. And the quality of our local farce mostly disappoints.

I do think though, that the best act so far is the recent gymnastic 1800 flip and turn over the 78 white — sorry, grey — elephants over at the Grand Atlantic. 

Us lot seem to be back-scamming the snake-oil sellers. It seems that us lot have found someone to take those units off our hands. 

Now that’s a nifty move. But I’ll ‘wait out’ on this. That promised MOU may have so many ‘get outs’ that it may go nowhere at all. And that would be high farce. n