KINGSTON — St. Catherine farmer, Llewellyn Bailey, claims that unfair treatment by his creditors and his inability to continue paying his lawyer, after high interest rates drove him broke, led to his debts growing from $320,000 in 1996 to over $1.5 million by 2008, despite several payments.
Mr. Bailey told the FINSAC Commission of Enquiry, Tuesday April 12 that, in his view, he was treated unfairly by his creditors – National Commercial Bank (NCB), Financial Sector Adjustment Company (FINSAC) and collection agency, International Asset Services (IAS).
He said he borrowed $250,000 in mid-1996 and another $70,000 within a month, yet, having made payments toward the loan, including a full payment of $70,000 to liquidate the second amount, NCB’s records reflected, within some two years, that he was owed more than three times the original principal amount.
“I have never understood how these figures have been arrived at,” Mr. Bailey told the Enquiry.
He also noted that a judgment has been entered against him in the Supreme Court for some $1.5 million, which he claimed was based on incorrect and incomplete data provided by his creditors, primarily because he could not afford to pursue his defence.
“I could not afford to continue to pay my attorney, and she returned my file to me,” Mr. Bailey told commissioners Worrick Bogle and Charles Ross, as the Enquiry resumed at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston, after a one week break.
He was supported by the Commission’s attorney, Judith Clarke, who said, based on his statement to the Enquiry, the incongruity of the records he obtained from his creditors, when he sought information to validate his case, suggested that they did not deal with him fairly.
Mr. Bailey told the Commission that the $250,000, he borrowed in 1996, was for the purchase of an engine for a 1989 Leyland truck. The additional $70,000 was to clear it from the wharves.
The truck was seized in 1997 and remained parked for about a year, after which he negotiated its return, by making a lump sum payment of $100,000 on his debt, and agreeing to pay $50,000 per month. However, he could not commence the monthly payments immediately, as the truck’s windscreen was broken and a battery stolen in the bank’s custody, and there was a delay in the bank paying to replace them.
“When I eventually got back the truck, I suffered several setbacks and was unable to make the payments,” Mr. Bailey said, disclosing that NCB repossessed the truck again in late 1999.
“I was told to take the truck to Cars R Us, which I did. Thereafter, I received no correspondence from NCB,” he said. However, in 2005, he received a letter from International Asset Services Limited (IAS), a collection agency operating in Jamaica, stating that he owed $1.2 million in principal and $360,878 in interest.
He said a letter purported to be sent to him by IAS in 2003, but which he did not receive, claimed he had two credit card accounts with NCB.
“To me, these sums bore no relationship to the two small amounts I borrowed in 1996, and the account numbers quoted in that letter were not familiar to me,” Mr. Bailey told the Enquiry.
His truck was sold in 2000. A judgment has since been entered against him in the Supreme Court which, he said, was based on incorrect and incomplete data, because he could not afford to keep his attorney.
The Enquiry resumes today April 13 at 9.30 a.m. at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel, New Kingston.
By Balford Henry, JIS Reporter & Editor