Member of Parliament for Pointe-a-Pierre Dr David Lee says the Government must lead by example if it wants landlords to have a heart towards their tenants, during the current COVID-19 crisis.

In a press release issued on Sunday, Dr. Lee expressed concern that several State-owned commercial properties are demanding rental fees from their tenants, notwithstanding the current crisis, and Government’s moral suasion. He is urging Government to intervene in the situation and get directly involved using legislation if necessary.

According to Dr. Lee, these commercial landlords are ignoring the current climate and exerting undue pressure on their tenants to make regular payments, even though these businesses have not been able to operate for at least six weeks. The Pointe-a-Pierre MP maintains that the time has come for Government to end its moral suasion and directly intervene, using legislation, if necessary, a call he has made previously.

He says if the Prime Minister wants landlords to “have a heart” for tenants, then it is only acceptable that his own Government abides by this same call of goodwill by offering deferrals and protection from rent to tenants who rent properties within the remit of the state.

The Point-a-Pierre MP said both the Government — given that it has control of these assets — as well as the management of the malls must understand that the financial crisis these stores face will prolong beyond the re-opening of the economy, as demand is expected to be reduced, subsequently leading to renters not being able to possibly break even when they restart operations.