Teacher calls for changes to bankruptcy legislation after being forced to pay colleague’s debt

A teacher who works at a high school in St Catherine is calling for changes to the bankruptcy legislation after being forced to pay a colleague’s debt.

The teacher slammed the current legislation as “ruthless” and culturally insensitive, noting that scamming and serial borrowers are local realities that are not accounted for in the law.

“The law that governs the bankruptcy act is ruthless, it makes no sense. And to my understanding, bits and pieces were taken from the UK and some from the US to create something locally,” said the distressed teacher.

The teacher said she feels it is important to highlight the legislation after being left to pay back a $1.5 million loan bill after serving as a guarantor for a colleague in the teaching profession.

According to the teacher, she and another instructor, both served as guarantors for a fellow colleague who took a loan from a micro-finance company in 2018.

Defaulted on the loan

The teacher said that in October 2020 she received a call from the institution noting that she and the other guarantor were to make arrangements to pay back the sum, after their colleague defaulted on the loan and later filed bankruptcy.

“It is out of our hands because you have filed for bankruptcy. We can not touch the debtor, we cannot go after her, but we can and we are going to pursue the guarantors,” the teacher said as she explained the position of the popular micro-finance company.

The teacher said that because all three individuals work at the same high school in West Central St Catherine, she asked the school’s principal to intervene and mediate.

However, the principal’s intervention achieved nothing, the teacher said.

The teacher said to make matters worse her colleague has gone on to borrow again.

“I need to bring attention to the law because she has gone back to borrowing, even after filing bankruptcy and she’s still not repaying these loans,” said the teacher.

“It is so unfortunate because the other guarantor and I are both teachers and you know how small a teacher’s salary is. We just can’t afford to take that on right now,” added the teacher.

The legislation governing bankruptcy and insolvency dates back to the 1880s and was last amended in 2014.