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Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler

The Freundel Stuart Administration is contemplating borrowing millions of Trinidadian dollars.

Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs, Chris Sinckler, announced today that he had instructed the Central Bank of Barbados to examine loan propositions from commercial banks in neighbouring Trinidad and Tobago.

And the official said the offers from the twin island republic, coupled with confidence voiced by international creditors, showed Barbados was not “a credit risk” even after losing its Standard & Poor’s investment grade rating four months ago.

“We have people running us down to come into the market to borrow money because they have an enduring confidence in the economic management of Barbados, that we will meet our commitments and that we will take whatever is necessary in terms of policy prescriptions and policies to ensure that Barbados remains a healthy and dependable creditor,” he told the House of Assembly today.

“I can tell the House that we have even been proloapositioned by commercial banking interests in Trinidad and Tobago looking at the excess liquidity which Trinidad has in their foreign exchange market and the conditions in terms of interest rates, to look at the possibility of borrowing on the Trinidad market in terms foreign exchange.

“And it looks very, very attractive and I have told the governor of the Central Bank, the monetary authorities, to examine it and do so of course in the context of the weak international economy and how we may need to have savings we have asked them to look at it,” he said.

The St. Michael North West representative was speaking in the Lower House as he piloted debate on the Local Loans (Amendment) Bill, 2012.

With the markets now “looking good”, interest rates at an all time low, and liquidity high, Government would look at the Trinidad offers in the context of sustaining high foreign exchange reserves in the face of an expected difficult 2013.

The good news for the island, Sinckler added, was that international financiers were saying Barbados was not a credit risk “because the authorities are managing their situation well”.

“And you can check on any of the money market websites, … Barbados’ paper is considered now to be trading more valuably than when we were in investment grade,” he said. (SC)

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