Time to draw the line, says Symmonds

Senator Kerrie Symmonds
Senator Kerrie Symmonds

St. James Central representative, Kerri Symmonds, is arguing that like all Barbadians he wants to see the Freundel Stuart Administration succeed in its efforts to restore the country to economic health.

He however warned that he would not support the bill which sought an increase in the issuing of Treasury Bills from $1.75 billion to $2.75 billion.

The St. James Central MP said: “The reality is if I can speak for myself, that not only would I want him to succeed as a Barbadian, but I know that he (the Minister of Finance) has progeny as I do, therefore he has to think about a Barbados where his children will grow up. Government cannot begin by burying its head in the sand.”

Symmonds argued that Barbadians have to draw a line in the sand and indicate that they would not associate with the Minister of Finance in his handling of the economy.†He suggested that the Minister of Finance should not be allowed to feel that the raising of the level of borrowing to $2.75 billion was a mundane housekeeping matter.

The Opposition MP contended too that Barbados had reached “a sad and sorry state” where a Government had become overly reliant on short term borrowing from the Central Bank.

He said: “We are relying on desperate means to fund the daily operations and the projects of Barbados. I do not think that can be the best way we can do this business.”

The attorney-at-law recalled that the minister of finance had indicated that there was no appetite in the banking system for medium- and long-term Government paper, and added:

“There is a concern that this is the case in 2013, however there is a pattern which gives cause for worry and concern. In 2011 the Central Bank issued a board paper which spoke to this issue and on page three of the paper, it went into some detail the concern that banks were expressing the lack of appetite for Government medium- and long-term paper.

“But the reality is that the paper itself speaks to the constraints Government was facing with respect to its financing. There was reluctance of banks to expose themselves to Government paper in spite of the liquidity in the system. This is an issue of confidence. The paper also addressed the issue of borrowing of funds from the National Insurance Scheme and its capacity to sustain this level of borrowing,” Symmonds explained.†(NC)

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