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Mia: Barbados in crisis

15-01 Page 6&7bOpposition Leader Mia Mottley says Barbados has reached crisis point.

She told Barbadians gathered at the Foundation School for the second People’s Assembly last night  that the Central Bank Governor’s report released yesterday was an admission that Government for the first nine months of 2013, relied on the Bank and the NIS to provide 75 per cent of the financing of its deficit.

“To put it in raw terms the Government has taken $445 million out of $597 million in financing from the Central Bank of Barbados and the National Insurance Scheme. This is unheard of, this is scandalous and this is taking us to the very brink of our existence.

“This is exposing us to the worse aspects of undermining the exchange rate of this country, because the Central Bank’s  financing is through the printing of money to buy treasury bills issued by Central Government,” the Opposition Leader noted.

Mottley suggested that as a result of this, there were some sobering questions which the public now  needed to ask themselves.

“ . . . When are you going to take action? Are we going to take it when it gets too late and people then realize that their assets are no longer worth what they were at the beginning of this year? Are we going to take it when people’s pensions can no longer purchase what it used to purchase at the beginning of this year?

“Are we going to take it when  people . . . have no jobs to be able to support the payment of rentals and mortgages? And even the people who banks are trying to foreclose on, there is nobody to buy the houses upon which foreclosure notices have been posted,” the St Michael North East MP further stated.

Turning her attention to the  statements made by the Minister of Finance, Chris Sinckler, she noted that in August, when Barbadians were told that he [Sinckler] was setting a fiscal deficit for the fiscal year at 5.3 per cent, resulting in $88 million in cuts, the Barbados Labour Party said it was  not achievable.

“He comes in December and says that at the end of 2014-2015, the deficit would be three per cent. Almost buried in this document [the Analysis of Barbados’ Current Economic Performance at the end of 2013 released yesterday] from the Central Bank is, all of a sudden, a new fiscal target . . . set not by the Minister of Finance but by the Central Bank . . . that Barbados now will  only achieve eight per cent at the end of March and not the five per cent that Sinckler told us,” Mottley said, noting that this translated to roughly running $250 million more in debt at the end of the financial year in March.

“That is the equivalent of almost twice the amount he said he would save by sending home 3,000 workers. He is running money debt . . . 250 million more. Is there any wonder that we have had three downgrades in 18 months both from Standard & Poor’s and from Moody’s?

“Targets are changed, not because people have the courage to tell the country that we have failed yet again to meet the targets we set, but because  surreptitiously, it is like a moving [object]. You cannot run a country in this way,” the Opposition Leader stressed. (RG)

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