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Economist wants to hear more on bond offer

Economist Jeremy Stephen says careful consideration should be given to the recent offer from British billionaire Andrew Stewart and his business partner to assist the island.

However, he is concerned that Barbadians have been too quick to reject the offer of support in floating a bond on the international capital market.

Jeremy Stephen

Jeremy Stephen

“The arguments that have been thrown against [the offer] mainly by people of Barbados cause me to think about whether we truly understand the situation we are in or not,” said Stephen, while pointing out that “economies are driven by investment and those that have surplus capital”.

Stephen, who is the president of the Barbados Economic Society (BES), said the social impact, the long term decision-making ability and authenticity of Government officials should be considered in reviewing the offer.

However, he said there was need to move away from concerns about neo-colonialism, which he said added no value to the current discussion.

“What we have to be able to do is to utilize these opportunities knowing what we are giving up,” said Stephen.

While he is not recommending that “we up and take the deal”, the BES head stressed that it should not be negated simply on the grounds that Barbados might be giving up some of its sovereignty.

“Every time we borrow money from the IADB [Inter American Development Bank] or anytime we borrow from the World Bank or the IMF [International Monetary Fund] we do lose a part of our sovereignty,” he pointed out, adding that the good years that Barbados enjoyed was partly due to wealthy investors from overseas.

“I want to know what the costs are, what the benefits are [to them] and how do we benefit. Since the gentlemen kindly forced it into the public domain these are questions that deserve to be answered before we can condemn the deal and these are the kind of exercises that we will need going forward because there will be tons more people coming to the fore. In fact, we should get worried if these people do not come and see the opportunities because then we could end up being like Haiti in no time soon.” explained Stephen.

He said the Government had the right to explore all offers and should do so since that was the only way to know which offers would make sense and which ones would not.

“But further the Government should ensure that the right people who understand the nature of these transactions help in advising, not making the decision but advising. There are many persons out there that could easily spot these deals and say this is what you need to be asking. There will be a lot more. Anytime a country is struggling there are a lot. I would go as far as to say that you will get deals where you would never find out the Government would have taken money until the estimates come around,” he added.

Stephen said what was of concern to him was that while Stewart was popular he and Fordham did not have “the reputation of certain hedge funders”.

5 Responses to Economist wants to hear more on bond offer

  1. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock December 25, 2014 at 1:13 am

    The most logical, imput that also crossed my mind, let’s hear the deal!

  2. Alex Alleyne December 25, 2014 at 1:13 am


  3. Rawle Maycock
    Rawle Maycock December 25, 2014 at 1:14 am

    My earlier, reply was that there business people investors.

  4. James Austin Bynoe
    James Austin Bynoe December 25, 2014 at 4:57 am

    There is nothing wrong with hearing a deal ….. But it is obviously a blood in the water opportunity so let’s give the “we love barbados” song a rest. My concern is who are the people who will hear the deal for formal decision purposes and do they have the capacity to understand what they are hearing. We have a lot of square pegs in round holes in barbados right now which is a root cause of many of our problems.

  5. seagul December 25, 2014 at 10:24 am

    There is more than enough money among the wealthy in Barbados to create manufacturing employment !! Let’s be honest about this. Most of the leaders here have not been active forthrightly for the collective of the struggling poor and the rising unemployed without skills. As a result—thousands upon thousands are looking at a desperate and hopeless future, which means they’ll turn to crime. SURVIVAL is human nature and that’s the reality..—— Working people are not doing empowering/meaningful work not because they’re incapable of it—it is because they live in a class system where there’s no room for them to do this work, and that destroys self-esteem.


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