BLP promises to plug money-printing loophole
If the Opposition Barbados Labour Party (BLP) wins the next general election, the final decision on the printing of money will no longer be left solely at the discretion of either the Governor of the Central Bank or the Minister of Finance, but will have to be approved by Parliament.
“We have determined as a political party, that the Barbados Labour Party, when elected, will end the arbitrary and discretionary power of either a minister of finance or a governor of the Central Bank to print money without first seeking the approval of Parliament,” BLP spokesman Kerrie Symmonds has revealed.
His comments came on the heels of the recent firing of Central Bank Governor Dr DeLisle Worrell at the height of a public fallout with Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler over the printing of money and the need for major expenditure cuts. This led to a two-week legal battle, which ended in the Governor’s sacking and Government reaffirmation of its rights in the matter.
However, addressing a BLP constituency meeting at his Hoyte’s Village office last night, Symmonds suggested that both Sinckler and Worrell were to blame for the current threats posed to the island’s monetary stability, as he accused them of “acting hand in glove with one another”.
“That authority [the printing of money] must now be subjected to a rein in to make sure that Parliament now has oversight, that this can’t be a runaway way of financing Government expenditure,” the St James Central representative said.
“It must come to an end. It must never happen again in Barbados,” he stressed in reference to the now widely criticized practice of printing money to pay salaries and other bills.
In light of last Friday’s latest downgrade by the international credit ratings agency Standard and Poor’s, Symmonds further charged that the Freundel Stuart Government has been “reckless” in terms of its management of the country’s affairs.
He also warned that this would affect future generations, who stand to inherit a Barbados that is “deeply and profoundly crippled by debt”.
Earlier during the meeting, Symmonds’ colleague Edmund Hinkson warned that S&P lowering of Barbados’ sovereign bonds from ‘B-’ to ‘CCC+’, was the 18th successive downgrade to occur under the present Democratic Labour Party administration, adding that it “has brought us to the same credit rating level as the Republic of Venezuela”.
“Right now Barbados in the eyes of the international financial community is in terms of credit rating is at the same level of the Republic of Venezuela,” the St James North MP lamented, while pointing out that the Spanish-speaking country has been affected by food riots in recent times.