Sir Hilary Beckles is not telling the truth!
That is what Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler stated categorically this afternoon in response to Sir Hilary’s assertion on Wednesday that the Government had withdrawn, after agreeing to guarantee a $30 million loan from the then Barbados National Bank to construct three student dormitories at the Cave Hill Campus of the University of the West Indies.
Sir Hilary had also said the country could have earned between $10 million and $15 million per year from the rental of these three buildings to international students. But Sinckler told Barbados TODAY that the files of the ministry had revealed that this pronouncement
“Having read that file, I have satisfied myself that the Government of Barbados did not provide a guarantee for that project or intended to,” he insisted. “In fact, the instructions of the then Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, which were signed off on and agreed to by the late Prime Minister [David Thompson] who was the substantive Minister of Finance, was that a letter of comfort would be provided for the University of the West to borrow $31 million from Republic Bank to construct the dormitories, and I believe there were three of them,” Sinckler said.
“That letter of comfort, from what I have seen on the file, was issued. The letter of comfort, Senator [Darcy] Boyce had indicated, would be limited only to the construction phase, since the projects were being marketed, or promoted as revenue-generating, and therefore they could sustain the payments of loan.”
Sinckler observed that Senator Boyce’s instructions were crystal clear, that the proceeds in terms of the revenue earned, from the rents charged, should be assigned specifically to servicing the debt.
“And in that case, therefore, there was no need for a sovereign guarantee, and that’s really what the files said. So, for the principal to say that the Government agreed to provide a guarantee and then withdraw it, is technically not correct; it is not accurate,” the Cabinet minister argued.
Sinckler informed Barbados TODAY that he had since spoken with both the Minister of Education and Boyce “who was then the Minister of State, and they have both confirmed what the file says”.
He said he was not sure what happened that the university could not eventually get the 431 million eventually, “but I will have to investigate that”, sinckler promised.