“Scaremongering and foolishness.”
That’s how Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler today slammed calls for the country to consider devaluation of its currency.
Hitting back at the critics of the Freundel Stuart administration this morning while leading off debate on the Estimates of Revenue and Expenditure for 2016/2017 in Parliament, he declared they should “put up or shut up”.
He singled out officials of Royal Bank of Canada (RBC) who recently suggested that the country should formulate a restructuring plan to bring down its debt, as well as give consideration to an adjustment of the currency peg, which is currently tied at BDS$2 to US$1.
“I am saying this morning Mr Speaker, from the floor of this House, that if anybody, including the people from Royal Bank whose chief economist came to Barbados and said that Barbados should restructure two years in a row, if they believe that is the case, I am saying to them meet me on Monday at Government headquarters at ten o’clock and walk with . . . the Government paper that you have in Barbados Government,” said Sinckler.
“Meet me and tell me which ones you want to cut, which ones you want to extend the maturities, which interest rates you want to lower and we will have a conversation,” he said.
However, he warned: “Don’t come ‘bout here talking that rubbish . . . don’t come bout here every year trying to create confusion in this economy . . . put up or shut up! And I am saying that as Minister of Finance of Barbados because it is rubbish to be doing that constantly every year and trying to give people the impression that you have some secret way or some special way of getting things done in Barbados. If you want to do it, come. Don’t tell me anything about restructuring in terms of domestic debt, because you have to look at both the domestic and foreign [debt],” he added.
In his stinging attack, Sinckler argued that suggestions about restructuring and devaluation were being promoted because it “suit some people’s purposes”.
He further complained that every year someone would “come down here” giving [an] outlook for Barbados and suggesting that there should be a restructuring of the debt “in a hurry to achieve some particular results”.
He also lamented that there were people who were “latching on” to anything negative and anything that reflected badly on the country because they believed that was “their pathway to Government.
“It suits their purpose to hear when people come bout here talking about issues that we have long settled as a country,” said Sinckler, adding that Government whatever was necessary to defend our currency.