Minister of Finance Chris Sinckler is in possession of a draft report on the island’s debt position and he says he is ready to discuss it with creditors.
Addressing a Democratic Labour Party (DLP) political meeting in the St Philip North constituency, at Blades Hill, St Philip, on Sunday night, Sinckler revealed that for several months his party had engaged the services of an independent advisory firm to assess Barbados’ debt position.
He said a draft report had been submitted to both him and the Central Bank but he did not say what the findings were neither did he give any indication of the recommendations.
“We have got a team called Newstate Partners in Barbados now for months and they have been doing a complete overview and analysis of Barbados’ debt position. In fact, they have already sent me a draft report, as they have sent to the Central Bank, and we have had meetings with them. So we have a document that we are ready and prepared to discuss with our creditors in a responsible manner,” Sinckler announced, as he reiterated the DLP’s plan for the economy.
“Unlike the [Barbados] Labour Party we are not re-profiling debt so that we can get money to go and splurge out on foolishness. We are doing it to give us the elbowroom to invest in you the people of Barbados to ensure that we can get social and economic programmes that will restore and promote growth in Barbados. That is what we are doing. So the choice between the two is so crystal clear it is not funny.
I don’t want to have a Trump moment and I don’t want to have a Mottley moment. I want to have a Freundel Stuart and a Democratic Labour Party moment,” Snickler warned.
Sinckler also revealed that Minister of Health John Boyce had already contacted a number of health care experts, including the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and World Health Organization (WHO), in a bid to implement a national health care scheme that should result in the reduction of about $70 million annually in subsidy to the Queen Elizabeth Hospital (QEH).
“We said we are going to put a national health scheme in place to help finance particularly the QEH. John Boyce and his team in the Ministry of Health have already been in contact with PAHO, the WHO and other technical experts. There is a plan, and the first order of business that we have on resuming office is to ensure that proposal gets before the Cabinet and gets implemented,” he said.
Snicker further told supporters that the Freundel Stuart administration was also committed to its plan to make the island about 90 per cent reliant on renewable energy by 2030 in an effort to drive down the country’s high fossil fuel import bill.
Criticizing the Barbados Labour Party for wasting close to $100 million on the Greenland landfill that cannot be used, and for entering into an agreement for a waste recycling plant in Vaucluse, St Thomas, Sinckler said as a result the Sanitation Services Authority (SSA) budget shot up from just $30 million to well over $60 million annually by the time the DLP took up office in 2008.
“Do you know how many garbage trucks that could have bought? And we came in and found a recession, yet we are to find money and they had all the money in the world and did nothing with it other than waste it,” Sinckler complained, while pointing out that the DLP believed a waste to energy programme was still critical for the country so that Government could lower its transfers to the SSA.