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by Anthony Wood
In the Nation newspaper and Barbados TODAY of Saturday, August 6th, the Prime Minister is reported to say that the Barbados Optional Saving Scheme (BOSS) bonds were purchased by ordinary public servants and others
who then bought from public servants.
This statement indicates that the monthly bond issues were fully subscribed to by public servants (at the primary issue stage) and others got involved when the public servants traded the bonds in the secondary market.
In an article published in the Nation newspaper on Friday, August 5th, Government Senior Economic Adviser, Dr. Kevin Greenidge, noted that the BOSS bonds were purchased by public servants, private investors and financial institutions. This statement can be interpreted to mean that these investors purchased the bonds in the primary market (when they were issued). Both Prime Minister Mottley and Dr. Greenidge sought to assure the public that the Central Bank did not purchase any of the BOSS bonds.
Previously, the Governor of the Central Bank, Cleviston Haynes, in reporting on the performance of the BOSS programme, provided statistics which indicated that the issues of the BOSS bonds were undersubscribed
(not fully purchased) by public servants.
On those occasions Barbadians were left to speculate which categories of investors were purchasing the bonds left on the table by the public servants, that is, private individuals, financial institutions or the Central Bank.
It is clear that the information provided by Dr. Greenidge and previously by Mr. Haynes does not corroborate the
Prime Minister’s statement. Hence, Barbadians are confused about who were the actual investors in the BOSS bonds
at the issuance stage.
To set the public’s mind at rest, information (from a credible source) on the breakdown of the categories of investors in the BOSS bonds at the primary issue stage should be made public. Only this information will determine the veracity of each person’s statement. Such information will also show whether the Central Bank purchased any of the BOSS bonds.