President of the Democratic Labour Party (DLP) Dr Ronnie Yearwood has described Government’s promised repayment on the principal of $74.8 million to 5 407 Series B bondholders as an attempt by the Mia Amor Mottley administration to switch debt.
Mottley announced in Tuesday’s Budgetary Proposals that the partial payment would be made to those on the register as of March 31.
But, the DLP president said he does not believe this decision is sufficient to restore Barbadians’ confidence to continue investing in the savings instruments.
During a press conference at the DLP George Street Auditorium, Belleville, St Michael headquarters on Wednesday called to respond to Mottley’s budget presentation, Yearwood said the payment on the principal of the bonds is Government trying to make money available for treasury bills to be rolled out in the near future.
“I don’t see how that returns the kind of confidence that we would expect. There would have to be some promise perhaps of a slight raise in the amounts that you would get back on the bonds.
“And there would have to be some kind of commitment from the Government over a period of time during that repayment that they would not cut, they would not engage in the kind of restructuring practice, the hairline cuts that we had, that pretty much destroyed and wiped out people’s savings in these bonds,” he said.
While delivering her Budget address in the House of Assembly on Tuesday, Prime Minister Mottley said the Government took no pride in having to give Barbadians the Series B Bonds during the debt restructuring. She indicated that each of the 5 000 plus bondholders will receive a payment of $17 500.
Mottley further outlined that of the 5 407 bondholders, 2 627 would be repaid in full with that disbursement.
Meanwhile, Dr Yearwood said that while he can see what the Government is trying to do at this time, he does not think it would be as effective as it should be.
“It will probably take probably another government cycle before we get the kind of confidence back in Barbados’ bonds that we used to have. The last big investment in bonds was 2017 and we have gone from about 1.3 billion to 44 million or so.
“So nobody is really buying bonds and they have stopped buying them for about five years now… People did the right thing, but they were punished,” he said.