STATEMENT ON LATEST GOVT BOND PLACEMENT
By CHESTER COOPER, PLP DEPUTY LEADER, SHADOW FINANCE MINISTER
Contrary to the FNM administration’s press statement, there is nothing to celebrate about the latest international bond placement which has drawn an outrageous interest rate.
The $600 million bond has an unprecedented interest rate of 8.95 percent attached, which means taxpayers will have to fork over more than $50 million a year to service the interest on the debt.
During the budget debate in June, I advised the governing side that they should have borrowed one to two billion dollars when I suggested, in April, when money was cheap.
I advised that if the crisis turned out to be shorter than expected that the funds could be used to pay off high interest debt.
Had they gone to market in April, they would have gotten a likely rate of six percent.
Since then the downgrades and the perception of The Bahamas being in a debt crisis has made matters worse.
Had they acted swiftly, there would have been a savings of more than $200 million for the taxpayers over the life of the loan.
I told them, but their only response was to laugh.
Now, the Bahamian people will cry.
Such glaring failure should be cause for those in leadership to hang their heads in shame, not thump their chests.
They must give an account to the Bahamian people for this failure.