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FNM: Moody’s duped by PLP

  • PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis said the latest review speaks to, “the government not being ready to govern”. FILE

JAYME C. PINDER
Guardian Staff Reporter
jayme@nasguard.com

Published: Jul 14, 2017

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Referring to international credit ratings agency Moody’s recent decision to place The Bahamas’ Baa3 credit rating on review for downgrade, the Free National Movement (FNM) yesterday said the “unholy mess the country now finds itself in can only be laid squarely at the feet of the last PLP (Progressive Liberal Party) administration”.

“Try as hard as they (the PLP) may, the Bahamian people know exactly who is responsible for the mess our country’s finances are in,” the statement said.

“Each year for four consecutive years under the PLP administration, the international rating agencies downgraded The Bahamas’ credit rating and should a fifth downgrade come, it would be as a direct result of the PLP’s mismanagement of our finances.

“The Bahamian people know that two months of the Minnis-led administration has had no negative effects on the finances of our country.

“When the Hon. Dr. Hubert Minnis’ administration came to power two short months ago on May 10, it found the country’s finances in a mess.

“Just as the FNM promised during the campaign, each Cabinet minister immediately engaged his or her ministry to determine the state of affairs in their respective ministries.

“Minister after minister discovered a stunning array of financial mismanagement, wholesale negligence, highly unusual contractual bonanza for PLP cronies and unprecedented corruption.

“They pulled no punches in disclosing to the nation the extent of a government gone awry under the old PLP regime.”

In a statement issued last week, Moody’s said the review was prompted by statements from the Minnis administration, “that The Bahamas' fiscal position was weaker than previously estimated and that the government's debt ratios will continue to worsen over the coming years”.

PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis said the latest review speaks to, “the government not being ready to govern”. He blamed the Minnis administration for the threat.

“There was no need for them to forecast a borrowing of $722 million,” Davis said.

Back in June, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest revealed that the government intends to borrow a combined $722 million to cover the deficit left by the Christie administration and finance its commitments in the current fiscal year.

“The fiscal situation in the current fiscal year is far bleaker than we could ever have imagined,” said Turnquest during his budget communication.

“Our predecessors have literally left us with a cupboard that is bare.”

The FNM’s statement yesterday continued, “The deputy prime minister and minister of finance laid bare the depth and width of the financial mess left behind by the PLP. The cupboards were left bare indeed.

“Unlike the corrupt PLP, who preferred to keep the Bahamian people in the dark, the Minnis-led government did what all responsible and transparent governments do.

“They informed the nation of ‘the bitter pill’ the country would have to swallow as a result of the reckless mismanagement of an old, tired, corrupt PLP regime.

“The truth came to the notice of the international rating agencies.

“When Moody’s found out the truth, and realized it was duped by the PLP government, they undertook to do what responsible rating agencies do, that is, they heralded their intention to take another look at the Bahamian economy.”

Moody’s said it would downgrade The Bahamas’ credit rating, “if our ratings review were to conclude that The Bahamas' government debt ratios were likely to rise to levels that would erode its fiscal strength”.

However, the credit rating agency noted that it would confirm the country’s Baa3 rating if its review were to conclude that economic trends and the government’s policy response “support a stabilization of the debt trend”.

Government debt stands at $6.5 billion.

Moody’s noted that the government’s 2017/2018 budget indicated that The Bahamas’ fiscal outlook is, “significantly worse than what we had previously incorporated into our projections”.

 

 

 

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