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News : Bahamas Information Services Updates Last Updated: Jul 13, 2017 - 1:10:44 AM

Minister of Finance responds to opposition on possible Moody's downgrade
Jul 13, 2017 - 1:03:45 AM

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Nassau, Bahamas - Statement by Hon. K. Peter Turnquest, M.P., Minister of Finance In Response to Statements from the Opposition with Respect to Possible Downgrade by Moody’s

I have read with disappointment and sheer amazement the statements from Mr. Chester Cooper, the Official Opposition spokesman on Finance, from the Hon. Philip Davis, Leader of the Opposition, from Senator Frederick Mitchell and from Mr. Alfred Sears, defeated candidate for Fort Charlotte, with respect to the Moody’s review of the Bahamas credit ratings. These statements, to borrow a phrase from Mr. Cooper, represent “the wrong statements at the wrong time”.

This administration has made a conscious decision to be transparent and factual about the fiscal situation of the country. This is necessary if we are going to undertake reforms to secure the future of this country for future generations. For this reason, we have chosen not to mislead the Bahamian public with respect to extent of the fiscal mismanagement we faced on coming to office.

We would risk having the same low credibility of the previous administration that Messrs. Davis and Mitchell were an integral part of, if we attempted to undertake the necessary reforms to stabilize the public finances without explaining the facts to the public.

The evidence of fiscal mismanagement is clear to everybody, including the rating agencies. The previous administration had five consecutive years of missed fiscal targets.

To believe that this current action by Moody’s could be avoided or delayed by the continuation of the previous administration’s pattern of issuing misleading statements on the country’s fiscal health is akin to believing in the 21st century that the earth is flat.

If the previous administration had been more transparent, more honest and more responsible, the country would not have been facing these challenges.

Bahamians voted for honesty and transparency in the Government. The statements by these gentlemen simply have no place in the current debate on the fiscal challenges in the country. They are the wrong statements at the wrong time.

This administration in the Budget exercise has laid out a clear plan to return this country to fiscal health. This action by Moody’s only reinforces our belief that we are correct in our conclusion that meaningful reform is needed now, not next year or some other future date.

In this respect, I can assure the Bahamian people and the international community that appropriate action to restore the country to fiscal health is now being taken.

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