Senator Damani Tabor is suggesting ways in which the Gaston Browne Administration can best utilize the EC$67 million loan it has acquired from the Caribbean Development Bank.
The loan is intended to counter the economic fallout from the COVID-19 pandemic and support recovery efforts, the Bank says.
Earlier this year, the Administration indicated that it was not interested in any significant borrowing, since it did not wish to increase the country’s debt-to-GDP ratio.
However, Senator Tabor believes it was the United Progressive Party’s consistent advocacy and pressure, on behalf of the people, that caused the Administration to change its position.
Tabor says he is pleased that a portion of the loan funds has been earmarked for the cash-strapped Social Security Scheme. He hopes it will be put to good use in terms of paying pensions, which have been consistently late for many months.
The UPP Senator further believes that Government could use some of the money for budgetary support, including for wages and salaries and for COVID-19 management.
This, he says, should include the hiring of enough staff for contact tracing and for stocking up on reagents and testing supplies. This is to ensure there is national testing in all the clinics, which is critical in early detection of virus exposure.
Tabor believes that another priority should be proper medical funding in order to boost the resources of the Sir Lester Bird Medical Centre and reduce the number of COVID-19 deaths.
Tabor – who is the United Progressive Party’s Spokesperson on Telecommunication, Innovation and Smart Technology – says now is the time to implement the relief measures the UPP has recommended, including assistance to struggling businesses and to former LIAT workers.