Everett Christian, a retired banker with 30-plus years in the financial sector, says he is reliably informed that the Gaston Browne Administration used the funds from the July 2021 bond to pay debts and reported this to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).
Only recently, the United Progressive Party became aware that Government had “secretly” floated a 10-year bond for EC$540 million, with a 4 per cent interest rate, which had been taken up by Resilience Partners Incorporated.
During Thursday’s sitting of Parliament, Prime Minister Browne denied receiving those funds. And he proffered what some pundits say was an unrealistic explanation for the bond being listed among the country’s debt stock on page 102 of the 2022 Budget Estimates.
But according to Christian’s sources, during the IMF Article IV consultations earlier this year, the Government informed the agency that the bond funds were used to pay outstanding debts and finance the country’s deficit, among other uses.
Christian says the Browne Administration is “lying through its teeth.” He recalls Lennox Weston, the de facto Minister of Finance, boasting that a half-billion dollars had already been secured and that the Government was not waiting to go “cap in hand” to beg any lending agency – namely the IMF.
Despite this, the Prime Minister is seeking to persuade the Nation that the July 2021 bond and the bond that he announced in February this year – and said had been cancelled – are one and the same.
But Christian is highly skeptical.
The former banker says the Browne Administration needs to be honest with the taxpayers and let them know exactly what the money was used for – since what he heard coming from the PM’s mouth does not make any sense.
Summing up the situation, Christian says this is a case in which Cabinet Members have been caught with their “hands in the cookie jar;” and now, they are trying to find the most plausible explanation for this debacle.
According to Christian, Browne was attempting to explain the inexplicable, and so his explanation appears to have further muddied the water.