NIC De­fends Loan To Gov­ern­ment

The Star (St. Lucia) - - LOCAL - ---Joshua St. Aimee

Dur­ing a town hall meet­ing in Vieux Fort on 22 July, St. Lu­cia Labour Party per­son­nel crit­i­cized the gov­ern­ment’s de­ci­sion to bor­row $100 mil­lion from the Na­tional In­surance Cor­po­ra­tion. Party leader Phillip J. Pierre de­scribed the sit­u­a­tion as very se­ri­ous and that it may have im­pli­ca­tions on the avail­abil­ity of money for pen­sion­ers. Pierre told the crowd: “The gov­ern­ment’s cash flow can­not af­ford the $100 mil­lion to pay back in­vestors and that’s a dan­ger­ous sign for a gov­ern­ment that says the econ­omy is im­prov­ing.” He asked: “What as­sur­ances does the gov­ern­ment have that the $100 mil­lion worth of bonds will be sold in time to re­pay the NIC?”

Last Novem­ber Pierre had threat­ened: “If Allen Chas­tanet be­lieves he can touch the NIC funds of the peo­ple of Saint Lu­cia . . . all hell will break loose in his coun­try!” Asked on Tues­day to elab­o­rate, he said: “Hell is al­ready break­ing loose. Aren’t you read­ing on so­cial me­dia how peo­ple are wor­ried?” He said his party had in mind protest ac­tion that would be “purely demo­cratic and peace­ful”.

Re­spond­ing to the SLP crit­i­cism as he made his way to par­lia­ment on Tues­day, Prime Min­is­ter Chas­tanet said he was “not sure, what the hoopla is all about”.

Ref­er­enc­ing the NIC loan, he said: “This is a tra­di­tional prac­tice. Gov­ern­ments have ei­ther gone to the com­mer­cial en­ti­ties or to NIC to bor­row short-term funds to help with cash-flow pro­cesses. As you’re col­lect­ing your tax rev­enues and is­su­ing out new bonds and turn­ing over these bonds, there gen­er­ally tends to be a cash-flow dis­rup­tion . . . which is ab­so­lutely nor­mal.”

Ad­di­tion­ally: “I’m very em­bar­rassed for the op­po­si­tion, that they would at­tempt to play cheap pol­i­tics with the sta­bil­ity of the coun­try. To even sug­gest in any way that this was jeop­ar­diz­ing the pen­sions of peo­ple!” He said the NIC is “ex­tremely well fi­nanced” and has a “very large pool of re­serve re­sources”.

The NIC later is­sued a press re­lease that read in part: “We would like to as­sure all stake­hold­ers, in­clud­ing con­trib­u­tors, pen­sion­ers, em­ploy­ees, and other ser­vice providers, that we would not take any de­ci­sion that would ei­ther im­pair the Cor­po­ra­tion’s abil­ity to dis­charge its obli­ga­tions in the nor­mal course of busi­ness, or ad­versely im­pact the long-term vi­a­bil­ity of the Cor­po­ra­tion.”

Prime min­is­ter Allen Chas­tanet says NIC loan is busi­ness as usual.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Saint Lucia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.