NO DEBT DEFAULT: Central Bank governor says Bahamas has the policy tools

NO DEBT DEFAULT: Central Bank governor says Bahamas has the policy tools
Central Bank Governor John Rolle.

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Central Bank Governor John Rolle said yesterday he does not believe that this nation will default on its debt obligations as it has all of the policy tools within its control to continue to manage those obligations.

Rolle was speaking with reporters yesterday following the presentation of the new $100 bill to Education Minister and Englerston MP Glenys Hanna Martin, daughter of former Governor-General Arthur Hanna.

“I don’t think the Bahamas I going to default,” he said.

He continued: “I think The Bahamas has all of the policy tools and levers within its control to continue to mage its debt obligations. It doesn’t undervalue the fact that you’re in the midst of a very difficult period. You just have to make the right choices in getting beyond the period and planning for the longer term.”

While speaking about the economy Rolle said: “As to what’s happening in the economy, in some respect, this is the recovery path that was expected; that it would take many months to get back to the seasonal parity where you would have been in tourism.

“That is what we are seeing. Also, in so far as the foreign exchange coming into the country, 2021 has already taken in more inflow than 2020. This is a sign that tourism’s contribution is picking up and has overtaken the total amount provided from that sector last year. I think that’s important. We have to the continent to focus on stimulating and keeping that recovery going.”

Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said last month that his administration is assessing this country’s debt arrangement to determine the best approach and to avoid any default on its debt obligations.

He was responding at the time to a prediction by noted regional economist Marla Dukharan that this nation, along with Trinidad and Tobago, is expected to default on its sovereign debt.

Dukharan noted that damages from Hurricane Dorian in September 2019, pegged at US$3.4 billion, have dealt a severe blow to this nation’s economic prospects, with the pandemic inflicting even further damage to the country’s heavily tourism-dependent economy.

The Davis administration in the Speech from the Throne has pledged to pursue measures to stabilize public finances and increase public revenue. It has also pledged to implement a Debt Management Plan to address the historic debt burden and deficit.