BUSINESS MONDAY: Debt restructuring process was painful, says Wellington

THE domestic debt restructuring process was very painful for the financial institutions in Barbados.

Ms. Donna Wellington, who is the President of the Barbados Banking Association (BBA), told this to the media while participating in the first public forum of the Monitoring Committee of the Barbados Economic Recovery and Transformation (BERT) programme.

“There were losses from the restructuring, just like there were losses for other people who had debt in Barbados: pensioners, other people, and corporations holding Barbados Government debt. Everybody felt the pain of the domestic debt restructuring that happened,” the BBA official said.

However, when pressed to quantify the losses and in particular those sustained by the commercial banks, Ms. Wellington declined to provide details.

The BBA official made the point that they do not want to see Barbados fail. She stated that while they continue to do the work of monitoring, they do not want to see Barbados from a debt perspective, reaching the level of high debt again.

Saying that they in the Monitoring Committee took their role very seriously, Ms. Wellington pointed out that failure for Barbados to meet its targets set in the BERT programme, will mean increased debt. She explained further that the country had moved from a high mountain of debt and is making progress in dealing with that situation.

The last Central Bank of Barbados report indicated that the country’s debt fell from 157 per cent of GDP to about 126 per cent at December 31, 2018. “From this perspective, we hope we will never have to come here again,” she declared with reference to the debt reduction.

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