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Jun 29, 2020

Sparks Fly Over Loan Motions

On Friday, sparks flew in the National Assembly building during the Sitting of the House of Representatives when loan motions were tabled.  One such involved the Caribbean Development Bank COVID-19 Emergency Response Support Loan motion of fifteen million U.S. dollars, presented by Prime Minister Barrow. The purpose of the loan is to provide funds to assist the government to be able to meet its debt service obligation to the C.D.B. over the period July first to June thirtieth, 2021. Leader of Opposition, John Briceño was making the point during the debate that government was borrowing too much too close to an election. But Prime Minister Dean Barrow responded that it was not new money that the government was receiving.


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“This money that we are borrowing with respect to the fifteen million dollars from the C.D.B., again instead of displaying his ignorance to the nation and the world, the Leader of the Opposition could have sought, ignorance is a lack of knowledge ma’am. And I am telling you he has displayed an utter lack of knowledge and let me tell you why. This is no money to be deployed on projects spending. It is money in the context of COVID-19. But all this is doing, it is not fresh money, this is to liquidate debts that we have with the C.D.B. in the same amount and Madam Speaker to be able to whip does out because those were on far more well not onerous, on terms not nearly as soft as the terms for this loan and so to repay that fifteen million dollars on these absolutely and extraordinary favourable terms. That is all it is doing. It is not new money. You obviously did not understand. Madam Speaker.”


Laura Tucker Longsworth, Speaker of the House

“Opposition Leader you had your turn. Opposition Leader please.”


Dean Barrow

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“You are ignorant.”


Laura Tucker Longsworth

“Unless you have a point of order, you cannot be disruptive Opposition Leader, please. You know the meeting has just began, no Opposition leader.”


John Briceño, Leader of the Opposition

“But the man is being disingenuous Madam Speaker. He thinks he is in a court of law. He is not in the court of law. He is in the House where he speaks to the people of this country. So I am Madam Speaker.”


John Briceño

Laura Tucker Longsworth

“You are not going to allow me to speak? Opposition Leader you are ignoring the authority of the House. Please do not be disruptive. You have many debates all these motions you are fully aware what is coming up and you have a chance right along the way to present your points. Kindly proceed.”


Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Yes Madam Speaker, for his education, well let me continue my attempt to educate him because he is utterly resistant. He doesn’t seem to have the capacity. Again, of course it is a loan but it is a loan; what are you? Christopher Columbus? Of course it is a loan. It is described as a loan. It is brought to the House as a loan motion but purpose of the loan is not to do any new spending. It is to liquidate I repeat Madam Speaker the line, the loan that we already have with C.D.B. in the same amount but this then allows us to repay, there is no net increase in borrowing in other words. We are borrowing to liquidate what is already there but to repay the new loan, liquidating the old loan on the same on far softener term. Straight forward, simple. Even a child in standard six would understand. I don’t know what it says about the Leader of the Opposition.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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