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PM promises to update country soon on external debt situation

Prime Minister Mia Mottley today promised that she will update the country soon about the Government’s external debt restructuring plan.

“Those discussions are continuing, and the public will be advised shortly of what we will be doing with respect to the foreign debt situation,” Mottley said on the call-in programme Down To Brass Tacks on Starcom Network Inc.

“The truth is, the foreign debt has always been the smallest part of our overall debt, it’s just over 20 per cent. But we do anticipate that we will have to bring resolution to that within the next few weeks to months.”

External creditors have been awaiting word from Government on debt-restructuring following Mottley’s announcement, shortly after taking office, of a suspension of payments due on debts owed to external commercial creditors.

Mottley said then that her government had inherited more than $15 billion in public debt.

An upbeat Mottley today sought to assure Barbadians that the country will be successful in building a new society, that gives people opportunity, that is rooted on the premise of fairness and justice and that give Barbadians a sense of pride again.

“Barbados is coming back economically and socially. We’re not there yet, we have to stay the course, we have to remain focused,” she said.

“The community – regionally, internationally and locally, the majority of people with whom I interact – feel that Barbados is coming back and want to give us that chance, but they recognize that this is not a 100-metre race. This is a marathon. We are passing all the right signs, we’re doing all the right things, but we cannot replace time. Time has to be gone through in order for us to finish the course.”

She described the Barbados economy as a patient that was suffering for a decade.

“The truth is that the medicine has only been applied for the last six months – so let’s give it a chance. So far, the medicine which is being applied is far less bitter than it might otherwise have been,” Mottley said.

“There are those who did not believe that the domestic and the foreign debt restructuring should be part of the equation; and we said no, because the saving that we get in interest are approximately $500 million and the savings that we will get this year in amortization and principal is about $800 million.”

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