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National development bank plan by NDP is yesterday’s solution – PM

National development bank plan by NDP is  yesterday’s solution – PM

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One difference that can be discerned between the Unity Labour Party’s (ULP) manifesto and that of the New Democratic Party (NDP) is the formation of a regional development bank, as opposed to formation of a sole local development bank.

This distinction was made by the leader of the ULP Dr Ralph Gonsalves at the media launch of his party’s youth manifesto on Monday at party headquarters{{more}} in Richmond Hill.

“A difference that you will discern from the two manifestos is that the NDP wants to have a St Vincent stand alone development bank. Well, throughout the region we have gone that route and that is yesterday’s solution; it has failed.”

Gonsalves reminded journalists of the failed Development Corporation and then the failed St Vincent Development Bank, which was started under leader of the NDP Arnhim Eustace.

“Eustace started just before he left the St Vincent Development Bank; the equity was $5 million, which was less than the size of the bad loans which came over from DEVCO, so at birth his bank was strangled.

“It’s easy to set up a national development bank and put $5 million in it, $10 million in it; it’s a piggy bank…,” Gonsalves indicated.

As a member of the monetary council of the East Caribbean Currency Union (ECCU), Gonsalves disclosed that he has been pushing for the formation of a regional development bank with the sole purpose of lending to the private sector.

“So, what I have been pushing as the most senior member of the monetary council continuously… is for the establishment of a regional development bank and that has been accepted. If you have a regional development bank, regional for the OECS, different from the regional from the currency union territories, different from the Caribbean Development Bank,” Gonsalves stated.

“…this regional development bank for the currency union will lend only to the private sector and we will be able channel a lot of resources through it and we want a special lending window in it for young entrepreneurs,” he continued.

Gonsalves also noted that investors tend not to put money into national development banks. However, he indicated that investors will be more than willing to put money in the proposed regional development bank.

The ULP’s youth manifesto gives details on the development of areas that affect the youth, such as education, health and wellness, sports and culture, housing and global citizenship and governance. The manifesto also outlines areas where the ULP had made advancements and areas which still require work.

Copies of the manifesto may be had at ULP constituency offices or read online. (CM)

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