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We must not forget the story of the boy, his sheep and the wolf

We must not forget the story of the boy, his sheep and the wolf

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EDITOR: A Committee comprising Messrs Noel Venner (Chairman) Joseph De Freitas (deceased) and Arnhim Eustace with Albert Edwards as Secretary presented an Interim Report on 3rd September 1984 and a Final Report on 7th January 1985 to the Government of SVG.

The Report recognized the difference between the External Debt and the Internal Debt of SVG.{{more}}

I will like to make some quotes from the Report – (Interim) Page 5 “as at 30th June 1984 the Contracted Public Debt totalled EC$189.9 millions of which EC$154.1 millions or 81 per cent had been disbursed”.

Please note that according to the Report ($189.9 million – $154.1 million = $38.9 million had not been disbursed. Since when has an undisbursed loan become a debt? To put it in a simpler way, if the bank approved a loan of $200,000 to build a house and the sum of $10,000 was withdrawn for preliminary expenses. Is there a loan of $10,000, $190,000 or $200,000?

In order to show that the loan was more than it really was, Eustace and the Committee padded the debt with the sum of $38.8 million.

What should have been done was to put a footnote stating that in addition to the loan of $154.1 million there is an undrawn amount of $35.8 million. Eustace and his Committee then went on to show the difference between the External Public Debt and the Internal Public Debt, and I support the Committee for doing so.

Interim Page 17 – “Table 3.5 External Public Debt by creditors as of June 30th 1984.

From the disclosure shown at left it is quite clear that the proper presentation of the Public Debt otherwise known as the National Debt is a disclosure of the External and Internal Debt separately and then both totals are added together to form the Public or National Debt.

It is the right of the Opposition to oppose the Government as vigorously as possible without breaking the law. It is my opinion that when they raise false alarms on any matter it becomes progressively more difficult to convince the public that they are serious. We must not forget the story of the boy, his sheep and the wolf.

The External Debt of any country has far-reaching implications while the Internal Debt is more manageable. I never said nor implied that the Internal Debt is not important nor that it should be ignored and not paid. I cannot point my finger on any item in the Internal Public Debt that will make demands on the Government for repayment in the matter of Bankruptcy against the Government.

By the way, I added the total of the External Debt of $65,793,468 and the total of the Internal Debt of $72,740,363 and got the sum of $138,533,831 not the $154.1 million as stated by Eustace.

There is a growing weakness among some academics that they seem not to be able to argue a matter calmly and without hostility. They seem to have abandoned the concept of promoting a kinder and gentler society.

JG Thompson

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