Debt Swap does not mean debt relief

Debt swap does not mean debt relief.

Ryan Straughn
Ryan Straughn, a minister in the Ministry of Finance

First it was Ryan Straight singing the benefits of Barbados entering a debt swap arrangement with CIBC FirstCaribbean and Credit Suisse International. It was reported both institutions agreed to the government of Barbados buying back BDS$150 million each. The mechanics of the deal: savings generated from rebooking the debt at a lower rate will be used to finance government’s marine conservation plans.

See related article – Debt swap

Next it was Prime Minister Mia Mottley last week announcing another debt swap worth BBD$600 million to be utilised to finance the upgrade of the controversial South Coast Treatment plant (SCTP). The financial agencies mentioned with the deal were the Inter-American Development Bank, the European Investment Bank, and the Green Climate Fund.

See related article – PM says capital for upgrading South Coast Sewage Treatment Plant won’t increase Gov’t debt

In both cases there should be no criticism about the need for government to allocate resources to upgrade the SCTP and marine environment. Barbados is a small island developing state that is heavily dependent on a pristine environment to maintain its character. The country is beginning to take on a haphazard appearance with the high volume of vehicles on the road, photovoltaic panels littering our fields and hills, houses being planted everywhere, itinerant vending everywhere, et cetera.

We are doing this without increasing a cent in debt. But that is because we have built credibility in being able to discuss the climate issues and to show that water scarcity was already a problem before the climate crisis really started to be exacerbated for us.

Prime Minister Mia Mottley

I want to say to Barbadians today that this new deal, this Bajan deal, will not cost them a cent. It will not cost their children a cent, it will not cost their children’s children a cent.

Minister Adrian Forde

This will not impact the budget of the Ministry of Environment.

Minister Ryan Straughn

Government talking heads should know we – the members of the public – have received the memo, which is, the debt swap will not add to the heavy national debt – players involved have leveraged current low interest rates to ‘refinance’ debt booked at higher interest rates to free up dollars for needed projects. What the blogmaster prefers is for the full details of the arrangements to be made public.

Early this year Barbadians were blindsided by the news an additional $150 million dollars in interest cost was added to Barbados’ foreign debt. The Mottley government had informed Barbadians- like it is doing today re debt swaps- the advantage of capitalising on borrowing at low interest rates. However, it was subsequently revealed there was a variable interest rate clause included in the agreement with lenders. As a result, Barbados will continue to incur interest cost on the significant debt borrowed by the government because interest rates have been rising.

This is why all loan agreements engaged by government should be shared with the public in the interest of transparency and to afford the opportunity for our best intellect to be available to government to assist with vetting. There is a high level of apathy, cynicism and distrust by the public directed at government and politicians. Barbadians must exert greater focus on decisions being taken in various high rise offices in Washington that mortgage our future.

The blogmaster understands that Mottley has been riding a climate change narrative on the global stage, to the extent her name is being mentioned as a front runner for the job of Secretary General of the United Nations in 2026. What cannot be refuted when the pretty talk is dispense with with – a debt swap does not mean debt relief.

42 thoughts on “Debt Swap does not mean debt relief

  1. The Emperor has no clothes, …and is surrounded by a set of blind BB mice….
    This government propensity to see every shiite issue as ‘?? many’ million dollars that we are able to ‘borrow on easy terms’ is the hallmark of a ‘Parro’.

    There MUST beat least one child with eyes to see …and the guts to inform everyone of the nakedness…

    Shiite man!! ..even a national curse cannot be so all encompassing…
    …can it…?

    • @Bush Tea

      It is unfortunate that the bad circumstances we find ourselves our politicians must Christmas wrap ‘solutions’ fraught with risk because they know their supporters and the ignorant will run with it. How about doing what is right for country for a change. Why should we applaud if they are the ones who brought us here?

  2. The only thing that will really help us is debt forgiveness.

    All the fancy words like debt restructuring and debt rescheduling and a debt moritorium only mean one thing so I will put it in simple bajan.


    • The only thing that will really help us is debt forgiveness.
      In other words, WE DEAD!??!

      …cause those albino-centric devils DO NOT FORGIVE debt… ask Haiti…. even when the ‘debt’ is really stolen local assets.

      The ONLY thing that will help us, is when OUR GOD steps in and send another Moses to deal with the demonic Pharaohs.

      In EXACTLY the same way that our BB ancestors back then HANDED THEMSELVES over into slavery and serfdom, we have reversed all the gains made by people like Adams and Barrow and made our BB way back into Egypt.
      …and why?
      We are trying to live ‘materialistically’ … like the damn demons.

      Such idiocy CANNOT be natural… It looks as if God’s chosen people come with a BB flaw that retards our thinking.

  3. @ David

    I don’t know why you print this topic on this blessed Sunday cause it going only Vexify me today.

    Last time they had a debt restructure what happen.? I billion plus of we NIS MONEY get wipe off the books. White oaks get pay nuff and up to today I have not been told the answer to the below question and em is only 1 that I asking.



    I ain’t t wat to hear bout ” we saved a considerable amount bla bla bla.” I want a number and proof of how wunna arrived at it. After all the auditor general says alot of the calculators in there like they want batteries.

    • @John A

      There are a no confidence in these overqualified financial advisors and with other ministry of finance if we examine their body of work. What is known is that we have a big appetite for borrowing and equally paying consultants. All this being done with a very large Cabinet.

  4. That and sinkyuh bout here giving people financial advice at the SBA.

    I got some advice for them too. DONT LISTEN TO HE ALL HE KNOW BOUT IS A XEROX MACHINE! LOL

    • @John A

      Sinckler is an overqualified member of the political directorate. He was minister of finance and that is his qualification to open doors. His record in the job is of secondary importance.

  5. Who in their right minds would bring Stinkliar back here to talk shiite to a national association?

    Goes to confirm that our brassbowlery is not confined to the political class… It permeates the whole BB place…

    …and the Lodge School bring another colossal joker to lecture them…

    What the Hell!!
    Boss, wuh you could as well invite Petra Wickky back to BU as our political Guru..
    The whole place like um gone mad as shiite…

    • Do not forget the hierarchy of this government rubber stamp his (Sinckler) reference for the cushy job he was able to land.

  6. Give them a little credit boss.
    Perhaps they wanted him as far away as possible…

    Have you not yet deduced that the ‘punishment’ for being a useless idiot in this government is promotion?

    Is that not why Bostic is gone, and Doobad and Simmunds are ‘seniors’?
    Bushie is looking for a major promotion for Ryan shortly too…after his response to the Auditor Gen.
    What a cursed place…

  7. I feel if I was to ask sinkyuh how may feet in a yard he would tell me it depends on how many people was in de yard at the time!


    • John A
      He may get that one right (providing no amputees are present),

      But DO NOT ask him about anything involving decimals yuh hear!!!

  8. @ Bush Tea

    No I would not take that chance. Nor would I risk going over 2 digits, or ask any questions with a $ in front the number, cause if it was a multiplication I know I would still end up with less than I start wid!

    Wuhloss look at my crosses today!

    • IF Sinckler is the butt of jokes by locals, what could they be possibly saying in the international arena?

  9. This is the meaning of financialization.

    Finding more and more creative ways to make a nothingness out of nothing.

    But the people voted twice to double down on nothingness.

    Once the memes, constructed in Washington, like fiscal space, sound good, the overwhelming majority will be persuaded, again.

    But one has to sympatize, given the calculus.

    It sound be expected that every hairbrain scheme will be exhausted before Bajans realize that capitalism is unworkable, has reached its nadir.

  10. ” to the extent her name is being mentioned as a front runner for the job of Secretary General of the United Nations in 2026.”

    I was the original the first like DJ Grandmaster Flash who first rapped these lyrics and idea on the net that Mia would follow her jobbie as PM on Little Island and progress to the World Stage and this meme grew legs on it and ran and ran all the way to Barbados Parliament and then the United Nations in NYC. I am psychic.

    George Floyd’s lynching by Chauvin in 2020 and them white folks reconciling their inherent inbred racism, that was so deep rooted in their psyche they didn’t even notice it, gave pause for the cause, a black woman is not as deemed a dangerous threat as a black man and are promoted all the time for diversity targets for ticking the woman and race boxes.

    As a side note passing thought, while passing through, the Barbados Slave Code gave instructions on how to treat and mistreat slaves, by the book, but so did the Christian Bible.

    Black On Purpose
    Name: Mia Mottley
    Height-Weight: 2Black2Strong
    Blood Type: Yoruba
    Port of Origin: Unknown

    Regarding the Thread Topic, Bankruptcy is debt relief, and robbing Peter to pay Paul is the preamble, applying for credit at initial low rates to pay off other loans at high rates is common tactics

  11. “IF Sinckler is the butt of jokes by locals, what could they be possibly saying in the international arena?”

    @ David

    Despite the fact that Sincker was an abysmal failure as Finance Minister and Economic Affairs, in all FAIRNESS to him, otherwise he has an impressive resume.

    Remember, before Sinckler entered ‘electoral politics,’ he was Executive Coordinator of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre (CPDC) from 1999 to 2007.

    And, as Finance Minister, afforded him the opportunity to served as Governor for the World Bank, IMF, Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank.

    And, immediately prior to joining the World Bank, Sinckler was also the lead consultant with the Tachenico Consultants Inc., a private consultancy advisory service and serves as CPDC’s Consultant Policy Advisor on Debt Relief and Development Finance Architecture Reform.

    He is currently the Alternate Executive Director of the Canada, Ireland, Caribbean World Bank Group……for Antigua & Barbuda, Bahamas, Barbados, Belize, Dominica, Grenada, Guyana, Jamaica, St. Lucia, St. Kitts & Nevis, St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Canada and Ireland.

    What we should ask is IF his CURRENT DUTIES as Alternative Executive Director, are DIRECTLY SIMILAR to those of a finance minister, in terms of addressing domestic economical growth and policy, developing financial and monetary regulations and ensuring their application, proposing and implementing national debt policy, managing public debt etc, and other responsibilities associated with the portfolio.

    Perhaps the jokes may be as a result of people’s INABILITY or REFUSAL to SEPARATE Sincker’s political career from his professional career.

    According to you, David, ‘discuss for 10 marks.’

    • @Artax

      You can list a resume as long as the hand of rubber man, Sinckler’s legacy will always be haunted by his tenure as MoF during the ‘lost decade’ by Barbadians.

    • -Executive Coordinator of the Caribbean Policy Development Centre
      -Governor for the World Bank, IMF, Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank.
      -lead consultant with the Tachenico Consultants Inc., a private consultancy advisory service
      -CPDC’s Consultant Policy Advisor on Debt Relief and Development Finance Architecture Reform.
      These are all shiite assignments, … where any joker can sit quietly and harmlessly for a while until their CV is adequately satisfied.

      The ONLY requirement for such posts is a god father or god mother, OR to have sold your soul to the powers that be, and be available to be deployed as directed.

      REAL work -such as national leadership, or even basic arithmetic is a completely different animal.

  12. @ Artax

    I not with you on the inability to separate sinkyous political career from his professional one.

    If his professional career is based on his knowledge of economics and financial leadership and these “talents” were applied when minister of finance, then I conclude he was a dismal failure as a professional. If indeed we base his achievements on any financial, analytical or basic management standards for the 10 years he was MOF, I cant see how one can say he was a beacon of achievement. Here in my view were his major achievements as a financial manager for the state.




    As for his political career I left the electorate to judge that, as I do believe he was part of the first 30 to 0 purging delivered at the hand of the BLP.

    I therefore now rest my case.

  13. In the United States there is no pretense between debt swaps and debt relief.

    As Jamal Bowman literally pulls a fire alarm to avoid a congressional vote which would have meant more war debt to Ukraine.

    Even under the rubric of relief to the American arms companies to which most of this Ukraine war debt is ledgered.

    How amazing a war can be, on the one hand, Ukraine is saddled with mountains of debt which can never be repaid.

    And on the other, politicians get to give their friends within the armaments industry no end of money.

    Money which then turns up in campaign contributions to these same politicians like Bowman.

    Not real money of course. Just useless paper. For which its issuer is itself indebted to Barbados and the rest of the world.

    As we talk about debt relief and debt swaps. We should remember that the United States is the largest debtor nation.

    The United States does not expect, ever, to have to repay its debts. For it should be Barbados which needs to swap its holdings to other than US paper.

    This should be the issue. Not the useless discourse about foolishness.

    Lest Barbados wakes up one morn and finds what reserves they thought they had are no more.

    The shiiiite is getting ready to hit the fan. Look out for the coming collapse of the corporate real estate sector to be the leading edge like the mortgage speculation was in a 2008 redux.

  14. @ John A

    RE: “I not with you on the inability to separate sinkyous political career from his professional one.”

    You have NOT only FAILED to SEPARATE Sincker’s professional and political careers, but you did not address the issues raised.

    RE: “If his professional career is based on his knowledge of economics and financial leadership and these “talents” were applied when minister of finance, then I conclude he was a dismal failure as a professional.”

    You’ve again demonstrated a misunderstanding of the terms, political and professional.

    Sinckler has a MSc degree in International Trade Policy from UWI.
    Based on his work in the private sector, his expertise is international trade policy.
    There ISN’T any information available that suggests he FAILED in his PROFESSIONAL duties in the PRIVATE sector.

    Bear in mind, political career relates to the state, government, the body politic, public administration, policy-making, etc.
    Sinckler was parliamentary representative for St. Michael North West.
    He was Minister of Social Care, Constituency Empowerment, Urban and Rural Development; Minister of Foreign Affairs, Foreign Trade and International Business; and Minister of Finance and Economic Affairs; and also Leader of Government Business.
    Remember, Senator, Minister, Parliamentary Secretary, Minister of State, Leader of Government Business…… are POLITICAL APPOINTMENTS.

    Perhaps you should FIRST DETERMINE what are the DIRECT DIFFERENCES and SIMILARITIES between international trade policy and formulating economic policy.

    RE: “I cant see how one can say he was a beacon of achievement.”

    I ACKNOWLEDGED the FACT that Sinckler was an ABYSMAL FAILURE in his political career as Finance Minister…… and, DID NOT MENTIONED ANYTHING to SUGGEST “he was a beacon of achievement.”

    Stephen Lashley is a lawyer (professional career), who was an abysmal failure as Minister of Sport (political career).

    Should I use his failure as sports minister as a benchmark to determine his professional ability as a lawyer?

  15. @ Artax

    I am judging his professional abilities on how he ran the economy of Barbados for 8 years. Don’t know how simpler I can put it than that. The reality is under his professional management as the minister of finance, the issues I mentioned above all occured.

    If that should be viewed as his political performance and not his professional performance by some, then I beg to differ.

    We all have our opinions and are entitled to them, its like the arguement over the half full glass.

    • $100m loan bid


      GOVERNMENT IS SEEKING to borrow $100 million from the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to help it implement the proposed major reform of the national pensions system, including a revamped National Insurance Scheme (NIS), and other social services.
      The plan is detailed in a September 29, 2023 summary “project profile” prepared by an 18-member team led by Dulce Baptista, a senior specialist in the IDB’s labour markets division.
      The National Insurance And Social Security (Amendment) Act, 2023, was passed by the House of Assembly and the Senate on July 28 and August 9, respectively. It cleared the way for the NIS to become a “body corporate” called the National Insurance and Social Security Service (NISSS). The NISSS will administer pensions now paid by the NIS and Government pensions and gratuity for retired public sector workers, which are currently the Ministry of Finance’s responsibility.
      “The Government of Barbados made a proposal recommending the consolidation of both schemes under the National Insurance Scheme and the change of the governance structure to a commercial statutory body, the National Insurance and Social Security Service, granting more autonomy to human resources management,” the IDB team stated.
      It explained that the Programme To Strengthen Social Services In Barbados was intended to improve the administrative efficiency of contributory and non-contributory social protection; improve the institutional and normative framework to enable the effectiveness of policies to promote gender equality and the protection of vulnerable groups; and strengthen the long-run sustainability of social security.
      Four components
      While the report did not give a breakdown of how the $100 million loan, if approved, will be allocated, it outlined that the project had four components, starting with an effort to “support macroeconomic stability through maintaining a stable macroeconomic framework consistent with the objective of the programme”.
      Component 2 will be to “improve the operational and administrative efficiency of contributory and noncontributory social protection”.
      “It will support improvements in the administrative efficiency of the NIS by consolidating all contributory social security in the NIS, granting more independence to the NIS and promoting its digital transformation. This component will also strengthen the Ministry of People Empowerment and Elder Affairs,” the IDB team said.
      The officials said thirdly, the plan was to “enhance gender equality and the protection of vulnerable groups”.
      “It will support reforms and policies to enhance gender equality in the care of newborn children. This component will also support measures to improve the lives of older persons, people with disabilities, children, youth and families in extreme poverty. It will also support the One Family Programme enactment, including its 2023 budget allocation,” the project profile added.
      The IDB team said Component 4 involved the “long-run sustainability of the social security system”.
      “It will support the long-run sustainability of social security systems of both public and private sector employees through parametric reforms. It will also improve the Unemployment Fund replenishment to restore long-run sustainability after the pandemic and will strengthen the governance of the NIS investment policy,” the 11-page document stated.
      The IDB team also said the operation budget “is estimated at US$50 million ($100 million) from the ordinary capital of the bank and will support the implementation of medium-term reforms”.
      Social security
      The report noted that Government “had a history of extending contributory social security and non-contributory social protection to its citizens, with social spending representing 12 per cent to 16 per cent of GDP annually”.
      However, it also highlighted some gaps in the provision of pensions and social services.
      “Effective pension coverage is 63.5 per cent; 45.7 per cent of people with severe disabilities collect disability benefits; 88 per cent of unemployed receive unemployment benefits; and 9.6 per cent of the vulnerable population are covered by social assistance,” the project profile stated.

      Source: Nation

  16. “What the blogmaster prefers is for the full details of the arrangements to be made public.”
    GFL…not the Good for Life organization, but Good Fucking Luck.
    While conceptually understandable, the actual ‘swap’ mechanics can be quite varied. And it is doubtful the granting multilateral has any involvement in the ‘development project’. So you already know, these swap funds become a political slushfund.
    The same way taxpayers spent BDS124 M to restart Four Seasons…..let your imagination run as to what can happen here.
    The trough feeders are lining up 😁😁

  17. @JohnA
    Sinkyuh actually did some brilliant things, albeit we don’t know if they were his idea.
    The GoB was able to trust (divert) over $400M in public and SOE employee contributions without a peep ever being disclosed.
    The NIS was able to acquire billions in GoB Bonds, way beyond the guidance limits issued. Almost every public/SOE had maxxed out their available credit. The MoF oversaw a corporation, CBL, which issued $120M in loan guarantees, of which ALL were defaulted. AND when the same entity received Land as default collateral, were able to sell that land without ever receiving payment.
    And as a cherry 🍒 on top, the majority of public entities ceased supplying Annual Reports, so who would know?
    Orchestrated brilliance.

  18. It’s 6:13pm

    This writer has made reference to US policy, three scores, and 10 to achieved high marks in 365 days.


    Who’s counting.

  19. “WE DEAD”

    Barbados has been DEAD for years, some 65+ to be exact. Where’s the CEMETERY, oh yes, its been excavated for a new TOURIST Savior HOTEL, ha, ha and all the associated DEBT that will be re-negotiated as “debt relief” at a significantly higher interest rate and years added to the amortization time, Barbados Politicians BATTING well above their weight class.

  20. Belated best wishes to our Supreme Leader Mia Mottley, Ruler of Barbados and President for Life of the BLP, on her birthday yesterday!

    As requested, our beloved government has lowered land taxes for the great powers on this formerly royal island. I might now recommend voting for the BLP for another 2 terms …

  21. @Tron

    “As requested, our beloved government has lowered land taxes for the great powers on this formerly royal island.”

    You drinking that EXTRA OLD(2Years) BAJAN RUM again, my old eyes did not notice any lower land taxes.

  22. @Tron

    My brother benefited from that land tax grant on Friday. His small property valued under the three hundred thousand-dollar ceiling.

    Much praise to our supreme leader
    Mia Amor Mottley..

  23. These are the Finance Ministers we have had:
    Errol Barrow
    Tom Adams
    Bernard St. John
    Erskine Sandiford
    Richard Haynes
    David Thompson
    Chris Sinkler
    Mia Mottley
    Lets look at what they have been or will be most remembered for:
    Barrow: Free Education
    Adams: Free Hold Tenantry Act
    Sandiford : Barbados Community College
    Mottley : Too early to tell ( Some may say writing off $1000 000 in NIS money
    Haynes: An over the top tax relief (back raising St. John)
    ***St. John: Expertise in Tourism and Agriculture
    Sinkler: Being given a high ranking international job recommended by the same Minister of Finance(Mottley) who called him a dismal failure when he was Minister of Finance
    Arthur : Promoting CARICOM
    Note: Adams, Sandiford and Mottley all went to the IMF with cap in hand begging.
    We can beat up Sinkler forever but there is certainly no evidence of pure economics or financial genius in any of them
    *** Perhaps the most underrated of all

    • WS
      You need to appreciate one good deed deserves another.
      CBL paid off client debts, while have large tranches for non-specified miscellaneous items (legal fees?). Not ONE guaranteed cent was ever repaid. And ALL $120M was used (based on the subsequent attempted write off).
      The Cabal in full force.

  24. @ WS

    I Would give Mr Sandiford making a hard decision that cost him the election while saving the bds dollar.

    • John A, Sandiford’s political opponents eventually acknowledged the success of his economic structural adjustment programme policies, and used it as a reason to bestow a knighthood upon him. Even after ‘severely’ criticising him. The hypocrisy of politics.

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