Prime Minister Perry Christie welcomes ratings and assessments by international agencies like Moody’s, but urges these agencies should exercise due diligence in their assessment process.
Mr. Christie’s comments come after a report recently published by Moody’s questioned how the Christie administration plans to renationalise the country’s only cellular services provider; whether the move will raise the country’s debt and whether reacquiring a majority interest in the Bahamas Telecommunication Company (BTC) is in the public interest.
A representative of Moody’s claimed to have presented these questions to the government, but Mr. Christie has denied knowledge of any such exchange.
The prime minister is now urging that these companies hold discussions with governments before making uninformed assessments of any national situation.
“Any rating of the Bahamas is important,” Mr. Christie told the Journal.
“The government of The Bahamas will always be concerned about ensuring that it is rated positively. But it is difficult for us to be able to respond to a matter that has not been discussed with us. I can see if someone is looking at what we are saying from abroad that they would be curious as to why and whether or not we have some special motives. But the answers would be forthcoming if they ask and most certainly if they meet with us.”
And while the recent assessment by Moody’s seems grim, Mr. Christie said his government is confident that it will perform admirably over the next five years and invited Moody’s analysts and other ratings companies to stay tuned.
“At the end of this process of our governance, we are optimistic that we will be able to show Moody’s and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) that just as we did when we came back to office in 2002 and had a dramatic impact on employment by creating 22,000 jobs, and just as we had a lot of direct foreign investment creating jobs around The Bahamas, that we have a programme that is intended to manage what we have in New Providence and to inject new efforts in Grand Bahama,” he said.
Mr. Christie said his government intends to continue with its plan of creating anchor projects around The Bahamas.
He said his government will encourage those anchor projects to come about particularly because of the country’s “handicapping sociological points.”
“Just by way of the fact that we are an island nation,” he said, “we have people coming to Nassau and Grand Bahamas looking for jobs. And so from a macroeconomic point of view, our policy is being predicated on creating economic activity in many different islands, as quickly as we can, so we can stem the tide of people having to leave home to look for employment.”