Bahamas: Christie administration “disappointed” by latest S&P downgrade

The Bahamas government says it is “disappointed” at the latest downgrade by the international credit rating agency Standard & Poor’s (S&P).

S&P downgraded the Bahamas’ credit rating, from BBB- to BB+, although upgrading the outlook from negative to stable.
S&P said that this rating decision stems from lower than expected gross domestic product (GDP) growth, fiscal consolidation results that are developing at a slower pace than anticipated and certain structural weaknesses that negatively impact economic growth.

But in a statement, the Perry Christie administration said it “is disappointed in this development, and is of the view that S&P’s decision does not give appropriate weight to important developments on the ground, nor The Bahamas’ strong commitment to address its economic and fiscal challenges”.

The government said that it remains focused on its plans to grow the economy, through responsible, balanced and sustainable policy initiatives and measures.
“The Government recognizes the centrality and imperative of the economic growth objective to reducing domestic economic risk factors:—stronger economic growth is required to generate more job opportunities for Bahamians and to support the near-term goals of a balanced budget and sustainable debt-to-GDP ratios.”

Economic Malaise

But the main opposition party – the Free National Movement (FNM) – said the latest ratings by the international agency underscores the “ineptitude and untrustworthiness” of the ruling Christie administration and their Progressive Liberal Party (PLP).

The FNM said that the downgrade, the fourth in 4 “confirmed that under the PLP our economy has gotten smaller; PLP produces budgets that cannot be relied upon; the PLP does not know how to create jobs; our debt level has placed us at the edge of the economic precipice; and under this PLP government we spend more on interest than we do on healthcare, security and education.

“In short, they confirmed that our fiscal and economic affairs are in a mess and the fact is we cannot expect the architects of this economic malaise to get us out of the problem. They cannot be trusted. They talk a good talk, but the facts betray their words.

The Christie administration insists that its approach to placing the public finances on a stronger footing continues to be a balanced and prudent one. -(CMC)