Friday, April 12, 2024

Ethereal happenings


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The word ethereal comes from the Latin  word aetherius.
The word implies, something pertaining to the sky,  or the upper air, or something not real. The Wild Coot raises the question, who trumps whom? The Central Bank or the Financial Services Commission?
 It stands to reason that if the Financial Services Commission has been set up to make financial institutions behave and toe the line, the Central Bank, being  a bank, cannot usurp power to itself and thus  be a “gullyboar”. Right!
So if the Wild Coot asks it a question, cuddear, answer him, or he will complain to the Financial Services Commission. Right!
I ask the Central Bank why if somebody claims to have BDS$1 billion (half of a billion US$), it is not included  in the fragile reserves for all Barbadians to use.
They hemming and hawing like when Sandi was in charge. On top of all of this, they set off on a mission to borrow US$350 million, come back and do not say a pang, like Humpty Dumpty. But should not the half a billion United States dollars be at our disposal, especially  if urgent business is on the horizon?
“Wild Coot you really vex. They ‘dis’ you for truth.  All the same, you always interfering with the banks  and asking questions about things that do not concern you.
Like the other day when you were talking about people issuing balance sheets and Bajans not paying attention  to what is in the balance sheets.
You think that you are the only person that can read  a balance sheet? Even after 51 years, you could be wrong. Even if substantial dividends were paid out, you have  no right to ask if Central Bank’s permission was obtained.”
“On another issue, why are you blaming the banks? Central Bank gave them carte blanche to emasculate  the corporate sector, fix the savings rate at a measly  2.5 per cent, then turn around and blame the banks  for not being attractive for investing savings? These are confusing signals.”
 It once more demonstrates the inadequacy of the system in Barbados not having its own commercial bank like all the other islands of the Caribbean. We are ruing the day that we did not buy the shares instead of letting the country sell the bank to Trinidad and having to export foreign exchange dividends at US$1.14 cents per share. How comical.
Banks are trimming sails in order to counteract  the weather; and we have no catalyst to provide  a countervailing influence.
We are now reduced to the state where we are prepared to pay tourists to come to Barbados because some foolish character did that over and away and we have  to follow fashion.
It cannot be rational thinking, and it shows the level  of desperation, or indeed the absence of ideas. What can we do now as citizens? Our leaders, whom  we just reelected, seem to be failing us, not taking any lead.
We drift along until a promised budget while  the situation requires a remedy now. The funny thing  is that we have experienced people suggesting the way forward. Silence.
“But Wild Coot, could it be that the reason for not putting the money in our foreign reserves is a lack of confidence in being able to take it back out if and when things may be in better shape? Or, a dislike for the composition of the foreign reserves as they come face  to face with their possible usages. Did you ask the Central Bank to explain what is a subordinated debt?”
Why does the Central Bank not take the opportunity  to shine a modicum of light on the seemingly rambling questions of the Wild Coot? Was there a simple explanation that satisfied the Bank but may not satisfy another curious inquisitive person?
“Wild Coot” said a test whose curiosity was piqued, “what is your beef, would you like the Central Bank to give you horse meat for an answer? Remember why a fellow’s head was brought into the palace on a platter.”
• Harry Russell is a banker.  Email

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