In the last six weeks or so, Finance Minister Colm Imbert has adopted a much more aggressive and engaged approach to the recovery of CL Financial’s (CLF) $15 billion debt to taxpayers than either he or his three predecessors adopted previously.
Mr Imbert’s new approach to the resolution of the eight-years-and-counting national migraine may have been stimulated by the attempt by CLF shareholders to wrest control of the company’s board from the government, without any legally binding commitment to repay the $15 billion.
All taxpayers need to keep that $15 billion debt uppermost in their minds in the context of T&T’s increasing fiscal deficits, mounting national debt and chronic foreign exchange shortages.
There is no doubt that the repayment of the $15 billion debt would slow down the lay offs of public servants and the closure of state enterprises, while allowing the quicker procurement of pharmaceuticals and the financing of the capital expenditure programme necessary to kickstart the economy?
But what accounts for the minister going out of his way to reveal Peter Permell’s private financial information and to publicly and repeatedly dispute Mariano Browne’s misunderstanding of the amount of legal and advisory fees the government has paid in this matter?