High crime hampering growth, says Rambarran
...but investors still coming
Criminal activity has been rising for the last decade, so the business community should have by now been incorporating preventative measures into its decisions, Central Bank Governor Jwala Rambarran said yesterday.
“We have to bear in mind that we’ve had rising levels of criminal activity in the last decade, it has become almost, in a sense, part of the rules of the game and the business community has to by now be incorporating that into their business decisions,” Rambarran told reporters after the launch of the bank’s Monetary Policy Report for November at the National Energy Skills Centre in Debe.
Nevertheless, Rambarran said crime continues to be a significant constraint to economic growth and the bank would “really like to see a meaningful reduction”.
Despite the costly impact of crime, Rambarran responded to a question on the “skyrocketing costs” crime has had on the business community asking, “Where is the evidence?”
“We’ve had this for a long time. I’m not denying the high impact of the cost of crime in business but it is something that we’ve had for a while now... international investors have looked at this and they are saying they are fairly comfortable with where we are saying we are going with our crime initiatives (and they are) willing to put their money in the country,” he said.
He noted the “tremendous” response from the Government on a recent bond issue on the international market.
The Ministry of Finance last week launched a US$550 million bond to international investors in New York, Los Angeles and London. The initial offer was US$500 million but was oversubscribed close to ten times (nearly US$5 billion) so it was increased by US$50 million.
“(International investors) were willing to put their money in Trinidad and Tobago. It is a wake-up call to the local business community that if international investors are willing to show this boost of confidence in the economy, what are they (domestic players) willing to do here?” Rambarran asked. —Carla Bridglal