Pringle: Go back to the IMF


Leader of the Opposition, Jamale Pringle, wants the government to return to the International Monetary Fund (IMF) to borrow money to meet its shortfall in revenues.

Speaking on the Antigua Commercial Bank (ACB) loan agreement bill in the House of Representatives, Pringle said he did not support the government borrowing the $126 million at an ‘exorbitant interest rate’. “Why we, the people of Antigua and Barbuda, should look at this facility when the government should be able to borrow monies at concessionary rate?

“For example, I think, and the government tries to avoid it, to have a relationship with the IMF. We all know the situation; the government’s back is against the wall as it literally has no money. We hear the cry every day: with this pandemic, why not approach the IMF?” he asked.

Pringle added that at one per cent interest, the payments over time would save the country money. He said pursuing an IMF loan at one percent, versus a loan from ACB at 6.5 percent, would net the country $30 million over the life of the loan.

The opposition leader also contends that taking a loan over $127 million from ACB could very well undermine the main. Additionally, he accused the government of depriving small businesses of loans to finance their operations. He also charged the government with taking a large slice of the loan portfolio.

In response to the opposition leader, Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Lennox Weston, said going to the IMF is not in the best interest of Antigua and Barbuda at this time.

He said the IMF is considered ‘lender of last resort’ and countries only approach this institution for assistance when they have nowhere else to turn.

Additionally, IMF loans come with harsh conditions that countries must implement in order to meet the loan obligations. He also said that the country’s reputation would suffer.

“When you declare bankruptcy as a country, the reputational damage is massive. Nobody does business with a bankrupt country; no investor comes to a bankrupt country. All your financial systems are under threat so that when you go to the IMF it is not only about what interest rate you get. The biggest cost of going to the IMF is reputational damage and not being able to drive private investment in the economy because people know you can’t manage your finances properly,” he warned.

He noted that going to the IMF for a bail out would be conceding to the world you have no ideas or capacity.

Prime Minister Gaston Browne, who introduced the bill, said the government is using the facility to consolidate several existing loans with ACB into one loan that will be repaid over a longer period of time at a reduced monthly payment.

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  1. It is obvious Pringle does not know how the Fund works. What is even more sad is that he is within the same camp of the worst minister of finance any country in the western hemisphere has seen and who should have so guided him but as usual HFWL has failed.

    Pringle this whole issue of crowding out that you spoke to is more of a theoretical construct. Banks in Antigua are a wash with liquidity so it is virtually impossible for persons not to be able to get lending. Further atleast within the ECCB area a bank”s ability to have access to additional funds is not limited by it’s deposit base only. That is your schooling for today.

  2. “…people will know you can’t manage your finances properly…conceding to the world you have no ideas or capacity.”

    That’s why the IMF is the last option…we intelligently (in a cash strap country) prefer 6+percent over the long term in lieu of 1 percent over the long term…


  3. So much faith in the IMF yet his party in 2013 borrowed some 95 million USD from credit Suisse at 13 percent interest. IMF was no longer an option? Is it because they pointed out his admin was wasting public funds hence its fiscal position was unsustainable? Let me quote them: “This year, the economy is expected to grow by 1.6 percent, up from 0.5 percent in 2013; and inflation is expected to remain subdued at around 1 percent. However, risks to this outlook are high, stemming in particular from the country’s unsustainable fiscal situation, and the large share of nonperforming loans in the banking system. see Press Release No.14/194 May 1, 2014. Well its labor that not only grew the economy by some 4 percent (3.6 percent according to IMF data, some 2% more than the 1.6% IMF projected) but also fixed the non performing loan issue.

  4. Wow….so go back to the IMF and not to our local bank? Why not borrow the money from a local bank and pay the interest to our own local bank?

  5. This article is late since Parliament was last week.

    Other than disagreeing with the Leader of the Opposition, what is frightening is the deterioration of his presentations in parliament. I am convinced that those who are “advising” him actually want him to fail and look bad. I hope he knows who is sincerely for/against him. Sad. Pitiful. Disgraceful.

    • @Reply. AND WHAT ABOUT THE LOAN??? Usual ‘comraids’ character assasination since they cannot defend the ABLP.
      It is obvious thay the Barbados govt is smarter than ours yet they have gone to IMF, so why cant we?? Or forgot, your Top Dog will have to crawl back.

    • I think the Editor had difficulty in knowing what to publish without making Pringle look like a real dunce. But he cannot do anymore damage. The debate in Parliment was live and can be replayed on the ABS FaceBook page

  6. Mr Pringle needs to return to his English class first😂. He presentation was just awful. His party members must be dwl (dying with laughter) at that cringe worthy presentation. How could his “research” officer allow him to go into Parliament and once again make himself into a fool🤣🤣🤣

    • I bet you that same “research officer” and Chairman of the UPP would never publicly state that the UPP would go back to the IMF.

      Seems like the aim of the UPP is to make a laughing stock of Mr. Pringle

  7. The ALP doesn’t want to go to the IMF because the IMF would force them to make the necessary fiscal changes needed to rescue the economy. The PM prefers to pay thousands of “ALP voters” every month to do nothing.

    • Those Public Servants do not have a sign on their forehead that says ABLP. Both the UPP and the ABLP have resisted to go alog with the layoff. But the UPP was in the process to do just that. They had the IMF and the WorldBank here working on that. They called it Public and Social Sector Transformation Project. A whapping $10Million dollar was spend headed by the St. Lucian Gayle Archibald. However the ABLP would have nothing of it when they came to power and killed the program.
      Barbados however took the bitter pill and laid off thousands of public servants.
      As a businessman I do not support keeping an artificial employment burdening the government Treasury, but I do not have the answers either what to do with all those workers that would be laid off. But in the end a choice will have to be made, and so far the ABLP government chooses to bite the bullet and keep those people on the payroll.

  8. You know it is very sad when we choose people to represent us in our highest office and as they say our highest court in the land. Where we make laws to govern us and those people do not have wht it takes to do so. In fact they become more of an embarresment than anything else.
    I really wonder if the people from All Saints West and St. Luke are not ashamed of their representative. Or perhaps they don’t care at all. Perhaps we should start setting a standard as to who can run for office and the qualification that they should have. I mean I don’t want to be associated anywhere with that clown being called an representative of the people. And really when you look at the slate of candidates from the UPP you really wonder if these folks are elected what our parliament would look like. We would become the laughing stock of the region.
    I mean Pringle cannot even understand the term consolidation of loans. He translate that to be borrowing more money. That’s why he makes the argument that the government should go to the IMF. When all that is happening is that all the old loans are bundled together in one loan with new terms. New lower interest rates and a longer period. All just to bring down our monthly demand on our cash flow.

  9. @Sideline. Its hard to see how we could become more of a laughing than now. Lets see: St Kitts is laughing at us; Barbados is laughing at us; IMF is laughing and waiting with shined shoes on our rude PM; St Lucia is laugh8ng, St Vincent etc. Its hard to imagine who isnt laughing.
    As for shame, I am sure you will agree that people in St Peters are ‘Shame’, those in All Saints West double shame, St George etc. They have done things to be shamed about, not Pringle.

    • There seems to be a confusion as to ones intilectual capacity and ones behavior patern. And yes Papa Bird and those men in those days may have received less education then men in these times like Mr. Pringle, but they certainly display any stupidity. In fact many of us today are benefitting from the decissions they made. Taking us out of slavery through independence and allowing us to have a much better life today. If they were dunce they may have squandered our inherritnce for many decades to come.
      On the other hand you have persons who have behavior problems. They embarres themselves. Asot if one such person. Very intelligent but suffering from a behavior problem. Alcohol consumption. The people from All Saints West and Saint Luke must be ashamed for having voted in a representative with no intellectual capacity to ever represent them properly in parliament. A parliamentarian makes laws. And if he doesn’t have a clue in understanding the laws that he is to debate he should not be there. In this case the bill was about a consolidation of loans and Mr. Pringle debating about taking out a new loan and going to the IMF instead of local banks. That is what you call being totally inept. We had seen some of that in Baldwin and Daniel. Must be a UPP thing. Men and Women who do not possessthe intellectual capacity to run the affairs of the country.
      and with regards to the lauging part of our neighboring Islands. I wonder what they are laughing bout. Maybe you feel they are better off then we are. But I certainly don’t share that. Barbados is in an IMF program so they certainly cannot laugh. St. Kitts economy is much smaller than ours. So is St. Vincent’s and we have already open our airport since June and nothing crazy has happened till today thank God for our leadership. In fact all hve been taken notes from our play book as to how to open teir borders and manage Covid. We have a temendous team who are keeping this ship afloat in the middle of the biggest economic and health disaster the world has ever seen. No long lines of people trying to get a meal like in the USA. Eventhough they have thrown trillions of dollars in their economy and more to come.
      But i understand you guys are wishing and hoping for the downfall of this country under this government only because you think it will somehow benefit you. As the saying goes one man’s death is the other man’s bread. Living and hoping for bad things to happen to others is not the way to go I can tell you that. Antigua people do not like uglyness.

  10. When asked by CNN who should lead the charge of financial assistance to Antigua since the US band UK are under stress the PM answered the IMF and World Bank.

    Weston then contradicts his boss in parliament saying the IMF is an admission of failure. It can’t be both.

    I see the ten men and the side kick out in full deflection mode as they have nothing constructive to add. Pringles mastery of the English language is of greater national import than 100 million dollars in interest payments. One can see why Antigua is in the decrepit state it’s in with these priorities.

    The admission of failure here is one of basic arithmetic. 1% if 127 million is 1.27million per annum. 10% of 127 million is 12.7 million per annum. IMF bill to taxpayers is 10 times less than ACB deal.

    Pringles grammar or presentation does not cost the taxpayers a red cent. Bit don’t tell that to the comrades.

    • I can only leave you guys in your ignorance, cause trying to educate you guys is an exercise in futility.

    • Boss why won’t you advocating that the party you call the best thing since slice bread, borrow that 95 million usd at 13% from the IMF instead of credit Suisse, in 2013? What is it is only white people overseas should get interest income? The locals banks, along with their share holders should not benefit from government debts? 6 % vs 13% and watch you showing your bitterness. When Errol Cort floated those bonds at 8% via the ECSE, where were you to insist on IMF? I get it, your issue is the ABLP is doing it, hence anything they do to your mind is wrong and needs to fail. Joke is if we went IMF chances are your job may just be one of those that IMF insists needs to be cut. Thousands of persons were sent home by IMF, in order for BDS to get the package it got

  11. One look at poor, pitiful Pringle and it is easy to see why in his opening sentence he could see one solution ONLY. Crawl back to your source of Humiliation and degredatio, well known and well documented drop your pants, tear off your shirt lie over a barrel and BEG massa for 100 more strokes. Poor, pitiful Pringle! Even if you were told to offer the IMF as a solution, Pringle come on! Trying to take a cheap shot at the fearless P.M? Boy, you wasting your time. When we kicked the IMF from our shores, we scored big time. It was then as it is now a matter of principle. Money isn’t everything so we don’t have to prostitute ourselves and our values for twelve pieces of silver. The IMF has never been about respectful developmental assistance. You can read and though young, you MUST know that. By the way, are you and Zackie related? Are you from the same ancestral tribe? He sounds so much like you!

  12. All of you with your insults.While the Country is going down into a latrine hole.A Nation that since 2014 has receive $800 million per year in taxes.In addition to that received $2 Billion in the selling of Antigua and Barbuda Passports.Where the heck did those monies go? Can you people point to one damn thing.To show what was done with all of those funds.We need to concentrate on the wastefulness of those funds.Instead we are spending our energies on what Pringle did say.Does that put bread on the tables of poor Antiguans and Barbudans.I think not.There many persons in the Nation.They would not have a Merry Christmas this year.Due to a lack of no monies.Think about that.
    Sidelines:You have been a Siamese twin to Gaston Browne.It is like your behinds and his are stuck together.I would say the Loan being sourced from ACB.That interest rate of 11% is very high.Even Gaston Browne did say so in Parliament.I agreed with him in that instance.However,when you have a weakened economy and bad credit to boot.That is what lending houses would do to you.Loans at exorbitant rates.Welcome to the real world Gaston Browne and by extension Antigua and Barbuda.

      • I have a net worth of US$12 Million to my name.You the jackass referring to me as a dunce element.You have to come better than that.

        • Pringle also has plenty money. So is Donald Trump. But whenever he Donald Trump and Pringle speak its was better they never had said anything. So being inept or dunce or a jackass does not disqualitfy you from obtaining wealth.
          So sorry you felt insulted by me calling you a dunce element, but you brought it all on yourself. Just look at what you wrote.” Where the heck did those monies go? ”
          Don’t you know that the CIU publishes a report every six months. And in that report they list all the disbursements. There is full transparency when it comes to that. And if you want to know where our tax dollars go you can also follow the budget and the audited financials that are laid in our parliament. But if you chose to be lazy and don’t want to read these reports, don’t come here and ask those stupid questions, cause they make you look stupid.
          And with regards to many persons not having a merry xmas this year. I don’t know how many your guess is as good as mine. But in Antigua we the people will do everything possible to make sure everyone has a good xmas. Rotary Club, Lions Club, Kiwanies, the Hotel Association, Several businesses, Jumby Bay Club, Mill Reef Club, and the ABLP are all on a drive to bring good cheer to the needy. Ham and Turkey is going around like crazy. When it comes to that we are much better off then most people in the world I dare to say. You will not see long lines at the soup kitchen or people begging on the street like in the USA. Not one public servant has been laid off. And salaries are all paid early and government pensioners. Social Security has almost paid everyone. So your bleak picture of our country is not a reality here. Is in your dreamworld.
          And to say a loan is being sourced from ACB at 11% is total nonsense. Means you really have not listen to parliament but you want to make comments. Another reason for me to call you dunce. There is no loan sought and not at 11%. There is a consolidation of existing loans and the new rate is 6.25%.
          When you comment on things at least make sure you have your facts straight. If not I will call you out, whether you like it or not.

    • Boss I know your head hard hence it won’t make an impact but the 2 million was about economic activity not revenue raised via CIP I can list more than one good thing, including UWI now having a campus here, the advancements at the hospital(now doing kidney surgery), The new Infectious disease center, the added desalinations plants, but lets just admit you have closed your eyes to such good developments. The interest rate for the ACB loan is 6.25%, but alas lets just admit your preference is for any lie that would feed your anger

      • TENMAN it is good to see that you have resurfaced from wherever. Tell me about the Infectious Disease Center at Holberton and how it is being used. Find out either from the CMO or the Minister of Health and inform the public. I await your investigation.

    • Tuna, the mentioned 11 percent has nothing to do with the 126 million debt that was being consolidated but an overdraft facility which the PM insisted that AACB will have to go lower. Boss even in your great USA, overdraft rates are ridiculously hign (19 to 40%). Their purpose are for emergencies for eg to carry you for a few weeks Again the loan carries an interest rate of 6.25%. This is not the UPP who borrowed some 95 million usd from credit Suisse at 13% interest (see Gov’t To Borrow More From Credit Suisse
      January 10, 2019, AntiguaNewsroom)

      • Your Prime Minister did say in Parliament. The loan coming from ACB has an interest rate of 11%.He was not to happy about it.There was a loan and an overdraft of $5 million.Those are two separate transactions.What the hell are you telling me about UPP for.I voted in Antigua once.The UPP did not exists at that time.

        • Again the 11 was not about the loan. but the overdraft. Last time I checked Pringle is the opposition leader and his party is the UPP who happen to have been in office in 2013 when moneys were borrowed from Credit Suisse at 13%. IF they so believe in IMF, why did they not instead borrow from them 1% vs 13?

  13. FROM THE SIDELINE you are still putting forward your utter nonsense that the consolidation of several loans is not a new loan. What is it then? Please give it a name so the slow learners like us that were in class with you and kept you back from learning as quickly can learn something. Again, the consolidation of several loans is a new loan. If you are finding that simple concept so hard to understand, then I am having some difficulty in believing that you were the smartest boy in your class that all the other dunces were keeping back.

    • Actually its debt refinancing. Existing debts are being consolidated into one at better terms. Would be wary of calling it a new loan (it is ) without making clear (adding)r that its purpose is to repay existing debts.

      As as aside I heard you guys in parliament (Walker and Pringle) making it clear that we don’t need a SOE for the curfew to continue. Why have you not counseled them? They don’t listen to you? Anyway Merry Christmas and a happy new year to you and yours

      • Tenman I guess what they are saying is that you do not need the curfew to enforce the covid protocols and they are correct. However, any suspension of a citizen’s fundamental rights can only be done under a state of emergency (SOE). The curfew is a suspension of the fundamental right of freedom of movement hence the SOE for its lawful implementation. Merry Christmas and happy new year to you and yours as well.

        • And given that we are in a pandemic this curfew is a must. And it is been exercise all over the world where governments are serious in stopping and controlling the spread of this dangerous virus. We are in these times our brothers keeper. Wear your mask, wash your hands, keep distance and do not congregate in large crowds. Stay Safe and Merry Christmas. This too will pass.

    • Charles you can try to technical with the Engish language as a lawyer, but answer this question. Is the bank giving the government money in this transaction? If you say yes than I rest my case, cause it will mean you are as helpless as the rest. If no then stop calling it a new loan. Cause that is a technicalliity. The government is not borrowing any new money. That is why its called CONSOLIDATING of EXISTING LOANS. Putting them all together in one, with new terms. And yes lawyers will make money once again as they have to draft a new agreement and cancel all the existing agreements. But the bank is not issueing any money in the end. And that is what was lost by Pringle. He did not understand the term CONSOLIDATING. Combine (a number of things) into a single more effective or coherent whole.
      When I have the financial statement of several companies in a group of company I can chose to consolidate them into one statement.

  14. The problem is not refinancing the debt! The problem is wasting hundreds of millions on a bloated civil service we don’t need and can’t afford. In the PM’s own words, we employ 250 people at the port when we only need 80 to run the port efficiently. That is the problem.

    • And your solution is to send them home now? No doubt you will join the UPP and call the current admin heartless for doing such. Boss you and I are on the same page that things in the pubic sector have to change and the rend result ahs to be a productive public sector. The safety net program called government employment needs to have some added controls and a long term plan with timelines put in place to change this thing that created unproductivity. Brethren seasons greeting and a happy new year to you and yours

      • In my comment above I indicate that as a businessman I do not agree with a policy to keep a bloated public sector going forever. Their need to come a time that this is made right. When and how I don’t know. It’s going to be a bitter pill when that happened. And as I said Mia took the pill as she had a lot of political capital having won her election with a clean sweep. But I just hope that Covid did not make it worst than it was before. Cause yes people got paid all their severance and benefits and had monies to spend. But when that is finished what then. Covid has brought many good things here as well. Many new entreprenuers who would never have made that step in their live if they had a secure job. But the situation force many to take that step. That’s the sam thing that will happen when those public servants will be laid off. Some will get creative and make the best out of a bad situation. But others will sit down and cry in their own missery. As a businessman and many years as an executive I had no problem when it comes to laying off staff. It is part of doing business. Even I was laidoff serveral times when my contract was ended. Especially in construction.

  15. FROM THE SIDELINE let us just finally agree to disagree. Multiple debts combined (consolidated) into a single debt usually with more favourable terms such as lower interest rate and a longer payoff period is a new loan. You ask if the bank is giving the government money in the loan consolidation. I think that is the issue that is causing your confusion. The old money (debts) is converted to as it were new money (consolidated loan). Yes, the bank is continuing to give the government money albeit with new conditions. The new conditions makes it a new transaction. I say it is a new loan, if you say that it is the same previous multiple debts (loans) going forward as if nothing changed, then I will just leave you in your ignorance.

  16. Charles you disappoint me. Just because you do not have balls to admit that the bank is not issueing any new monies you try everything to wiggle yourself out of it. At least Lovell was man enough to say I’m sorry to for lying when Tanny Rose confronted him. That for me was the only time I admire the man. because he is know to lie alot. But you have an issue in admitting when you are wrong. You want to be wrong and strong. That mentallity will not help you in a court of law. Judges can get very upset with you. I have given you the meaning of Consolidation. That says it all. Combine (a number of things) into a single more effective or coherent whole. That is case closed. The bank issue no new monies. They are existing loans. The agreement that you lawyers have to create and get paid plots of money for is ‘new’. The loans are old. If that is so hard for you to understand as I said before than you fall under the very same category as Pringle. And that means I am wasting my time trying to educate you on this simple financial engineering matter. By the way you should learn from this. Because it may look like its simple but lots of thought has gone into it. I think eve ACB must have been caught offguard by this. But refinancing/consolidating loans is nothing new. When your cashflow is under pressure this is one of the tools to use. Lower your monthly or annual payment amount and stretch the period. Let me give you another one. I have a Million dollar in the bank attracting 5% interest. I need to build a house costing me one million dollar. I can borrow the money at 8% interest. Should I use my own money or borrow the money? If I use my own money hen that money is gone. if I use the bank’s money I will in effect pay only 3%. And with my monthly payment I still will have my own money earning 5% and build equity in my home.

  17. FROM THD SIDELINE since it appears as of this discussion has become so silly and childish (because of your lack of understanding), I shall provide you with s simple childish example to underscore my point. When you were a child you played with plasticine. Let us suppose you have 7 pieces of plasticine (different colours) and you roll the 7 pieces of plasticine into one (1). Now, please tell me is the previous 7 pieces of plasticine and the 1 the same. Even the colour would have changed. Yes, the material (plasticine) remains the same but the 7 has been turned into a new entity 1. Similarly, the previous consolidated (and I know what consolidated means) loans were combined and refinanced into one loan, isn’t the new loan a new entity (loan) different to the previous loans. The only similarity in this case my friend, is that it is still a loan at the same ACB bank. Finally, it is new a new loan with new terms.

  18. FROM THE SIDELINE just a postscript to alleviate your obfuscation. I would more readily concede the point if it was a situation of a single loan being refinanced. Then I would perhaps say that it is the same loan. However, how can you have a situation of the consolidation of several loans and call it the same loan? You need to consult with your financial wizard Gaston Browne or perhaps even his son Andron Browne.

  19. Im still learning from you, but Im trying to achieve my goals. I certainly love reading everything that is written on your site.Keep the tips coming. I loved it!

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