Business tell politicians no time for blame game in EXIM Bank affair

Christopher De AlliePrivate Sector representative in the Senate Christopher De Allie says politicians should stop the blame game and deal with the fiasco between Grenada and Taiwan Export Import Bank (EXIM).

His comments come as politicians in the two major political parties in Grenada – the New National Party (NNP) and the National Democratic Congress (NDC) publicly seek to blame each other for the moves by Taiwan to collect on a 21-year old debt.

De Allie said it is not in the interest of the country to turn the issue into a political football.

“We can support by giving government whatever assistance they need whether by technical help or advice or whatever they may request from us as a private sector.”

“The concern I have is that they don’t play this political game while nothing is done strategically and quickly to alleviate the possible consequences.”

De Allie a past President of the Grenada Chamber of Industry and Commerce (GCIC) said “anyway the private sector can help on that matter – by sitting with them and probably use our resources and contacts within the region,” they are willing to do it.

“It is a matter for the government to decide what strategy they want to adapt…and see how we can come together as a team and put the best defense possible…that could alleviate any  other consequences.”

Former national bank manager, now Financial Consultant, Michael Archibald, speaking on the issue says it is both financial and diplomatic and must be handled with a certain degree of tact.

“If you do owe somebody you got to find some money to pay them.”

“You cannot simply sit back and say ‘well it’s the previous government,’ because regardless of who is in government it is Grenada,” Archibald said.

Archibald said however that Grenada cannot ignore the tension between its form diplomatic ally Taiwan and its new friend China, who considers Taiwan to be a renegade province and must be tactful in dealing with the matter.

“The government has to act on two fronts; one is the finance. But also on the diplomatic, but that creates a problem because of the relationship between China and Taiwan.

The Bank, in an attempt to collect some EC$76-million from Grenada, earlier this month issued Restraining and Seizure notices to companies and businesses deemed assets to Grenada including a number of airlines and cruise lines.

Princess Cruise Lines, which docked at Grenada’s shores as recently as Monday was ordered to pay to a bank in New York, operating on behalf of EXIM bank, its Port fees due to Grenada.

Grenada Cruise Port

Grenada can lose millions if more cruise lines are issued Restraining Notices by EXIM Bank

Cruise officials here anticipate that if other cruise lines are forced to do the same Grenada, through the Ports Authority, could lose up to EC$3.4million dollars, for the rest of this cruise season.

When the news broke in Grenada on the weekend of EXIM Bank’s moves against the island, the current NDC administration accused the former NNP administration of putting the country in the predicament.

They said the moves were a direct result of their decision in 2005 to abruptly sever diplomatic ties with Taiwan for mainland China, as six months after the ties were broken, Taiwan called in the loan.

But the NNP hit back, saying Taiwan’s aggression at this stage of the game was because of the new administrations foot-dragging on the proposal of a repayment plan.

Finance Minister Nazim Burke says that is not the case, adding that it was Taiwan who refused to discuss a repayment plan – opting instead to demand all that is owing to them. ©

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