Trinidad: Browne-Downgrade not a surprise

STANDARD and Poor’s (S&P) downgrade of TT’s credit rating from BBB+ to BBB is no surprise. This was the view yesterday expressed by former government minister Mariano Browne, economist Dr Vaalmiki Arjoon and TT Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Gabriel Faria.

Browne did not share the Prime Minister’s optimism about S&P’s economic outlook for TT. He said the report does not provide any evidence that the necessary steps are being taken to balance the budget. Browne recalled former finance minister Larry Howai promised to balance the budget by 2016 but never did so. As TT sits on the cusp of successive elections, Browne doubted the issues raised in S&P’s outlook would be addressed by the Government.

“We are in a difficult position,” he said. Browne explained that the stable economic outlook which S&P gave TT, means “we are at the bottom of the trough.” He said there is no indication as to which direction the economy will go. Browne said TT’s situation was similar to a frog in a pot of water, which is being slowly boiled and the frog does not know its being boiled alive until it is too late.


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