PORT OF SPAIN, Trinidad – The Trinidad and Tobago government Friday described as “uninformed, mischievous, inaccurate, unprofessional and totally untrue,’ media reports that the country’s dollar would be devalued by the end of 2019.
Finance Minister Colm Imbert said the Guardian Media stories on its television service and daily newspaper were “uninformed and speculative”.
In a statement, Imbert said that the media houses had “falsely claimed that Fitch Ratings, a credit rating agency contracted by the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, has stated that the Central Bank will devalue the Trinidad and Tobago (TT) dollar by the end of 2019.
Uninformed, mischievous stories
“These stories are uninformed, mischievous, inaccurate, unprofessional and totally untrue,” Imbert said, adding that for the record “Fitch Ratings has made no prediction of a devaluation of the TT dollar and contrary to the false assertions in the …article, Fitch Ratings has not published a country risk report for Trinidad and Tobago”.
Imbert said that further, no such report was commissioned by the Ministry of Finance and that the “basis for the Guardian’s inaccurate stories appears to be an uninformed and speculative article published by Fitch Solutions, a research firm which has no connection or relationship whatsoever with the Government of the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago.
“It is not a statement or rating made by Fitch Ratings, and in fact, on its website, Fitch Solutions makes it clear any comments or data included in its report are solely derived from so-called “independent sources”, and as a further disclaimer, Fitch Solutions states that Fitch Ratings’ analysts do not share data or information with Fitch Solutions.”
The Finance Minister said the media houses “would have seen this disclaimer which makes the…story, untruthfully claiming the source of their information as Fitch Ratings, even more reckless.”
Imbert said the government has contacted Fitch Ratings, who are contracted by it to provide a credit rating for Trinidad and Tobago.
“Apart from being deeply embarrassed, and making it clear that Fitch Ratings has no connection with Fitch Solutions, they have so far been unable to explain why someone at Fitch Solutions who has no access to official data in Trinidad and Tobago would write such an uniformed and erroneous article,’ Imbert said, adding that he would be meeting with Fitch Ratings in Washington “for a further explanation regarding the basis for this irresponsible statement from Fitch Solutions.
Foreign reserves are more than adequate
“For the record, Trinidad and Tobago’s net official foreign reserves currently stand at US$7.30 billion and the balance in the Heritage and Stabilization Fund now stands at US$6.05 billion, making a total of US$13.35 Billion in foreign exchange buffers.”
Imbert said that this is “more than adequate to defend our exchange rate at its current level of TT$6.80 to US$1.00.
“Therefore, contrary to the statements made by the Guardian Media Group and by Fitch Solutions, there will be no devaluation of the TT dollar in 2019.”
Imbert said that it is he who has the authority to determine policy “with respect to our exchange rate, and for the avoidance of doubt, the Exchange Control Act Chap. 79:50 states at Section 3(2) that with respect to Exchange Control, the Central Bank shall conform with any general or special directions given to it by the Minister”.