The press quotes Mr. Branville McCartney’s speech in Parliament:
“There are a dozen businesses that I could name today, that with a bit of encouragement and start-up financing could benefit from revitalization.”
Perhaps he means well in suggesting government funding for private enterprise, but Mr. McCartney’s wisdom is questionable when government has failed to give a full accounting for existing government financed Venture Capital programs.
Government has no money, only what it takes from tax payers who have the right to know how it is being utilized.
The PLP “Venture Fund” allocating $2 Million dollars in loans to start up a business is a typical example of Mr. McCartney’s “dream” program.
Then there is the $1.7 Million FNM program for the youth start up business.
The money is allocated, eventually distributed and the success or failure of these programs never reported to the public. After all, the money is forcibly taken and the public has a legitimate interest in knowing who received it, what they did with it and how it has benefited the general welfare.
The above two programs total $3.7 Million of unaccounted money in less than five years. They are only two of numerous others that have been initiated on the same misguided notion that when enough money is made available a viable enterprise is born and everyone benefits.
Popularity is the essence of politics and individual popularity the goal of every politician. Unfortunately the road to political popularity is mostly littered with the detritus of the misspent capital of those who earned it. The politician gets publicity and praise for the idea, but is not held accountable when it fails.
The law of scarcity is particularly evident today as the wishing-well of foreign investment money runs dry. The country is “deeply in debt” and there is no money for altruistic idealists to dispense particularly when they lack the insight to distinguish between the risk taken by self motivated entrepreneurs and those having nothing to lose taking advantage of government Free-B’s.
There are private sources for Venture Capital. The government role in boosting economic activity is to provide the necessary infrastructure the private market cannot supply like a safe place to operate a business, low taxes and a stable currency.
Mr. McCartney’s popularity is assured when proven policies such as the foregoing are recommended to parliament. It will be enhanced even further when he arranges for publication of full reports by independent analysts on all government Venture Funds.
Joan Thompson is President of The Nassau Institute.