Could a Sovereign Wealth Fund be established today to benefit the long term interests of the Bahamian people? Some modern day thinkers seem to be quite keen on the idea? A sovereign wealth fund is a state-owned investment fund that invests in real and financial assets. Returns from these assets are channeled into national infrastructure and social programs.
£20,000,000 in reparations paid to slaveowners, after slave emancipation in 1834, created a tremendous debt in British finances. Consider that since 1899, the British had begun to consider, the long term financial implications it had, due to the increasing economic needs, of maintaining so many colonial administrations in its territories around the globe. Colonies, it was conceived, would have to contribute to paying their own way.
A Colonial Fund was established by the British Parliament, to undertake securing investment deposits from its colonies. When necessary, through this Fund, it made loans, for itself, and its colonies, out massive deposits held, probably in the Bank of England, in London.
Colonies like the Bahamas, Kenya, Jamaica, Nigeria, Rhodesia and many others maintained a contributory deposit account in this Joint Colonial Fund.
1899 – THE COLONIAL FUND BILL (Debate House of Commons, Westminister, London, England)
In reply to Mr. Dillion
The CHANCELLOR of the EXCHEQUER said that a return would be granted of the colonies to which the Colonial Fund Bill would apply. The Chancellor of the Exchequer go through this said, in reply to Mr. Dillon, that a list of the loans which it was proposed to make this year under the Colonial Loans Fund Bill would be contained in the schedule of the Bill which the government proposed to introduce as soon as the Colonial Loans Fund Bill was passed.
(The Northern Whig, Friday 23 June 1899)
KENYA COLONIAL PAPERS FROM 1931 and 1961 MAKES MENTION OF THIS JOINT COLONIAL FUND
In 1931, when Kenya was short of funds for much needed development, it discusses the rate of interest earned on its money in the Joint Colonial Fund in its colonial papers.
In 1960/61, Kenya was short of funds for much needed development, it intended to borrow from this Joint Colonial Fund
IS A MODERN DAY SOVEREIGN WEALTH FUND POSSIBLE FOR THE BAHAMAS?
(OFFICIAL GAZETTE OF THE BAHAMAS December 22, 1962: Office is the Commissioners of Currency, Nassau, Bahamas 11th October 1962)
Could taking a proverbial page out of an old book, an old British colonial book that is, help the Bahamas today in finding its way forward?
If the Bahamas once had to, by some colonial rule of law, contribute to a Joint Colonial Fund, then is it possible that it could be recreated again, but the a nationalistic aim? Is it possible that a modern day, national investment fund, in some way, shape or form, could be created in which the sole beneficiaries are the Bahamian people?
1962 BAHAMAS DEPOSITS IN JOINT COLONIAL FUND
In 1962, the Bahamas had £192,731 19 shillings and 9 pence deposited in the Joint Colonial Fund. It also had some £2,233,522 12 shillings and 11 pence in investments. Total of these cash and near cash assets: £2.426,254 12 shillings and 8 pence. The Bahamas, in 1962, had investments in British Electricity, British Gas, British Transport, Commonwealth of Australia, East Africa High Commission, Coventry (UK), Northern Rhodesia, Nigeria and Federate Malay States to make a few.
These amounts supported the £2,280,000 pounds of Bahamas colonial currency in circulation as at 30 June 1962. Bahamian money was still valued in British Sterling. The B$ dollar would not replace the Bahamian/British pound until 1966, at a rate of 1 dollar = 7 shillings.
At the half year ended 30th June, 1962, as required by Section 8 of The Currency Note Act, the colonial government of the Bahamas published the details of its Note Security Fund.