IMF must address debt in Caribbean Says PM Rowley

The International Monetary Fund must address debt burdens facing Caribbean countries, this according to Trinidad and Tobago Prime Minister Dr. Keith Rowley.

He said the Fund must step up to the plate and assist with this necessary initiative to convince policy-making institutions like the Organizations for Economic Cooperation and Development and G20 countries of the need for policy changes.

Rowley said the region will not achieve faster economic growth and sustainable development unless the problem of the debt overhang is addressed.

While Antigua and Barbuda, Jamaica, and St. Kitts and Nevis recently obtained significant debt service relief, in the context of Fund-supported programs, which also carried a large fund financing, the prime minister said the relief did not go far enough as it did to reduce the outstanding debt stock.

He noted that the debt levels are still high with 90 percent of the gross domestic product for Antigua and Barbuda, 140 percent for Jamaica and 65 percent for St. Kitts and Nevis.

These persistently high debt ratios, he said, will continue to jeopardize growth performance, especially for Trinidad and Tobago where “our debt ratios are approaching that of St. Kitts and Nevis.”

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