Religious Groups Call for Aid and Debt Relief for Puerto Rico and Dominica

More than 130 faith communities across the United States are praying and acting for hurricane victims ‎during religious services this weekend. Religious groups are calling for debt relief and "no strings attached" reconstruction aid for hurricane-hit islands.
"Islands like Puerto Rico and Dominica are in critical need of reconstruction funds," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA. "Debt relief is a crucial part of aid for islands affected by hurricanes." 
Churches and Temples across the United States are participating in prayers and actions for hurricane victims a part of Jubilee USA's "Jubilee Weekend."

Read more about Jubilee Weekend.

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Public Finance International Features Jubilee USA's Advocacy for Policies to Prevent Financial Crises

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in Public Finance International speaking on Jubilee USA's advocacy for policies to prevent financial crises. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Do More to Prevent Financial Crisis, says Debt Campaign

By: Simone Rensch

"'We need global policies in place that prevent risky and predatory behaviour and we still need policies in place that can prevent financial‎ crisis. We need stronger financial protections for developing economies when disaster strikes,' said LeCompte, who has observed IMF and World Bank Meetings since 2010.

'While IMF staff are looking at better ways to predict crisis, we are not putting in place the actual tools to prevent the next financial crisis.'"

 Read more here.

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IMF and World Bank Meetings Begin With Growth Forecasts and Crisis Risk Warnings

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) and World Bank begin their annual meetings which run between October 13th and 15thOn Thursdayahead of the gathering of Finance Ministers, Central Bank Governors and Government leaders, IMF head Christine Lagarde noted that even though they are predicting global economic growth, risks linger for another financial crisis. On Wednesday the IMF released its Global Financial Stability Report which laid out new tools for predicting financial crisis.

"Unfortunately, I think that there isn't appetite among IMF Executive Directors to move forward actual tools to prevent the next financial crisis," noted Eric LeCompte who has observed IMF and World Bank Meetings since 2010. LeCompte is the Executive Director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA. "While IMF staff are looking at better ways to predict crisis, we are not putting in place the actual tools to prevent the next financial crisis."

On Thursday morning, LeCompte's group, Jubilee USA, hosted a panel at the IMF on putting in place solutions to end financial crises. 

"A few years ago the IMF was proactively looking at structural solutions that stop financial crises and limit austerity policies, but it seems that work has been sidelined," stated LeCompte who serves on United Nation finance expert groups.‎

Earlier in the week the IMF released its biannual World Economic Outlook report, which warned about climate impacts on vulnerable countries.

Read Jubilee USA's release on the October 2017 Global Financial Stability Report

Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook Report

Read the IMF's Global Financial Stability Report

Read International Monetary Funds October 2017 World Economic Outlook Report

 

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MarketWatch Features Jubilee USA Panel at IMF and World Bank Annual Meetings

Jubilee USA's work on debt relief for islands affected by recent hurricanes was recently featured in MarketWatch. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article. 

New Approach to Sovereign Debt Restructuring Needed, Bankruptcy Law Expert Says

By: Elizabeth Strassner

"Similarly, Jubilee USA, which co-sponsored the panel discussion at which Schwarcz and Mutazu spoke, has recently advocated for a moratorium on Caribbean debt until the countries devastated by Hurricane Irma have time to rebuild.

In a September letter to IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde, Jubilee USA’s leadership asked the fund to cease debt collection until recovery efforts are well under way: 'We invite the IMF to implement an immediate moratorium on debt payments for countries severely impacted by the Category 5 storm until they have rebuilt and recovered.'"

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IMF Reports Global Growth and Releases New Ways to Predict Economic Crisis

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) releases its biannual report on global economic stability and presents new indicators it says can help predict financial crisis.

"The IMF is trying to put better tools in place to predict financial crisis and impediments to economic growth," noted Eric LeCompte who tracks IMF reports as the Executive Director of the religious development coalition Jubilee USA. "While the IMF is looking at better ways to predict crisis, we still have not put in place the actual tools to prevent financial crisis."

On Thursday morning, LeCompte is moderating a special panel at The Fund ahead of the annual meetings on financial crisis prevention. Dr. Steven Schwarcz will present new policy instruments that can resolve debt and financial crisis. Tirivangani Mutazu of African Forum and Network on Debt and Development (AFRODAD) will explain why prevention is necessary as developing countries experience new debt crises. 

"The IMF's report warns of increased credit risks and we are more concerned now with unstable debt loads in both poor and wealthy countries," stated LeCompte who serves on United Nation finance expert groups.‎ "I'm concerned that high debt burdens and more risky market behavior will lead to another financial crisis sooner than later."

Yesterday, the IMF released its biannual World Economic Outlook report, which warned about climate impacts on vulnerable countries.

Read about Jubilee USA's IMF panel on policies to prevent financial crisis

Read Jubilee USA's release on the IMF's World Economic Outlook Report

Read International Monetary Funds October 2017 World Economic Outlook Report

 

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IMF Warns Climate Impacts on Poor Countries Can Affect Growth and Stability

The International Monetary Fund (IMF) released its biannual report on the state of the global economy, predicting that economic growth for several wealthy countries will continue.

"‎The IMF is warning that poor countries don't have the resources to protect against climate-related changes," noted Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of Jubilee USA and an expert on United Nation finance groups. LeCompte has tracked IMF economic reports since 2010. "We can look at the string of hurricanes that hit poor Caribbean countries to see that poor economies are not equipped to deal with natural disasters."

Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda, Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands are among several Caribbean economies struggling to recover from this year's hurricane season.

"Beyond dealing with stronger and more frequent storms, the IMF sees vulnerabilities for poor countries who need to deal with food and poverty issues caused by climate changes," commented LeCompte on the climate elements of the report.

The World Economic Outlook report notes that while growth for some developed countries is on the "upswing," the growth is still lower than expected.

"While some growth is positive, too many poor and developing countries have yet to recover from the global financial crisis," stated LeCompte.‎

Read International Monetary Fund's October 2017 World Economic Outlook Report‎

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Philadelphia Inquirer Talks with Eric LeCompte about Puerto Rico Debt Crisis

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in The Philadelphia Inquirer speaking on Puerto Rico. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Forgiveness Alone Won't End Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis

By: Joseph DiStefano

"Meanwhile, hundreds of thousands of Puerto Ricans fled to the U.S. mainland. 'You can buy a $60 one-way ticket to Miami or an $89 ticket to New York, and you are a citizen here,' LeCompte says. Residents of storm-wracked, independent, and broke Caribbean islands such as Dominica and Antigua-Barbuda are still more desperate, seeking shelter from relatives abroad. Those islands face effective takeover by the International Monetary Fund.

Could even rich U.S. states such as Pennsylvania and New Jersey, where politicians try to paper over billion-dollar budget gaps by urging residents to gamble more, get like this? Bankruptcy and forgiveness aren’t enough, LeCompte concludes: 'There need to be protections in place for responsible lending and responsible borrowing. Public budget transparency. Bond market regulations. Or you’ll get more financial crises as bad as things got in Puerto Rico.'"

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Trump Calls for Puerto Rico's Debt to be "Wiped Out"

In an interview with Fox News on Tuesday, President Trump called for Puerto Rico's debt to be wiped out. "They owe a lot of money to your friends on Wall Street and we're going to have to wipe that out. You're going to say goodbye to that, I don't know if it's Goldman Sachs, but whoever it is you can wave goodbye to that," Trump said.‎

"Puerto Rico can't recover with the debt it has," said Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development organization Jubilee USA. LeCompte worked on emergency Puerto Rico debt crisis legislation that Congress passed last year. "Puerto Rico was already undergoing a bankruptcy process that was going to substantially cut the island's debt. Now that bankruptcy process needs to access the hurricane damage and cancel even more of the debt."

Just yesterday, religious leaders from Puerto Rico and the US Virgin islands issued a statement calling for aid, debt relief and measures to end child poverty. The statement was signed by San Juan's Catholic Archbishop, Roberto González Nieves, St. Thomas' Catholic Bishop Herbert A. Bevard and Evangelical Bible Society Head Reverend Heriberto Martínez. Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands, both US territories, were wrestling with financial crisis and high child poverty rates before the Hurricanes Irma and Maria struck.

"The US Virgin islands were also severely damaged from the hurricanes," continued LeCompte. "They too need debt forgiveness and aid to help recover. Unfortunately, unlike Puerto Rico, the Virgin Islands doesn't have a bankruptcy process to cut the debt."

Read the religious leaders' statement in Englishen español 
 
Read Eric LeCompte's statement on the crisis
 
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USA Today Cites Eric LeCompte on Puerto Rico

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently cited in USA Today speaking on Puerto Rico. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article. 

6 Reasons Why Puerto Rico Slid into Financial Crisis

By: Nathan Bomey

"'There’s no way for Puerto Rico to be able to rebuild, let alone recover, unless the debt is canceled,' said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, a religious coalition that's fighting for Puerto Rico debt relief. 'Fortunately for Puerto Rico that process is in place.'"

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Value Walk Interviews Eric LeCompte on Puerto Rico

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in Value Walk speaking on Puerto Rico's debt crisis. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Expert Who Helped Craft PROMESA Act: President Trump Is Right, Bondholders Could Lose Everything

By: Mark Melin

"LeCompte pointed out that the super bankruptcy process includes a key provision that pins debt payments to the economic ability of a sovereign region to pay. The provisions of the PROMESA act are more sweeping in this regard than credit leniency afforded to states or other sovereign governments, he said.

'There has been an acknowledgment from island’s oversight board that hurricane relief takes priority,' LeCompte said, noting that money earmarked to pay bondholders is currently being diverted to hurricane relief. There is a significant likelihood that a large portion of the debt will be forgiven, he said. The issue is entirely up to the bankruptcy judge. 'Bankruptcy judge has tremendous authority to cut and cancel the debt,' with one 'best case scenario' for bondholders being that they may receive restructured bonds that are linked to economic growth, a notion that LeCompte championed in other debt crises such as Argentina and Greece. The concept for the super bankruptcy process is based, in large part, on the 1953 London Agreement, which forgave German war debt and allowed the nation to experience tremendous economic growth."

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