Faith and Development Groups Urge Congressional Action for Hurricane-Affected Islands‎

Washington DC - Religious and anti-poverty groups wrote to Congress this week‎ for expedited support for hurricane-hit US Territories and Caribbean nations.

“The situation remains critical for hundreds of thousands of people across the Caribbean, for whom U.S. support—either through federal assistance or bilateral foreign assistance—constitutes critical support to meet both immediate and longer term needs,” said the Rev. John L.McCullough, President and CEO of Church World Service.

“Recent hurricane activity strongly suggests that scientific predictions about climate change were – tragically – correct. If this is the ‘new normal’ as many now suggest, then we must all scale up our strategies. As faith agencies, we are called upon be in solidarity with our neighbors, with the vulnerable, at risk, impoverished and displaced. And how we show up to help our broader family is also a litmus test for how we will treat our own. In recent weeks, my organization has delivered tens of thousands of needed supplies to hurricane-affected communities in the U.S and Caribbean, including Puerto Rico. Congress must now also ensure that adequate assistance is provided to the Caribbean islands to get back on their feet.

"Seeing the devastation in Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands so long after the hurricanes struck is‎ incredibly sad," stated Eric LeCompte, the Executive Director of the religious development group, Jubilee USA Network. LeCompte just completed a tour of Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands analyzing the recovery efforts. "It's important that the affected Caribbean islands get adequate relief to rebuild to withstand stronger storms."

These Caribbean islands – like other small islands worldwide – share a common and extreme vulnerability to climate change: Warming oceans, rising sea levels, higher frequency and intensity of Category 4 and 5 storms and flooding caused by extreme rainfall and drought already affect the livelihoods, homes, agricultural production, food security and very existence of several million people. In 1992, the United Nations recognized the Small Island Developing States, a special country grouping with distinct developmental challenges that require targeted responses. The upcoming UN Climate Conference, which started today in Bonn and will go on to the November 17, will be the first one to be presided over by a Pacific Ocean state. In recognition of the urgent need for action and adaptation, mitigation and finance by these states, Fiji will preside over the conference.

The wave of hurricanes in the Caribbean underline the need for better systems to deal with natural disasters of this magnitude. Religious groups are currently petitioning the International Monetary Fund and World Bank to stay debt payments for these countries, as well as to create the processes for moratoria on debt to be implemented automatically after similar disasters in the future. They are also petitioning sources of aid, like the U.S. government, to offer grants and not loans to struggling economies like Puerto Rico and the U.S. Virgin Islands.

 

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Available for interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director

Contact: Lydia C. Andrews, Deputy Director

lydia@jubileeusa.org / (o) (202) 783-3566 x109 (m) (847) 772-2305

 

 

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Newsweek Talks with Eric LeCompte about Puerto Rico's Debt Crisis

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

The Pentagon Spends $250 Million on War Every Day—What Else Could We Do with That Money?

By: Carlos Ballesteros

"In the aftermath of Maria, Puerto Rico’s debt crisis stands in the way of recovery. As Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA Network, a religious coalition that's fighting for Puerto Rico debt relief , told USA Today last month, 'There’s no way for Puerto Rico to be able to rebuild, let alone recover, unless the debt is canceled.'"

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Public Finance International Cites Jubilee USA's Work on Tax Avoidance

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently cited in Public Finance International speaking on corrupt tax avoidance and the release of the Paradise Papers. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Global Governments Called on to Tighten Up Tax Avoidance Laws

 

By: Simone Rensch

"Campaigning groups Jubilee USA and Transparency International have called for stronger international laws and for governments to introduce stricture measures to prevent corrupt tax avoidance. 

Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, said: 'Over $‎500bn a year is lost by governments around the world because of the tax avoidance revealed in the Paradise Papers.

'Unfortunately, many of these tax avoidance ‎schemes are legal and we need stronger international laws to prevent this activity.'”

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Paradise Papers Jubilee Statement

Washington DC - The International Consortium of Investigative Journalists (ICIJ) released its latest research into how individuals and institutions avoid taxes and hide corruption. Previously, the ICIJ released the "Panama Papers" which showed how government officials and individuals evaded laws to hide money and facilitate corruption.

Eric LeCompte Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA releases the following statement:

"Over $‎500 billion a year is lost by governments around the world because of the tax avoidance revealed in the paradise papers.

"Unfortunately, many of these tax avoidance ‎schemes are legal and we need stronger international laws to prevent this activity."

 

Available for interview: Eric LeCompte, Executive Director

Contact: Lydia C. Andrews, Deputy Director

lydia@jubileeusa.org / (o) (202) 783-3566 x109 (m) (847) 772-2305

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Eric LeCompte Featured in Public Finance International

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

US lawmakers urged to extended federal health access to Puerto Rico

By: Mark Smulian

"'...Puerto Rico needs equitable access to federal healthcare programs and tax credits,' the letter from Jubilee USA executive director Eric LeCompte said.

'These recommendations are essential for reducing poverty for nearly 60% of kids who live in poverty on the island.'"

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Catholic News Service Interviews Eric LeCompte on Caribbean Debt Relief

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in Catholic News Service and Catholic Philly speaking on Caribbean debt relief in the midst of hurricane recovery. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article. 

Caribbean Church Leaders Campaign for Debt Relief After Hurricanes

By: Staff

"Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, a Washington-based charity working with religious organizations to push for debt relief, said the additional costs of rebuilding more safely put governments in a bind: If they miss debt payments, their credit scores could be negatively affected, making it more difficult and costly to borrow in the future. Alternatively, they could be forced to borrow more from private lenders.

'Putting these governments further into debt is the last thing we want to happen,' LeCompte told Catholic News Service. Under the debt relief plans that have been promoted, the countries would not be penalized for missing payments. Islands could also be made eligible for low-interest loans, LeCompte said.

'Debt relief is the most direct and efficient way of freeing funds for these governments to respond to the human needs on the ground,' he said."

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National Catholic Reporter Talks with Eric LeCompte about the Work of Archbishop Silvano Tomasi

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently cited in National Catholic Reporter speaking on the work of United Nations ambassador Archbishop Silvano Tomasi. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

New Book Shows Path for International Relations Inspired by Subsidiarity, Solidarity

By: Joshua McElwee 

"Eric LeCompte, who through his work as the executive director of the Jubilee USA Network came to know Tomasi as they both focused on debt, tax and trade issues at the U.N., said the archbishop is 'on the forefront of articulating the church's social teaching.'

'His recent book only shows a small part of his legacy,' he continued. 'He is one of the church's most effective diplomats. He is a moral force for good. I've watched him single-handedly move U.N. global agreements on financial policies that protect the poor, common good trade policies and disarmament.'

'[Tomasi's] published speeches show his incredible love for the poor and tireless advocacy to build God's kingdom on Earth,' he said."

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Support Puerto Rico, Dominica Efforts on Jubilee Weekend

Dear Friends, 

This weekend, as Jubilee Jewish, Christian and Muslim communities unite in prayer for hurricane victims, I urgently ask you to make a special donation to Jubilee USA.

Your gift supports our work to win debt relief and "no strings attached" aid for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands and Dominica.

We can win debt relief for Puerto Rico, the US Virgin Islands, Dominica, Antigua and Barbuda—your gift makes it possible for us to protect vulnerable communities in countries and US States when disaster strikes. Your gift supports our efforts to win real relief across the Caribbean and around our world.

Jubilee USA's team sprang into immediate action as the hurricanes wreaked havoc across the Caribbean. Working with our Jubilee Caribbean partners, we coordinated major religious leaders to contact the White House, Congress, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other decision makers. Hundreds of news outlets from Bloomberg to Politico to USA Today covered our efforts. We are collecting thousands of petitions. We appeared on CNBC and addressed the United Nations, calling for relief. The White House, the IMF and Congressional leadership are expressing support for our position, but we need more financial resources to get across the finish line in a tight window.

This weekend Jubilee religious communities from coast to coast are praying and acting for hurricane victims across the Caribbean. More than 130 congregations from Pocono Pines, PA‎ to Columbus, IN to Middlebury, VT to Pleasantville, ‎TN to Thousand Oaks, CA to Missoula, MT to Nazareth, KY are calling for real relief for Caribbean islands devastated by this hurricane season. 

Please make a special gift that wins relief for Puerto Rico and Dominica. Your gift now will also help put in place new policies to protect vulnerable communities.

We desperately need resources to continue this work.‎ Already this year we have quite a few victories to celebrate, but your gift now is essential for us to win relief and reconstruction aid for the Caribbean.

We moved a super bankruptcy process for Puerto Rico. We moved the White House and the G20‎ to implement stronger standards on responsible lending and borrowing. We won new business reporting requirements. With Republican and Democratic partners, the Corporate Transparency Act was introduced. 

Now, we must win real aid and debt relief for Puerto Rico, Dominica, Barbuda and the US Virgin Islands.

Whether you can give $50, $5, $100, $500 or $1000 we've never needed your donation more to continue our work. 

We need your special gift now to win our hurricane-relief efforts. In addition, your continuing support means‎ we'll launch more campaigns and see more victories. The campaigns we are launching will change the financial system, stop vulture funds and prevent financial crisis. These are campaigns we can win. Your special gift now means that we can continue to achieve all we planned and allow the poorest victims of this hurricane season a new chance to thrive.

Gratefully,

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director  

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Catholic News Service Cites Jubilee USA's Work on Hurricane Relief

Jubilee USA's advocacy for economic relief for hurricane-struck islands was recently cited in Catholic News Service, Crux Now, and Catholic Philly. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

In Caribbean, Church Agencies Help as Process of Rebuilding Begins

By: Ezra Fieser

"In rebuilding stronger, however, the governments face a challenge in securing financing while their economies struggle to recover from the storms. Religious organizations, led by Jubilee USA, an interfaith, nonprofit alliance of religious, development and advocacy organizations, are urging the international community to provide the funding.

'Islands like Puerto Rico and Dominica are in critical need of reconstruction funds,' said Eric LeCompte, executive director of Jubilee USA, in a statement Oct. 20."

Read more here.

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