Thanks for Signing Irma Petition, Next Steps

Dear Friends,

Thanks for taking action and signing our Hurricane Irma petition.

As Hurricane Irma hits Florida, Jubilee USA continues to pray for the safety of all. Our hearts are breaking as we see Hurricane Jose heading towards some of the same islands that Irma devastated.

Could you ask one friend, family or community member to also sign our petition to the IMF, World Bank, creditors, White House and Congress?

We need the IMF and other creditors to suspend debt payments until islands like Antigua and Barbuda can recover. We need to be sure the US government gives grants, not loans, to the US Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico so that they can recover.

The US Virgin Islands will take years to bounce back from the shock and they are already dealing with one of the worst debt crises in the Caribbean. Across the Caribbean and around our world, communities are not prepared to deal with natural disaster on top of the debt and financial crisis they are wrestling with.

In the short term, we need to stop debt payments for islands that are seriously impacted and ensure that grants are issued for rebuilding purposes. In the long term, we need to address the broader policies of debt, tax and trade issues that influences these communities. We also need to address the issue of "climate debt." Wealthy countries caused the climate change that is creating these catastrophic storms and poor economies don't have the resources they need to recover from these climate-driven storms. 

At a press conference in Barbados on Thursday, our partners from the Jubilee Caribbean Network called for debt relief, noting its connection to climate. Catholic Bishop Jason Gordon stated, "The whole debt thing is a question of justice...we didn't create the carbon footprint that the world has experienced and all of the ecological changes we've had."

As our Jubilee Caribbean partners called for severely affected islands' debt payments to stop, Jubilee USA's leadership sent a letter to the head of the IMF urging a moratorium on the debt. We are grateful that you acted. Can you please ask one friend to sign our petition to the IMF, asking them to suspend debt payments for countries devastated by Irma?

“Given this situation, now we are going to countries that are facing serious economic situations and already have loans to be repaid. We are going to see if we can make some appeals for debt relief,” noted Reverend John Persaud, the General Secretary of the Caribbean Antilles Episcopal Conference.

The Caribbean islands of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin and the British and US Virgin Islands are some of the worst affected. Now these and our other island neighbors prepare for Hurricanes Jose and Katia.

As we hold in prayer all of those affected from Florida to Barbuda, please ask a friend to sign our petition to support the victims of these terrible storms.

Thanks for taking action,

Abby Wilhelm
Communications Director