Caribbean Bishops and Development Groups Urge Debt Relief for Irma-Struck Islands

On behalf of Caribbean Catholic Bishops, Bishop Gabriel Malzaire called for islands dealing with Hurricane Irma to receive debt relief. As president of the Antilles Episcopal Conference, Malzaire joins US, European and Caribbean development groups that are calling for debt payments to be delayed until affected islands can rebuild. 

"The utter destruction caused by the passage of Hurricane Irma across the Northern Leeward Islands has not only shocked the people of our region by its severity but has left all of us with a much deeper awareness of our vulnerability to natural disasters and with a fear of threats from other approaching weather systems," wrote Malzaire in a letter to Christine Lagarde, head of the International Monetary Fund. The Catholic Bishop continued his plea for a delay in debt payments until countries like Antigua and Barbuda can recover. "The sad reality is that the ones who are affected most, the poor, cannot be held responsible for this reality," continued the Catholic Bishop in his urgent request for a delay of debt payments.
 
Hurricane Irma tore through the Caribbean devastating a host of islands including Antigua and Barbuda, St. Martin and the US and British Virgin Islands. On September 7th, Jubilee USA launched a petition and sent a letter to the IMF requesting a delay in debt payments or a debt moratorium for islands so they can rebuild. Calls for a debt moratorium were also sent from the Jubilee Caribbean Network, Jubilee Germany, the United Kingdom's Jubilee Debt Campaign and the European Network on Debt and Development.
 
"When a natural disaster strikes, delaying debt payments is a quick way to get funding for rebuilding," said Eric LeCompte who is the Executive Director of the religious development group, Jubilee USA. LeCompte serves on United Nation expert groups that focus on debt. "The International Monetary Fund and other creditors can delay debt payments and ensure faster recovery for a country like Antigua and Barbuda."
 
Antigua and Barbuda's Prime Minister estimated about 150 million dollars for reconstruction efforts on the islands. As the hurricane passed last week, the disaster-struck island had a 3 million dollar debt payment to the IMF due. 
 
Read Jubilee USA's petition on debt relief for Hurricane Irma.
 
Read the full letter from Bishop Malzaire and the Antilles Episcopal Conference.
 
Read Jubilee USA's letter to the IMF.
 
Read the letter from European debt and development groups to the IMF.
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Jubilee USA writes the IMF, Sign the Petition

On September 7th, Jubilee USA sent a letter to the head of the IMF urging a moratorium on debt payments until Irma-struck islands can recover. The Antilles Episcopal Conference, part of Jubilee Caribbean, also issued a letter to the IMF.

Please add your voice and sign our petition to the IMF to suspend debt payments for countries devastated by Irma.

See Jubilee USA's letter linked here or pasted below.

September 7, 2017

Dear Managing Director Lagarde,

We are grateful for the IMF’s desire to aid those countries impacted by Hurricane Irma. We also appreciate your continued leadership with the IMF’s emphasis on gender equality and addressing global inequality.

On behalf of Jubilee USA’s nearly 700 national and local faith institutions, 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. For example, the nation of Antigua and Barbuda has almost $3 million in debt payments due to the Fund today and a debt payment moratorium could immediately be put into rebuilding Barbuda where almost the entire population is homeless.

We would also encourage the use of grants, as opposed to loans, for islands recovering from the crisis.

We and our membership continue to hold you and all who work at the IMF in our prayers as you address global poverty and inequality.

Respectfully,

                 
Beatrice Parwatikar                                  Reverend Stacy Martin
Co-chair                                                           Co-Chair

                         
Reverend Aniedi Okure                          Reverend Steve Herder
Treasurer                                                         Secretary

Eric LeCompte
Executive Director
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Public Finance International Highlights Jubilee USA Letter to IMF‎

Public Finance International highlights Jubilee USA's letter to the IMF regarding the island nations impacted by Hurricane Irma. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Caribbean Island Debt ‘Should Be Suspended’ for Irma Recovery

By: Simone Rensch

"...Jubilee USA Network has sent letters to the IMF, World Bank, Congress and the White House to suspend debt payments to islands, such as Antigua and Barbuda, so they can use the money to recover.

'The island of Barbuda was hit hard and 1,400 people are homeless,' Jubilee USA Network executive director Eric LeCompte said a statement published last week.

'The country of Antigua and Barbuda and other severely impacted islands should stop paying debt until they rebuild and recover.'"

Read more here.

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Caribbean 360 Features Jubilee USA's Hurricane Irma IMF Campaign

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in Caribbean 360 and Citizen's Report speaking on Hurricane Irma. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

IMF Debt Relief For Hurricane-Hit Barbuda Might Not Happen

By: Staff

"Barbuda, which was ravaged by Hurricane Irma a week ago, currently owes the IMF an estimated $3 million debt. Jubilee USA, an interfaith group, has written to the Fund’s Managing Director Christine Lagarde requesting that payment be put on hold until the island can recover.

'On behalf of Jubilee USA’s nearly 700 national and local faith institutions, we invite the IMF to implemented an immediate moratorium on debt repayments for countries severely impacted by the Category 5 storm until they have rebuilt and recovered,' President Eric LeCompte wrote."

Read more here.

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The Independent Cites Eric LeCompte on Debt Relief for Irma Affected Islands‎

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA, was recently cited in The Independent speaking on Hurricane Irma. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Hurricane Irma: IMF is Resisting a Moratorium on Barbuda's Sovereign Debt Repayments

By: Ben Chu

"In a letter to the IMF managing director Christine Lagarde on 7 September the Jubilee USA network wrote: '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.' 

'For example, the nation of Antigua and Barbuda has almost $3m in debt payments due to the Fund today and a debt payment moratorium could immediately be put into rebuilding Barbuda where almost the entire population is homeless.'" 

Read more here.

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Jubilee USA's Work on Hurricane Irma Published in World News and Topix

Jubilee USA Network was recently featured in World News and Topix for their letter to the IMF regarding island nations impacted by Hurricane Irma. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Jubilee USA: Antigua and Barbuda and Islands Dealing with Irma Should Stop Debt Payments

By: Staff

"'The island of Barbuda was hit hard and fourteen hundred people are homeless. The country of Antigua and Barbuda and other severely impacted islands should stop paying debt until they rebuild and recover,' stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte serves on United Nation debt expert groups. 'The International Monetary Fund can authorize a moratorium on debt payments so Antigua and Barbuda could immediately access $3 million for recovery efforts...'"

Read more here.

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Courthouse News Talks with Eric LeCompte about Jubilee's Hurricane Irma IMF Campaign

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA Network, was recently featured in Courthouse News and Mint Press News regarding Jubilee USA's letter to the IMF. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

IMF Doubles Down on Debt Demand for Storm-Torn Barbuda

By: Adam Klasfeld

"Jubilee USA, a U.S.-based interfaith group pushing for a merciful approach to countries crushed by debt, asked the IMF’s managing director Christine Lagarde to cease payment demands until the nation lifts itself out of crisis.

'On behalf of Jubilee USA’s nearly 700 national and local faith institutions, 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,' its president Eric LeCompte said in a letter to Lagarde on Thursday."

Read more here.

 

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Agenzia Fides cites Jubilee USA as Hurricane Irma Approaches Puerto Rico

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

AMERICA/PUERTO RICO - Hurricane Irma Hits the Island of Puerto Rico

By: Staff

"...'We are concerned with how the debt crisis ‎affects Puerto Rico's ability to deal with the impacts of Hurricane Irma. Before Hurricane Irma, we saw cuts to social and emergency services. We are praying for all in the path of this hurricane.'"

Read more here.

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Antigua and Barbuda and Islands Dealing with Irma Should Stop Debt Payments

As Hurricane Irma heads to the US coast, a religious development group is calling for debt payments to be suspended until Antigua and Barbuda and other severely impacted Caribbean nations recover from the storm. Jubilee USA is also calling for grants, as opposed to loans, to be made available for the island countries and the US territories.
"The island of Barbuda was hit hard and fourteen hundred people are homeless. The country of Antigua and Barbuda and other severely impacted islands should stop paying debt until they rebuild and recover," stated Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte. LeCompte serves on United Nation debt expert groups. "The International Monetary Fund can authorize a moratorium on debt payments so Antigua and Barbuda could immediately access $3 million for recovery efforts."

Antigua and Barbuda is scheduled to make a debt payment of $3 million to the International Monetary Fund today. The Caribbean islands of Anguilla, Antigua and Barbuda, Saint Barthélemy, Saint Martin and the British and US Virgin Islands faced some of the most severe impacts as Hurricane Irma swept across the Caribbean. The US territory of Puerto Rico, although hit by the storm, escaped the full level of destruction originally predicted. 

"For all islands impacted by Irma, we need to see reconstruction grants, not more loans," said LeCompte. "The White House and Congress must continue to make these grants available to Puerto Rico and the US Virgin Islands. Similarly, the IMF and World Bank should make grants available to other islands and nations affected."
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Mired in Economic Crisis, Puerto Rico Braces For Hurricane Irma

Category 5 Hurricane Irma nears the US territory of Puerto Rico. Struggling with a $74 billion dollar debt crisis, the island suffers from cuts to emergency services.

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the religious development group Jubilee USA, releases the following statement:
 
"We're concerned with how the debt crisis ‎affects Puerto Rico's ability to deal with the impacts of Hurricane Irma.‎
 
"Before Hurricane Irma, we saw cuts to social and emergency services.

"We are praying for all in the path of this hurricane."
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The International Bar Association Interviews Eric LeCompte on Global Bankruptcy

Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of Jubilee USA was recently featured in the International Bar Association speaking on Latin America. Read excerpt below and follow link to full article.

Latin America and the Money Men

By: Yola Verbruggen

"Eric LeCompte, Executive Director of the Jubilee USA Network, a non-profit financial reform organisation based in Washington, DC, sees the law as a victory for defaulting countries. ‘The Puerto Rico case is very significant as it shows a legal framework for a comprehensive bankruptcy process is possible. More importantly, the Puerto Rico legislation retroactively binds all creditors and prior bond contracts into one process. The Puerto Rico case shows that a framework for sovereign bankruptcy is possible. The case also shows that it is possible to prevent holdout and predatory behaviour. The Puerto Rico process is a model for future bankruptcy processes,’ he says."

Read more here

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NAFTA Talks Begin

Negotiations begin for a new North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA).

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

“Trade is a critical component of easing poverty and promoting development.‎ New NAFTA negotiations must ensure that protections are in place for vulnerable communities.

"Access to medicines must be a priority during the NAFTA negotiations. In the past, trade agreements failed to ensure that vulnerable people could access life-saving medicine. A successful trade agreement ensures that poor communities won't get priced out of the medicines they need.

"Too many trade agreements undermine protections for poor communities, local labor standards and environmental laws. Predatory hedge funds manipulate these trade agreements to collect on old debts of countries. In the new NAFTA agreement, we need to see trade disputes resolved in ways that protect the poor and that ensure those affected by trade ‎decisions are involved in making the decisions."

 
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