IMF boss praises St. Kitts and Nevis’ 2011 to 2014 home-grown Structural Adjustment programme

Kingston, Jamaica, November 20, 2017 – The home-grown Structural Adjustment Programme implemented by the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party Administration of the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas, leading to the continued reduction of the debt to GDP ratio in St. Kitts and Nevis, has been hailed as a very successful.

The praise has come from the Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Christine Lagarde in Jamaica last week.

Ms. Lagarde in delivering the opening address of the 2017 High-Level Caribbean Forum at the Jamaica Pegasus Hotel in Kingston trumpeted St. Kitts and Nevis, Grenada and Jamaica as exemplary countries for the region having successfully implemented reforms to bring down their debt levels.

This is not the first time that the IMF has publicly congratulated St. Kitts and Nevis as a result of the reduction in the debt to GDP ratio due to the success of the home-grown programme which ran from 2011 to 2014 when Dr. Douglas served as Prime Minister and Minister of Finance.

In October 2013, a WINNFM report quoted Deputy Director of the IMF’s Western Hemisphere, Ms. Adrienne Cheasty as saying that there was a surplus that year and the debt is coming down.

WINNFM also quoted Chief of Mission for St. Kitts and Nevis, Ms. Judith Gold as saying that St. Kitts and Nevis had recorded a strong economic growth in the first half of 2013, the most solid in the Eastern Caribbean.

In 2014, St. Kitts and Nevis became the first country in the world to return a US$40 million loan to the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

The IMF also said that debt reduction is “on a sustainable path, projected to reach a low of 60 percent of GDP in a few years.”

Then Prime Minister Douglas was widely praised for his leadership in the development and implementation of the home-grown structural programme and returning the economy to positive growth in spite of the global economy which continued to negatively impact many countries in the Caribbean region,

In his first meeting in 2015 with a visiting IMF Team in his capacity as Leader of the Opposition, Dr. Douglas was personally congratulated for the substantial improvement in macroeconomic conditions, a return to robust growth, and an overall successful program performance.

The IMF directors noted that the debt restructuring, leading to a steep reduction in overall public debt, had placed debt ratios on a downward path and with the Labour Party’s economic policies, fuelled rapid GDP growth of nearly seven percent in 2013 and 2014.

In her presentation the IMF official noted that too often, promising reforms have been cut short from policies driven by political pressure and that stronger institutions and fiscal frameworks can help safeguard prudent fiscal policies, especially as climate change is expected to intensify the impact of natural disasters and worsen the vulnerability of small states in the Caribbean.

Lagarde is proposing the convening of a special event with all the major private and public stakeholders to explore options for building resilience in the region, that include risk mitigation and debt management strategies.

“We want to do it with the Caribbean authorities and the people and to cooperate with all international funding organisations that are willing as we care for not the short term fix, not plugging the hole but thinking about how we can build prevention, precaution, defenses going forward in order to anticipate what is bound to happen again and perhaps with more veracity than it has,” IMF’s managing director reasoned.

The special event, she said, will include the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank of the Caribbean, Inter American Development Bank and other development partners.

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