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Grenada calls for Debt Relief from all creditors

Oliver Joseph

Publishing Date: October 13th 2013

Grenada's Finance Minister, Oliver Joseph, has today had an open letter published in the Guardian newspaper in the UK. The letter calls for debt relief from all its creditors. The Conference of Churches in Grenada has been strongly pushing for a debt conference in Grenada and debt relief from all creditors, instead of introducing austerity in response to the country's debt crisis.

Grenada's crippling sovereign debt burden

Our tiny island of Grenada, with not many more than 100,000 inhabitants, is saddled with a debt that cannot be sustained. We have been hard hit by the global financial crisis because it affected our cruise ship clientele in the US. A slow recovery from hurricanes in the last decade as well as the reduction in development assistance have also played a part. We are committed to bearing our share of the cost while finding a way out that is both equitable and sustainable.

First, we are seeking social consensus by listening to our people. The government has consulted the churches and other civil society organisations. The International Monetary Fund has just completed a two-week visit. We have also become aware of new approaches:
1) We are committed to reducing costs and waste and to enhancing revenue;
2) We would explore options for a comprehensive solution: an independent debt sustainability assessment, external mediation and a creditor's conference;
3) We seek a substantial financial haircut to prevent getting involved in the kind of piecemeal process that has failed over the past two years;
4) We will try to balance the legitimate interests of all our creditors with the interest of our country.

At this week's meeting of the World Bank and the IMF in Washington, we have been discussing with stakeholders fairer and more efficient ways of dealing with sovereign debt crises. We are prepared to become pioneers of a new debt-restructuring model that would spare countries from protracted entanglement in the debt trap. Grenadaurgently needs debt relief from all its creditors.
Oliver Joseph
Minister of economic development, Grenada

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