Finance Minister Dr Keith Mitchell today explained that Grenada’s decision to engage in debt restructuring measures is divided into two types and there are some debts that don’t fall within the relief or restructuring arrangement.
“One of the things we declare early since winning the 19 February General Election was the need for debt restructuring and we began a process which now put some debts within the relief pool and some outside. For example, our commitments to local banks are not part of the restructuring, but our bondholders and international lenders are whom we are negotiating,” said Mitchell who is also the Prime Minister.
Today, 01 July, Grenada was due to make payments on debt owed to western governments, including £270,000 to the UK. In March, Grenada’s government stopped making payments to private creditors. Roughly 40% of the debt is owed to private bondholders, and another 40% to multilateral institutions such as the IMF, World Bank, Caribbean Development Bank and Inter-American Development Bank. The remainder is on the books of governments, including Taiwan, Kuwait and Trinidad and Tobago.
Though Dr Mitchell could not clearly recall who had to be paid today, he was certain if there are lenders who are scheduled to receive payment today they will be paid. “We have being meeting our commitment to all those whom we are scheduled to pay, so I don’t think it will be an issue for us once they fall outside of the debt restructuring circle,” he said.
Inspired by the biblical concept of cancelling debts, the Grenada Conference of Churches recently spearheaded a three day debt seminar on restructuring with its members and representatives from a wide cross section of nongovernmental organizations.
The main outcomes of the activity which was facilitated by Jurgen Kaiser — coordinator and research fellow at the German Debt Network was a proposal that negotiations on reducing the debt should take place with all creditors and that an independent body should assess how sustainable are the debts.
by Linda Straker