What started as a “Debt Sustainability and Debt Relief” options for Grenada in September 2013, has led to the formation and launch of a regional civil society organisation, aimed at enhancing the voice of Caribbean citizens in discussions, and decisions surrounding the acquisition and restructuring of public debt, and the impact of high debt levels on Caribbean societies.
The launch of the Caribbean Debt Network is the highlight of a third conference on Debt Relief which will conclude in Grenada this Wednesday. The conferences are organised by the Conference of Churches in Grenada, and participants include representatives from international donors, civil society groups and church leaders, including Bishop Vincent Darius, Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of St George’s in Grenada.
The primary goals include: reviewing the Grenada present sovereign debt situation; to assess civil society’s involvement in Jamaica during the Jamaica debt crisis; to review of the debt crisis in 2000-2005 in Dominica and the impact on the poor, and to discuss the advocacy of good and transparent governance as a solution to future Caribbean debt sustainability.
The membership is expected to work along and adopt strategies similar to the Germany, USA and UK Jubilee campaigns, which use arguments from the Bible to seek “forgiveness” of the debt, so that any benefiting country will have enjoy “jubilee.”
However, in order to ensure that the jubilee is long term, the organisation will also be focusing on sharing information and strategies on debt sustainability, so that countries will not return to the overbearing public debt if, and when, “forgiveness” is provided from the creditors.
By Linda Straker