In an effort to ensure they have more money available to respond to COVID-19 as well as help the recovery of their economies, the Heads of State for CARICOM will be approaching several international lending institutions for the cancellation of debt.
But at one of its most recent meetings, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) which is one of the agencies that CARICOM heads will approach, avoided being direct on whether it will promptly help Caribbean nations in this regard.
Alejandro Werner who serves as Director of the Western Hemisphere Department of the International Monetary Fund was keen to note that at the current juncture, the IMF is working with the Caribbean nations. From the 16 countries that have applied for the Fund’s rapid financing instrument, he said that between eight and nine of those countries are from the Caribbean.
Werner said, “So, we’re working, extremely fast to process these requests and to be able to disburse these funds to the Caribbean nations that are severely affected by the current conjuncture. I totally agree that the tourism dependent Caribbean is a region that will be highly affected and their growth rate is going to be even weaker, much more negative than the one that we’re seeing for the region as a whole.”
The IMF official added, “So therefore, they need extra support. And that’s why we’re working extremely fast to try to deploy these rapid financing instruments emerging financing to the countries of the Caribbean. That is why our members also decided to increase the size of these rapid financing instruments so we can deploy more resources fast through these vehicles.”
At the same time, Werner said that the Fund is also working with Barbados in particular, to increase the size of their programme that is already ongoing and was advancing extremely successfully before the COVID-19 shock.
The official said, too, that the Fund has frequent engagements with the region to continue to think on what the region needs, while noting that the membership continues to discuss what could be potential solutions for the problems that members are going to develop in the future.