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By Neil Marks in Montego Bay, JamaicaThe International Monetary Fund (IMF) has signalled its willingness to look at ways it can help countries of the regional trade and integration bloc,Dansby Swanson Jersey, CARICOM, which are unable to pay debts and meet recurrent costs, such as investing in education, health and infrastructure.“We are committed to work on this; we can try to provide some sort of new kind of support in case of countries with huge debt and development blocked,” Managing Director of the IMF Dominique Strauss-Kahn said during a press conference in Montego Bay.Strauss-Kahn made the pledge in response to calls from the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) for a new development model that could pave the way for debt relief for middle income countries and a huge chunk of funds to fight climate change.IMF Managing Director,Detroit Tigers Alex Avila Jersey, Dominique Strauss-Kahn“Our economies have been severely dislocated by the global recession. We do not have the resources or the fiscal space to support effective stimulus packages to refloat our economies. Our economies are naked, shivering for warmth in the blizzard of the global crisis,” Bruce Golding, the Prime Minister of Jamaica said in describing the financial situation of CARICOM.Golding and other leaders of CARICOM met Strauss-Khan in Montego Bay,Matt Kemp Jersey, and President Bharrat Jagdeo found Strauss-Kahn to be sympathetic to the needs of the region.The problem of the CARICOM is that its member states are not poor enough to benefit from financial packages offered to poor countries,Cameron Maybin Jersey, but they are not well off enough to do without it.Golding said some of the countries of the region are so highly indebted that by the time the funds are deducted to service debt and take into account what is left to deliver services to the people, “we are no better off than a country that is poor.”Golding said he wasn’t suggesting that fiscal recklessness should be rewarded, but for countries which are “doing the right things” to be rewarded.“The truth is that most of the facilities are either looking at low income countries or high income countries,Sean Rodriguez Jersey, “Strauss-Kahn said. Most Caribbean countries are considered lower-middle income.President Jagdeo was pleased that Strauss-Kahn could meet with the leaders in Montego Bay. Jagdeo has been critical of the fact that the heads of multilateral financial institutions have not been paying enough attention to the Caribbean and have been sending low level representatives.According to Jagdeo, the IMF came prepared,Atlanta Braves Kurt Suzuki Jersey, having in mind the state of the economy of the region and its inability to construct a viable development strategy in the face of falling revenues, reduced growth and the threat of hurricanes and volcanoes.He said leaders have discussed with Strauss-Kahn the need for the IMF to allow greater access to some of the facilities they have in place. Jamaica, for example, has a stand-by facility with the IMF in the form of a US$1.27 billion loan to support the island’s plan to recover from mounting government debt and the effects of the global economic crisis. This happened in February, 14 years after Jamaica exited its borrowing relationship with the IMF.But Jagdeo said the short term strategies must lead to the IMF’s support to advocate for a new model of development appropriate to small developing countries that would be significantly different than the model pursued by large developing countries.What is needed now is for the technical people in the region to come up with a plan to support this model. If this happens, Jagdeo said it could lead to middle income countries receiving debt relief for the first time, and for countries of the region vulnerable to climate change to benefit from funding for adaptation and mitigation.The President also wants to see the support of the United Nations to change its development lexicon, which now only caters for developing countries,Travis Shaw Jersey, developed countries and Least Developed Countries. The countries of CARICOM do not fit into any of these categories.Unless this is changed, then this group of countries would not be seen as a special category with particular vulnerabilities requiring a different set of development tools to address their concerns.But for this, Jagdeo wants to see widespread cooperation among regional leaders and the technical staff.“I think it is a regional task. I don’t see enough of this enthusiasm on the part of many of our development thinkers to push this model,” Jagdeo stated.The Head of State had before said that many of the countries in CARICOM are getting to the stage where Guyana,Santiago Casilla Jersey, an original member of the 37-year-old group, was in 1992.“At one stage we were bankrupt. In 1992,St. Louis Cardinals Zach Duke Jersey, when you looked at payment for debt and payment of wages and salaries in the public sector it was 114% of revenue.“When you have two items, just paying wages and salaries and debt and that’s more than your revenue, what remains to run the country? Many countries in the region are approaching that kind of position.”
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