Speaking at a recently-held joint press conference between the Ministry of Finance and the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Dr. Douglas explained that attempts were made to persuade the international community to consider debt forgiveness for highly-indebted, middle income countries such as St. Kitts Nevis, but attempts were futile.
“Last year when we were at the IMF meeting in Washington, at the same time the Commonwealth was having its meetings there. We tried to bring to the attention of the international community that there was a need to begin to recognise a group of countries referred to as highly indebted middle income small countries. We were literally begging. I sat on a panel with several persons and we articulated and ventilated, especially with the support of Jamaica that there was a need to consider some form of debt adjustment for high indebted middle income…small countries…which is what we are. But the international community has not budged.
“That is why introducing the concept of debt forgiveness at this stage is a no no. It doesn’t exist for us.”
The absence of the possibility of debt forgiveness, Dr. Douglas explained, has led to the need for the country to consult with its creditors on the way forward in managing the presently unsustainable debt.
“We have incurred debt where we are a middle-income country, highly indebted; we would like to have debt forgiveness but it’s just not possible. And that is why we have to realistically sit down and speak with our creditors and see how we can refinance and refinance etc etc etc. In fact, the work of our debt consultants is really cut out. They have to go out there and find how to do it. But we at the moment are told that debt forgiveness is not possible.