Caribbean nations join together to push for debt cancellation

Caribbean nations have publicly called for debt cancellation for the region. This week, the Heads of Government of the Caribbean Community (CARICOM) called for “reparations for native genocide and slavery”. The governments agreed a ten-point plan of specific changes European governments involved in the trans-atlantic slave trade should make, including debt cancellation, technology transfer and an Indigenous Peoples Development Programme.

Statue in Barbados of Bussa, who led a slave revolt in 1816, commemorating the end of slavery
Statue in Barbados of Bussa, who led a slave revolt in 1816, commemorating the end of slavery

The call for debt cancellation comes on the back of various reports of Caribbean leaders pushing for a debt relief scheme for the region. In December, the Financial Times reported that Caribbean leaders are lobbying behind the scenes for an international debt relief and investment programme.

Many Caribbean countries are in severe debt crisis. Grenada has been in default on its debts for the last year, and its government has publicly called for an independent assessment of its debt sustainability, and negotiations on debt cancellation with all its creditors. The Jamaican government is spending over 25% of government revenue on foreign debt payments every year, only made possible by $2 billion of bailout loans over the next three years from the IMF, World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank.

It is thought that a meeting on debt relief for the Caribbean will be held in Washington DC on 7 April between the G20, the Commonwealth and Caribbean leaders, ahead of the IMF and World Bank Spring Meetings.

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