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PM uses UN security council speech to appeal for CARICOM debt write off

Published:Thursday | July 30, 2015 | 12:00 AMJovan Johnson, Gleaner Writer
Simpson Miller .... the struggles faced by the small island states battling transnational crime represent the greatest threat to the region’s security.

Prime Portia Simpson Miller has told the United Nations that the time has come for a comprehensive write off of the crippling debt owed to international financial institutions by Caribbean small island developing states.

She made the appeal during her contribution today to a UN Security Council debate on peace and security threats faced by CARICOM member countries. 

She also sought to highlight the write off proposal by the Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean which says the debt is hindering economic and social progress.

In emphasising the debt write off call, Simpson Miller noted the struggles faced by the small island states battling transnational crime, which she says represent "the greatest threat to the region’s security".


Prime Minister Portia Simpson Miller speaking today at the UN in New York

ECLAC has said CARICOM should push for an agreement with the Caribbean Development Bank, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund to gradually write off debts.

According to the commission, the external public debt in seven countries including Jamaica is approximately US$11 billion.

Of that amount, 40 percent is owed to multilateral institutions.

The majority of the remaining amount is private debt. 

Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has reiterated the region’s concern about the designation of some countries as middle income, which blocks them from getting certain financial assistance.

She argues that the continued designation "places in jeopardy" the region’s ability to finance their sustainable development objectives from domestic public resources.