• Urgent call for debt relief after one of most devastating hurricane seasons in history
• Damage in Dominica from Hurricane Maria estimated at 330% of GDP
Representatives of Churches from across the eastern Caribbean, under the grouping Jubilee Caribbean, have called for the creation of a rapid debt relief mechanism in response to disasters in the region, particularly hurricanes.
2017 was one of the most devastating hurricane seasons in Caribbean history. Damage in Dominica from Hurricane Maria has been estimated to be $2 billion, the equivalent of 330% of GDP. This makes Maria’s impact on Dominica the most economically damaging disaster for one country ever recorded.
The statement from Jubilee Caribbean says: “All research points to the fact that the growing severity of hurricanes in the Caribbean is related to man-made climate change. This means that we in the Caribbean, like some other nations elsewhere in the global south, are least responsible for but most affected by climate change.”
The Church leaders “call upon all those who bear responsibility for responding to any crisis in the next hurricane season and beyond” to:
• Caribbean heads of state and government: “unite and collectively demand the creation of an efficient debt relief option ahead of the next hurricane season through all available means”.
• The IMF: “use its rule-setting power to endorse a full debt moratorium once a hurricane or any other serious disaster brings destruction beyond a pre-defined level and make sure that a serious debt restructuring of all external commitments shall be possible under due consideration of our peoples’ human rights”.
• The Eastern Caribbean Central Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank: “act as supporters of a comprehensive debt restructuring process once it is needed”.