September 25, 2022

St Kitts-Nevis government blocks publication of IMF report

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From Caribbean News Now

WASHINGTON, USA — According to a statement published by the International Monetary Fund (IMF), the authorities in St Kitts and Nevis have blocked the publication of the latest IMF staff report and the related press release.

However, in an update issued on Friday by St Kitts and Nevis financial secretary, Hilary Hazel, claimed that, contrary to the IMF statement, there are certain policy issues that could not be adequately addressed during the two-week IMF staff visit to the Federation.

“The consultation with the IMF therefore continues up to today’s date and the government awaits the outcome. In the circumstances the IMF country report has not been published,” Hazel said.

The full text of the IMF statement is as follows:

“On September 14, 2018, the Executive Board of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) concluded the consideration of the Article IV consultation with St Kitts and Nevis. Under Article IV of its Articles of Agreement, the IMF has a mandate to exercise surveillance over the economic, financial and exchange rate policies of its members in order to ensure the effective operation of the international monetary system. The IMF’s appraisal of such policies involves a comprehensive analysis of the general economic situation and policy strategy of each member country. IMF economists visit the member country, usually once a year, to collect and analyze data and hold discussions with government and central bank officials. Upon its return, the staff submits a report to the IMF’s Executive Board for discussion. The Board’s views are subsequently summarized and transmitted to the country authorities. The authorities have not consented to publication of the staff report and the related press release.”

It is not clear why the IMF would have “concluded the consideration of the Article IV consultation” if the consultation itself is still continuing.

According to a press release by the opposition St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), it is over four months since the IMF team visited the twin-island federation for the purposes of the Article IV consultation

During that visit, the IMF team led by Arnold McIntyre, deputy division chief in the Caribbean Division at the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department, along with officials from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB), met with government and several other stakeholders including leader of the opposition and political leader of the SKNLP, Dr Denzil Douglas, and members of the parliamentary opposition and the St Kitts and Nevis Chamber of Industry of Commerce.

“During the meeting with Dr Douglas, a declining St Kitts and Nevis economy, the state of the Sugar Industry Diversification Foundation (SIDF), the failure of Dr Harris to reverse the land for debt initiative as promised and the failure of Prime Minister Harris to place funds from the citizenship by investment programme into the Consolidated Fund as well as the Hurricane Relief Fund were among issues raised at that meeting,” the SKNLP said.

IMAGE: IMF/ECCB and Ministry of Finance officials (right) in meeting with Opposition Leader Dr Denzil Douglas and other St Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP) officials in July 2018

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