Holding back the IMF Report flies in the face of democracy, transparency and accountability
By: Erasmus Williams
Basseterre, St. Kitts, November 7, 2018 – Another call for St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Hon. Timothy Harris to release the 2018 IMF Staff Report on St. Kitts and Nevis.
“The people want to know. They should not have to speculate. The people of St. Kitts and Nevis continue to condemn and denounce the current attempt by the government to hide information from the public. This flies in the face of democracy and goes against the tenets of transparency, accountability and integrity in public life. Instead of living up to the ideals transparency, the Prime Minister chooses to hide the IMF report then quote statistics from an ECCB report that no one can find anywhere,” said Leader of the Opposition, the Right Hon. Dr. Denzil L. Douglas.
He told listeners to his “Ask the Leader” call-in programme on Kyss 102.5 FM Tuesday night, the former prime minister and minister of finance said Dr. Harris blocking the release of the Staff Report “is simply unacceptable in a modern day St. Kitts and Nevis.”
“The people of St. Kitts and Nevis demand that the IMF report be released. The parliamentary opposition demands that the report be released for the people to know what is happening to our country,” Dr. Douglas reiterated.
He asked: “Why would Dr. Harris, the Minister of Finance, want to hide the IMF report? Is it because the GDP economic growth rate for 2018 has again been revised downward from a projection of 3.4% to a mere 2.7%? Is it because the IMF is questioning the lack of audited financial statements from the Social Security Board, the SIDF, the Hurricane Relief Fund and the Sustainable Growth Fund? Is the IMF still appalled that the CBI money is still not being placed into the consolidated fund? Is it because the IMF has said something about millions gone missing from the Development Bank? Are these the reasons why Dr. Harris is hiding the IMF report?” Dr. Douglas asked.
The IMF Mission visited St. Kitts and Nevis in early June/late July.
Late October, the IMF posted on its website that 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.
It said after the return of the Mission the Staff submitted 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,” the IMF said.
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