Those not paying attention President Barack Obama’s Wednesday visit to Jamaica are missing a chance to see how the International Monetary Fund can crush an economy.

Jamaica’s stagnant economy is a textbook example of how IMF-imposed austerity can backfire. Governments become so focused on paying off their debts that federal spending dries up. Without money flowing out of government coffers, it’s difficult for an economy so reliant on one sector — in Jamaica’s case, tourism — to grow. It’s the argument against cuts in government spending that Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras has been unsuccessfully making across Europe for months.

A new report by the Center for Economic Policy and Research concludes the Jamaican economy is suffocating three years into an IMF austerity program. The Caribbean island nation paid $138 million more to the IMF than it received last year, the report found — even though Jamaica still owes the World Bank and Inter-American Development Bank over $650 million through 2018.

Simply put, Jamaica doesn’t have money to spend because most available funds are spent servicing its enormous debt, and the government can’t bring in enough cash to pay off its loans.

The enormous amount of money being spent paying off loans is exasperating cycles of poverty and low job growth that date back decades. Jamaica’s poverty rate has doubled since 2007, and its unemployment rate — 14.2 percent — is higher than it was at the depths of the Great Recession.

“This has been a problem for decades,” Jake Johnston, who wrote the CEPR report on Jamaica, told Foreign Policy. “If we look at the last couple of years, tourism has picked up, remittances have picked up. It’s been offset by this high level of austerity.”

But the Obama administration continues to back Jamaica’s deal with the IMF.

Ricardo Zuniga, the National Security Council’s senior director for western hemisphere affairs, told reporters as Obama prepared to embark that the White House continues to support Jamaica’s handling of its debt crisis — and what he called a “strong performance over the last two years in working with the IMF, the World Bank, and others to address that.”


      1. On a serious note how can we go about starting a gofund me and making sure that it goes directly towards the debt??

        It has to be possible….

        1. Same thing mi jus a seh…We would have to get in touch with one a dem politician and start a campaign …its possible fi come up with the funds fi true..Im going to make a link and see what they say

      2. $25 would be solid. But with all the talks of reperation IMF, Inter and WDB should wipe the debt as 50% to all developing nations that were slave colonies.

        1. I agree but they will not do so..The debt of the countries is what keeps the Europe and America rich. The IMF was started to keep susceptible countries down giving Europe and America power over them. Fidel Castro saw the long term effects of the IMF and decided to take his country in another direction by producing sugar. No country can survive without production, human beings are consumers.The same Venezuelan oil that they want to get the caribbean to stop using was what aided the U.S for many years and now that they have sanctioned Venezuela and partially crippled its economy , getting the smaller nations to stop buying will being the nation down..Which gives the UN power………

          1. Met (me a use people tings, lol) me aware of the “birth” of these crooks. In modern times Haiti was first to get suckered into restitution, then they tried Germany which gave birth to hitler…from there these criminal banks and %s were “born”.

          2. Yes and there is no way to be a world power with every nation rich that a di bottom line

    1. Great idea, and I would throw in a few bucks too, just as long as mi sure seh di gov. would not be able to touch a cent, ni un centavo!!! Don’t know if it is possible though caz azz di article seh restrictions deh ebryweh. and dem wah hab wi undah dem foot…

  1. GM metty an bloggers ,,,met u knw what hurt mi to hear Damien king saying that what was written in this report was rubbish,,,because IMF not doing nothing to Jamaica it not making Jamaicans poorer,,but tell me met if IMF a mek d ppl dem richer

    1. dunce would say that…imf dont only lend money but they place restrictions which have crippled the country..ah doe waa dem upset mi dis morning

  2. that’s why I hate when dem clown sista p. see it deh, Jamaica problem bigger than portia, but people blame her when actually, she’s just a small fish in a very big pond.

    1. All politicians are to blame..They all come in and provide no solutions to the problems and all are thieves so every time one more come in power the country will get worse because all a teef enough to last them when their party is not in power

      1. no Met, no! I won’t hear of it, not my sista p, not Portia. Please say it ain’t so, tell mi a nuh so it go.

        a joke mi a run still, but I really would not believe that about p, but I guess u can’t put nothing pass people

      2. Amen…and here we have we idiots a finance labels instead of attempting to offset some a de poverty within the communities they come from.

  3. As long as there is an American hegemony, there is no hope for a prosperous Jamaica. Unless Jamaica forfeit all of her sovereign rights and permit the USA to run all over her that is… The IMF and World Bank were not put in place for countries like Jamaica–notice when countries like Greece get into financial trouble, new specific policies are designed and implemented to aid such countries. Greece will recover; however, by design, Jamaica will remain a perpetual failure…

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