PM Timothy Harris blocks publication of the IMF Article IV Consultation on St. Kitts and Nevis

October 26, 2018 in National

The Washington D.C.-based International Monetary Fund (IMF) says the Timothy Harris-led Team Unity Government in Basseterre is blocking the publication of the latest IMF Staff report on St. Kitts and Nevis and has not consented to its publication.

An IMF Team led by Mr. Arnold McIntyre, Deputy Division Chief in the Caribbean Division at the IMF’s Western Hemisphere Department visited St. Kitts and Nevis late June early July, but a statement posted and seen on the IMF Website Friday said:

“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.”

The IMF said 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.

“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,” adding:

“IMF economists visit the member country, usually once a year, to collect and analyze data and hold discussions with government and central bank officials.”

It is over four months since the IMF Team visited St. Kitts and Nevis under the Article IV Consultation and the people of the twin-island Federation are still awaiting a report on the state of the local economy.

In August, the question was asked: “Is Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dr. Timothy Harris holding up the release of the Article IV Consultation on St. Kitts and Nevis?”

It is of interest to note that Prime Minister Harris had not issued a statement prior to or even after the late June/early July visit by the IMF officials to Basseterre.

During that visit, Mr. McIntyre and his team along with officials from the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank (ECCB) and the Ministry of Finance met with government and several other stakeholders including the Federation’s Leader of the Opposition and National Political Leader of the St. Kitts-Nevis Labour Party (SKNLP), Rt. Hon. Dr. Denzil L. 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.

Since the IMF Team has left in July, not even the always chest-beating Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Harris, has uttered the word ‘IMF’ once, his Press Unit and SKNIS have also not issued the customary statements and photos of the meetings with the IMF officials as he has done in the past.
IMF Missions have visited several countries in the Caribbean and elsewhere and all the related reports have been issued.