Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 13, 2018 – For the second year in a row, St. Kitts and Nevis’ Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. Timothy Harris was a “no show” at an International Monetary Fund and World Bank Meeting. This year the meeting was held in Bali, Indonesia. Global financial leaders wrapped up their on Saturday by urging countries to brace for potential risks from trade disputes and other tensions.
The meetings in Indonesia this week were overshadowed by a spate of financial market turmoil and by the threat to global growth from the trade clash between the U.S. and China over Beijing’s technology policies. The International Monetary and Financial Committee, which advises the IMF’s board of governors, issued a communique on Saturday urging countries to keep debt under control, engineer policies to ensure credit is available in line with their levels of inflation and ensure sustained economic growth “for the benefit of all.” IMF members also pledged to avoid devaluing currencies to seek a trade advantage by making a country’s exports relatively cheaper.
IMF Managing Director Christine Lagarde said that while global growth is still strong, it has leveled off. The IMF started the meetings in Bali by downgrading its 2018 estimate for global growth to a still robust 3.7 percent from an earlier forecast of 3.9 percent. Countries should seek to ensure their levels of debt are manageable and that policies foster growth for all, she said.
Dr. Harris did not even send his Senior Minister, Vance Amory, who has mostly acted as Minister of Finance in his absence from St. Kitts and Nevis.
This is the second consecutive year that Prime Minister Harris has stayed away from the IMF/World Bank meeting. He did not turn up for last year’s meeting in Washington, D.C. either. This year he has been absent from the Eighth Summit of the Americas in April in Lima, Peru. Harris was also a no-show at the Twenty-Ninth Inter-Sessional Meeting of the Conference Heads of Government of CARICOM in Haiti. He was also absent from the CARICOM Inter-Sessional in Guyana last year.
Last year Dr. Harris was notably absent from several important regional and international meetings. These included the 42nd Regional Conference of the Caribbean, the Americas and the Atlantic Region of the Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (CPA) held in St. Kitts, the Pan Caribbean Partnership Against HIV and AIDS (PANCAP) forum of Regional Parliamentarians Forum in Kingston, Jamaica; Antigua and Barbuda’s 2nd Annual Citizenship by Investment Conference; the 47th Annual Meeting of the Board of Governors of the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) in the Turks and Caicos Islands.