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Caribbean islands, protests against IMF

Kristina Hinds Harrison


English-speaking Caribbean countries share colonial pasts, a common sea, developing country status, and often financial difficulties. Financial troubles in this Caribbean sub-region have led Barbados, Belize, Grenada, Jamaica, the Commonwealth of Dominica, the Cooperative Republic of Guyana, and the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago to seek loans from the International Monetary Fund (IMF). Such IMF assistance has been contentious and has resulted in protests in five of these seven small states. Anti-IMF protests in the Anglophone-Caribbean have generally taken the form of workers' strikes, which other marginalized groups in society have joined to vent their frustrations. Anti-IMF protests in the sub-region have also included roadblocks in Jamaica and an attempted coup in Trinidad and Tobago. Regardless of the form protests have taken, they all represented public responses to suffering brought by governments repositioning themselves vis-à-vis citizens in compliance with market-oriented IMF proposals. From the 1980s many developing countries began to face rising interest rates on commercial bank loans that they acquired at favorable interest rates during the 1970s. Although not always used efficiently, debts accumulated by English-speaking Caribbean states were mostly used to finance social spending, infrastructure development, and other interventions aimed at bolstering their economies. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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