Caribbean countries to meet with IMF to discuss coronavirus response

St Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet on Tuesday announced that the International Monetary Fund (IMF) will hold a conference call with regional countries on Monday to discuss the economic impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) that has killed more than 4,000 people globally and posing economic problems for small island developing states.

In a statement to the Parliament on the island’s as well as the region’s preparation and strategies for dealing with the virus for which there is no vaccine, Chastanet also disclosed that his Tourism Minister, Dominic Fedee, who is also the chairman of the Barbados-based Caribbean Tourism Organisation (CTO), was meeting with the Caribbean Hotel Tourism Association (CHTA) “under the supervision of the Bahamas, who is the lead Prime Minister on Tourism, has been working for the last two weeks to put together a Caribbean Tourism Conference with the World Tourism Organization, World Travel and Tourism Council (WTTC), the FCCA and the airlines.

“The purpose is to have a one-day discussion specifically on tourism and the coronavirus fall out, as well as preserve the global confidence in Caribbean Tourism,” Chastanet said, having earlier disclosed that the region had been holding discussions with cruise ship operators on a protocol to guide their relationship in the COVID-19 era.

Economic fallout

Chastanet said as his administration prepares to present the 2020-21 national budget “we are also monitoring what is happening on the world stage.

“The economic fallout in the last couple of days in the global stock market; which is a result of the continued spread of coronavirus, as well as the oil price war which has now erupted between Russia and Saudi Arabia. This has created economic anxiety.

“Hence we are in dialogue with the Central Bank, the World Bank, the Caribbean Development Bank (CDB) and the IMF, on what measures and mechanisms we can put in place in order to maintain the confidence of the business community. A conference call with the IMF is scheduled with the region for Monday next week,” he told legislators.

Last week, the Washington-based financial institution said it would make available US$50 billion to help countries address the COVID-19.