Joint Press Conference at the End of the IMF Managing Director's Trip to Barbados

July 17, 2022


Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund

The Honourable Mia Amor Mottley, Prime Minister, Barbados

The Honourable Nigel Clarke, Ministry of Finance and the Public Service, Jamaica


Moderator: The purpose of this press conference is to discuss the International Monetary Fund's recently concluded visit to Barbados. Present with us this evening, we have the Prime Minister of Barbados, the Honorable Mia Amore Mottley, as she is joined by the International Monetary Fund's Managing Director, Ms. Kristalina Georgieva, as well as Jamaica's Minister of Finance and Public Service, The Honorable Nigel Clarke. With us in the audience, we also have members of Cabinet, members of the IMF delegation, and we also have members of the media. And virtually we have a few members of the public. With that, I will turn it over to the Prime Minister who will deliver her remarks and she will be followed by the IMF, MD who will also deliver remarks, Prime Minister.

Prime Minister Mottley: Thank you very much. I hope not to be long this afternoon, but I want to start with a very strong thank you. Thank you to the Barbadian people. Thank you to the International Monetary Fund. Yesterday marked the conclusion of the last Board review of Barbados program with the International Monetary Fund that we entered four years ago on the 1st of October 2018. The world looked a lot different then, than it does now. But having said that, the fact that halfway into the program we started to encounter crisis after crisis after crisis, the last one being this year, with the inflationary consequences of the war in Ukraine and the disruption in global supply chains. The fact that that has all happened over the course of this program has been unfortunate. But by the same token, we have been able to adapt, and we have been resilient in those measures that we've put in place, recognizing that we need always to ensure that people can keep their heads above water and be able to move to the next level.

The IMF has worked with us in a very cooperative manner in taking a homegrown program and ensuring that that homegrown program, which we designed, which I typically style at the very beginning, to the then Managing Director Madame Lagarde, as one that needed to have something that would allow our people to have a little breakfast before they went on. A long journey has worked for us. If we had come to the point of fighting the pandemic in January, February 2020, without having done the reform measures that we had undertaken between June 2018 and then, we would never have been able to be standing today as we are now. And that for us is significant because those structural reforms that we started were critical. We've not finished all because of the pandemic. We're still in the middle of engaging on pension reform, which is absolutely critical, especially with a population that's declining. And therefore, it places a disproportionate emphasis of whit on those declining numbers of persons working to be able to carry an aging population. We want to thank you, Madam Managing Director, also for your courage, for your innovation, for your bold leadership. You became Managing Director of this institution one year after Barbados entered into a program exactly October 1st. You, like us, were then faced early on with these destabilizing global events. And rather than stay within the crease, as we would say, for those who appreciate cricket, you decided to step out of the crease and to play some shots because that was the only way people would be able to survive the rapid disbursements that occurred. Your commitment to ensure that you took on the geopolitical battles that were necessary in order to be able to have the 650 billion special drawing rights unlocked. And now the further battle, which is of major import to us in this region, that of the establishment of the Resilience and Sustainability Trust, which for the first time substantially lengthens the length of time that you will lend money to our people for to our countries, for with a grace period that is substantially longer than anything that we've seen before. And let me be more specific, that we will now be able to access 20 year money with a 101/2 year grace period, during which we would not have to pay or service a debt that is unparalleled in our experience, and that it is also available to middle income countries like Barbados and the Bahamas, who have been locked out of concessional development capital for the majority of the last 30 years and have had to rely on just the Inter-American Development Bank and the Caribbean Development Bank and in recent times CAF, Latin American Development Bank, but not being able to access as much as we might other ways and having to rely disproportionately on the international capital markets. That you have been able to achieve this is really unprecedented and reflects the boldness of your vision, but the perseverance of your character, because there are those who would have caused you to stop in your crease if you were not persistent. We look forward. It is not exactly where we would like it to be, but it is 500% better than anything that we have had before. And I want to claim victory, therefore, for the small island developing states and middle income countries of the world in particular, because this is a major victory for over 30 years. Many of you know, Professor Persaud, who is my advisor professor Prasad’s father Peshwar Persaud, was fighting in this battle and wrote the first document as an employee of the Commonwealth Secretariat back in 1989, I think and that tells you how long this battle, how long we have been laboring in the vineyards to be able to get consideration of vulnerability as a key aspect of the criteria to determine whether you should lend to people or not. Let me break it down in ordinary terms of Bajans that remember when I was minister of education, instead of worrying and focusing on improving teacher training and curriculum reform and all of those things, we were always conscious that would one storm or one hurricane, we would be back to work, you know, whether we had enough school places for people to go to school. And that is the inherent definition of vulnerability that ordinary citizens must continue to remember. So, for us at the national level, we are grateful that we've come to the end of this road. All of us know that we have decided that there will be a conversation, and we hope that between now and the end of July, by the third week of July, Barbados will make a decision on what our successor arrangements are. We are conscious that the Resilience and Sustainability Trust, which we need to be able to finance adaptation because no one else is lending us money on that and certainly not on the terms that I just announced. In our case, the 150% of quarter would unlock USD 210 million. We are going to ask that that Barbadians recognize that that is linked to some kind of relationship with the IMF. But the IMF has many instruments, some of which, like the Extended Fund Facility that we just had, is anchored in money being disbursed and significant debt being accumulated. Then you can have a precautionary program where you only draw down if you need it. And then of course you can have programs that are policy based that don't have any money at all coming with it, but that still allow us to be able to see where we can have the policy reforms that are going to make the difference. Those policy-based reforms for us, we've done a lot of them already because we know coming onto the program. So, either, which way for us to decide what kind of relationship we want with the IMF, we will decide that by the third week of July. But I know, as I said earlier, that this is the right instrument at the right time for the people most in need. And Madam Managing Director, we really want, on behalf of a grateful region, to thank you for being at the head of your organization at this time, because you have not only sought to deal with the symptoms of the three global crises, you're seeking to deal with the underlying cause by ensuring that we go to deal with the structural transformation necessary. And may I say the Resilience and Sustainability of Trust is not only about climate, but it will also help us address the current pandemic and other future pandemics so that we become stronger and are able to recover. And I last minister Clarke, when he speaks to contextualize for you how long others have taken to recover in the past as compared to what we can recover in given the kind of structural transformation that we're undertaking now. So, on both counts, nationally and regionally, internationally with the RST, we thank you. To Barbadians. I say this has been, yes, a long journey. It's not been easy every step of the way. And there are some who bears the scars, regrettably, from some job losses. There are others, however, who have been saved and shielded because of our ability to be able to keep this country afloat and to be able to do the exciting, innovative things. While in an IMF program, we bought busses, electric busses, the largest electric fleet in the Caribbean, now. While in an IMF program, we literally reflected the entire Sanitation Services Authority. We gave public sector workers a 5% wage increase. At the very beginning of the process, we ensured that we also recapitalized the Ministry of Public Works with equipment to be able to get roads going. We built a new accident and emergency department for the Queen Elizabeth Hospital. We were able to build a dedicated facility for COVID tests to ensure that we did not bring COVID into our lone main hospital. Every day and every week and every month. We were also able to resume the payment of tuition fees for persons in tertiary education in this country. And there are quite a few more measures that I can go on to talk about, but were it not for the time, we would do and we increase the amount that we pay under welfare and we increased in number of persons benefitting from welfare, all in an IMF program. By being strategic, by being focused in a laser like way, but also by having partners who could cooperate with us. And I want, as I finish, to salute Bert Van Selm, who led the program on behalf of the International Monetary Fund, and ask him, please, to know that in Barbadians hearts they will not only remember BERT the program, but they will remember Bert the man. And we thank you for your strong, firm leadership, but empathetic at all times. And we thank also Dr. Kevin Greenidge, who, as I have said to the Managing Director, if I have one piece of gratuitous advice to give to the Fund, it would be that the model that we've used by having one of the employees seconded back to the host nation, the nation that is in the program, that it allows him to speak the language of the IMF and the love language of the agents, and that we were able, therefore, to ensure that any opportunity for dislocation or disagreement was completely minimal lies. And Kevin, on behalf of a grateful nation, we thank you.

Managing Director Georgieva : Thank you very much to Prime Minister Mottley and to all the people of Barbados for their remarkable hospitality. I have three sets of thanks to convey to Prime Minister Mottley. First, for the very successful collaboration we have had over the last four years. It has been an IMF program with a hear that helped Barbados in a very difficult time to have the fiscal space to support people and to take reforms that make the country more competitive. Second, to thank her for hosting our capacity development center, CARTAC. We celebrated yesterday the 20th anniversary of the center and we got remarkable evidence that it is doing a good job as well as the wish list of what is expected from it in the future. And my third set of thanks goes to her unbelievable leadership when it comes down to bringing to the world the instruments necessary to meet the objectives of today and tomorrow. And in that sense, the resilience, the sustainability trust, which you described very well, is a product of her perseverance that I am humbly joined with. We had meetings with leaders from the region, and that was, again, thanks to you inviting them and making the very first visit of a managing director of the IMF to the eastern Caribbean region go way beyond engagement with Barbados. We had today a constructive discussion on how best to deploy the Resilience and Sustainability Trust so we can be a force for good in building the much-needed resilience to climate and pandemic shocks. So, let me sum up my visit in three points. One, I learned so much about Barbados and its people. I had the chance to go round the island and discover the tremendous diversity it presents both physical environmental diversity and the diversity of engagement of people. The character of the islands is one that I had this incredible privilege to touch. And I will take back with me a devotion to the Caribbean and to Barbados as a result. One of the most impressive visits here was to a brainchild of Prime Minister Mottley actually, I should say heart child, because it is a project of love, and it is the homeownership providing energy project. I am wishing all nations to have a leader like you that does what it takes to connect, making sure people have affordable housing, and that affordable housing also helps the big goal of addressing climate risks. My second takeaway is that in the Caribbean, small countries are faced with the same big problems big countries face, but with much more limited resources to cope. We are in tough times. The combined force of two crises, one upon another pandemic and a war in Ukraine has caused major disruption in the world economy - pushed growth down and inflation up. What it means is that people's incomes are down, and their hardship is up. When we look into the future this year and next year, the high level of inflation requires for central banks to act decisively by tightening financial conditions. What does it mean? This means higher interest rates on loans? And that is a must to go for because if we have no price stability, then that would be really bad for people's incomes and it would be very bad for prospects for growth. But the cure is one that creates additional pain. And therefore, it is important for us to acknowledge that this pain is even higher in small economies. That takes me to my third message. We at the IMF are your partner. We take to heart the challenges that you wrestle with. On top of these two crises, this region is most exposed to climate shocks, and they are already adding to pressure on budgets and to the pain families and businesses experience. We are committed to engage with countries as you wish and as you see it fits your goals and your objectives. And as the Prime Minister explained, we have a variety of instruments that we can tune for the needs of countries. My message is strengthen your capacity in these tough times and if the IMF can be part of it, we are here for you. We are also determined to make the Resilience Sustainability Trust - $45 billion - strong an instrument that helps this region so that it can be deployed with the strength of your policies and the support of the IMF. I very much look forward to visiting Barbados again. When I came, there is a sign at the airport that says, welcome back. By being here, I earned the right next time to match this site. Thank you.

Minister Clarke: Good afternoon. Prime Minister Mottley asked me to join this press conference, and I'm very happy to do so. Let me begin by congratulating Prime Minister and Barbadians on the completion of your Fund program. Successful completion, I might add. We know the kind of work that goes into a Fund program having had two Fund programs back-to-back not too long ago. So, congrats to you and congrats to the IMF as well. I'm here to participate in the Caribbean Conference with the Fund around the launch of this innovative instrument from the Fund, the Resilience and Sustainability Trust. We in Jamaica know the value of resilience and sustainability for the experience of not having it. You know, as an island state in the Caribbean region, as all of you know, shocks are a part of every of our experience. Economic shocks, whether those shocks are from natural disaster events, from commodity price movements, from geopolitical tensions, from trade restrictions in a butterfly flapping its wings somehow tends to affect Caribbean islands. The key, therefore, we'll never be able to diversify ourselves away from shocks completely. The key is to ensure that we have the resilience to bounce back from shocks and to ensure that shocks do not precipitate balance of payments or fiscal crises. Jamaica's history or from Jamaica's history, we have learned that lesson well. In the 1970s, when we experienced the oil shocks back in 1976, the economy declined and declined for three successive years. It took until 1989, 14 years later, for Jamaica to recover pre-1976, in 1975, levels of economic output in real terms, 14 years. In the global financial crisis, the economy contracted in 2009. The crisis started in 2000 and it contracted in 2010 as well. It took us until 2019 to recover 2008 levels of economic output in real terms. 11 years! Now, because of the reforms that we have implemented, we entered the COVID crisis with buffers, fiscal buffers, monetary buffers, and we were able to respond to the tremendous shock, the historic shock created by the crisis, in a manner that didn't allow the crisis to lead to a balance of payments or to precipitate a further balance of payments crisis or to precipitate a fiscal crisis. Our debt went up 110%, but it was still sustainable. As a result of that, we now have the prospect of recovering pre-COVID levels of economic output by year end 2023, which would be a dramatic change from our historical experience. Potentially three years to recover pre-COVID levels of economic output vis a vis 11 and 14. And that is the value of sustainability. There's a lot more for us to do. Our debt is still high. And it's in in that context that the instrument introduced by the Fund, you know, is certainly an interesting one and certainly one that responds to the advocacy of Caribbean leaders all the time. Caribbean economies have the experience, the duality, the unique duality of being middle income, right? So, the world divides all the countries in the world, high income, middle income, low income. We are not, you know, for we are squarely in the middle of the income chart globally and some of our countries are actually high middle income. Up until now, that designation has precluded us from accessing concessionary financing, regardless of the fact that we are extremely vulnerable because of exposure to the potential of the shocks that I mentioned earlier. And that duality, which has not served us well, is something that we have advocated for in the region. Prime Minister Mottley has been a strong and keen advocate of that. Prime Minister Holness has certainly been an advocate of that. And as Prime Minister Mottley mentioned, previous generations have also been advocates of recognizing that vulnerability cannot be assessed unidimensionally. You can't take one variable your income per capita and decide whether you're a vulnerable state or not. The RST that we spent a lot of time discussing during this conference breaks new ground in making concessionary financing available to middle income countries that have other aspects of vulnerability. And we salute Kristalina and her team for that innovation. And also, it comes with a 20-year tenure with a ten and a half year grace. You know, Prime Minister Mottley they say a crisis is never should never be wasted. And one thing that the crisis definitely has done is that it has aligned Caribbean economies, right? Not necessarily in the best of ways, but the alignment is that we face a similar set of economic circumstances pandemic war, high fuel prices, high food prices, global inflation and monetary tightening around the world at the same time. This presents an and therefore, the kind of reform that we in the Caribbean region are going to have to do in a funny way, it's going to lead to greater harmonization than we could ever have achieved through the usual CARICOM mechanisms. And it's a period that we must capitalize on. The more harmonized our policies are, is the more that economic integration becomes possible and can serve the interests of the Caribbean people. So as in my capacity as Minister of Finance, I look forward to working with other finance ministers, including yourself, on ways in which we can advance that agenda in the service of the Caribbean people. And to Kristalina, we say thank you for listening to the Caribbean people and for the innovation that you're able to share and announce on this trip. We'll be paying keen attention. And I know that certainly many in the room today, you know, have listened to the properties of the new instrument. And, you know, we'll assess it in over the months, the weeks and months to come. Thank you.

Prime Minister Mottley: Just before we go to questions, I just want to say two things. Nigel is absolutely correct about the absolute need for urgency on the part of Caribbean countries to address matters of financial and economic integration, especially at the institutional level. I've spoken over the last two days about the need for us to come together not only for fiscal reason, not only to save money, but also to get the best of what we can get in terms of regional regulation and to vest regional institutions with national and regional jurisdiction just as the Caribbean Court of justice is. So, there's no reason for separate financial services commissions or separate fair trading commissions. We need, at this time know to work together on these critical issues. Secondly, nothing better exemplifies where we have come from than when we stood in this room on the 1st of June 2018, Barbados had four weeks of import cover with a debt payment due within two weeks, and the hurricane season started on that day. Today, we have 39 weeks of import cover at the end of the IMF program, and we have the resilience that allows us to be able to bounce back, but we feel in a better time and space than we could. Obviously, what the world goes through for the next few months year will have an impact on us. But the Resilience and Sustainability Trust once we access it, provides the opportunity to finance investment and adaptation that the private sector will not take up and do on its own, simply because there is no rate of return generally for them. What does this mean in real terms? That if there's a downturn in tourism because of inflation and reduced income, disposable income overseas. At least we can keep some levels of economic activity going because we have to be able to undertake the adaptation necessary with respect to water, with respect to housing, with respect to coastal protection. And it that therefore means that it gives us the ability to keep a level of economic activity going that should bring some level of income to more households than we currently have. And in simple terms, to keep more Bajans with the heads above water waiting for when the global economic, global economy returns to the buoyancy that we would like to see, obviously. So any questions?

Moderator: Thank you. Thank you, Prime Minister. Members of the media, we answer you will move into the question & answer segment. There's a microphone in place for you to ask. I'll just ask that. When you do ask the question, you identify yourself and directly and indicate who's whom you're directing the question. So, Wendy, if you have any questions, we'll start with you and then we'll move to Calvert.

Questioner: Good afternoon to all Wendy Burke in Broadcasting Corporation. My first question is directed to the MD of the IMF. You pointed out what the trust will be doing, and we know that it is one of the longest as yet that's being offered to the region. What I want to know is, if you can at this stage break down for me in layman's terms how the disbursements of it will work.

Managing Director Georgieva: Excellent question. Thank you. The way we are projecting to bring programs to our Board and then act upon them, and of course, this is subject to final Board approval is as follows We already engage with our members on the criticality of climate related risks and opportunities. We are including in our annual consultations with members if they are high emitters, primarily the topic of mitigation, how you reduce emissions if they are highly vulnerable. As it is the case with the Caribbean countries, the topic of adaptation to climate risks, if they are highly dependent on hydrocarbons for their economy, the topic of transition to low carbon economy. And that forms the foundation of our understanding of what could priorities be. We are fortunate in the Caribbean region. We have already done quite a lot of work on vulnerability to climate risks and that allows us to engage with countries and then think through what are the policies we can support that would make them stronger. I'm very encouraged by today's discussion with representatives from across the region, which indicates that we might be able to look into the region as a whole and then define individual country engagements. Once we agree on what are the key policies to support. Then we would make our first disbursement and then we would define in the program what we want to see to make sure that this program is actually working to make a second disbursement. Whether they are there to disbursements or more would depend on the program itself. You can imagine the situation in which one aspect of policy is really well defined, but there is another one on which we work together and possibly work with other institutions. What is our main objective to provide much needed upfront fiscal support for actions that require this upfront investment? But they're bringing benefits way longer over time. And we also have an objective to work with other institutions. So, if, say, Barbados is working already with the Inter-American Development Bank or with the Caribbean Bank, then we will see where we are. How can we complement each other? We don't. I was asked a question and it was a very good question. Is there a risk that this instrument would lead to additional policy conditionalities? And my answer is very simple. We support the country's climate action program, and we work with others, so we reinforce the policy directions. We do not want to create additional work. We want to lift up the capacity to act. I would finish by saying that we recognize that the Caribbean economies are relatively small. Since this is quota defined. In other words, 150% of quota is the maximum we can provide. Some countries already are telling us if we want to do a big bang adaptation, we need more. And our promise is that as we move forward, if we are able to raise even more than the $45 billion that we are we are now aiming for, then we can go we can go higher. And I can tell you that your prime minister actually, and your prime minister as well, they're very effective in lobbying for more. And I myself I'm not to say I can tell you that.

Moderator: Thank you so much, Managing Director. If anyone ever questions. Stephen Colbert. If you have a question you.

Questioner : Okay. Hi. Good afternoon. When Barbados completing its IMF program without what some would categorize us historically crippling structural adjustments. How does Barbados example push the needle in change in the perceptions of the IMF?

Managing Director Georgieva: Excellent. I'm so grateful to you for asking this question. The program here this program is very successful, and it is an example of agility and adaptability because of changing conditions to make sure that we protect the most vulnerable people in society, but also key objectives of the government to bring forward development in the country. To be specific, when we started with the program, at that time, there was an ambitious objective on surplus in the budget, 6%. Well, COVID hits. What does COVID hit mean for Barbados? 90% of the revenues that come from the tourism sector evaporate overnight. But the expenditures the government has to pay for nurses, for doctors to support vulnerable businesses, vulnerable households, they go up. And of course, we immediately did a course correction. In other words, we said do not, do not harm the people in the economy. Let's put this on the side until we get through COVID. My message to Prime Minister Mottley was spend but keep the receipts. We want to be sure that this is wise spending, and we are in a in a place today when we can both proudly say to the Barbadians that we have done the right thing at the tough time. And the program as a result leaves Barbados stronger, stronger. In other words, we have a better economy and better social conditions today. You ask me, how is the image of the IMF changing what we have done through this crisis? The COVID crisis, is unprecedented. The moment the crisis hit. We have offered our membership emergency financing on a scale never in the history of the IMF, we have done so much for so many so fast. Within weeks, we disbursed to ensure the viability of public budgets. Why did we do it? Because at that time, the economy was brought to a standstill. Countries with large capacity to respond, large economies, richer countries during this crisis spent 20% of GDP equivalent to support their people and to support their businesses in the absence of emergency financing for the IMF. The situation in many middle income and low income countries could have been devastating. So, we did what was right, and we did it fast. Second, the next year, 2021, we can see liquidity constraints in middle income and low income countries. In other words, they cannot accelerate the recovery from COVID because they don't have the money to inject in their economy. So, we came up with $650 billion SDR allocation. It gave Barbados, it gave Jamaica fiscal space to act. And then we said, this is not good enough because of the $650 billion, slightly more than half went to countries with strong reserve positions. So, when then we turned to them and said, why don't you lend some of your SDR that you don't need for your reserve position to us and we would lend it to countries that need it. This is how the Resilience and Sustainability Trust is being funded. And we also added more resources to our Poverty Reduction and Growth trust. It is for small members. So, to put it very simply, we have an institution that is agile, and adaptable, and that knows that macro decisions have micro consequences, that the policies we support they have to work for people. And that, I think, is our mission in life. So, what is my objective here in Barbados? My objective in Barbados is like Bert for you to know me, not just as the Fund, but for you to know me as Kristalina, as a person.

Prime Minister Mottley: And it may say you showed us that in every way.

Questioner: Final question for me, and this is directed to everyone on the panel. You know, we see the central banks in Europe and the Fed as well raise interest rates with hope of stemming inflation. However, some pundits are predicting that this obviously could lead to a global recession. Is there a need, therefore, to revise the outlook for tourism dependent countries like Barbados?

Managing Director Georgieva: So, you know, the horizon for the world economy has darkened. It has darkened because of continuous supply chain interruptions caused by COVID. As you know, China had to lock down large cities. Any cause darkened because this supply chain interruptions that we're leading already to price pressures. Why? Because people had money, but the goods are not there. They're now added by the war in Ukraine. Russia attacking Ukraine has created yet another shock, this time on energy and on food, pushing inflation up. Central banks in this environment, they must act decisively. Why? Because if they don't, and inflation continues to go up and then as the technical term is inflation expectations, the anchor then investors cannot project what to do. They don't know where the prices are going to end. Consumers, are likely to try to spend more today, but they are faced with shrinking incomes and that is really bad for growth, and it is a risk to financial stability. It will be achieved. I am confident that we will see inflation over time being put under control. But the more of this is being done, the tougher it is to service that the more of the money that countries and companies and households have go to service debt. And that means that there is a risk of contraction of economic activity. At this point at the IMF, we are projecting downward revisions for growth prospects. They will come in in about a month. We are not yet projecting recession, global recession for this year. There is a higher risk for next year,. Should inflation be more persistent. But I just want to say very clearly, these are tougher times this year, next year. Not necessarily that would translate into recession. Now, you, of course, in tourism dependent economies are likely to see this impacting people's disposable income. You might benefit from another trend, which is finally people can travel. And what we see around us is that people are so keen, so desperate to travel, that you may see in the next months this trend going up. But it is wise to carefully monitor how the global situation evolves. And, of course, we will be providing regular updates. There is, if I am to use one word, to describe the situation we face out today it is uncertainty. We don't know how long the war in Ukraine would go. We don't know how effective tightening of financial conditions would be to contain inflation. We know two things. We will get through this. I mean, there would be there would be an effective action that because we now have central banks that are independent, and they have this duty to the public. So, we will get through it. And we also know that as Jamaica has done, as Barbados has done, countries that have improved their fundamentals are going to get it easier than those that have been shying away from undertaking critical reforms.

Prime Minister Mottley: I think I started to address the issue in my opening remarks when I spoke about the fact that the Resilience and Sustainability Trust provides a source of funding for us to undertake adaptation measures and build resilience at the very time that we might see some dampening of demand, some dampening of tourists’ arrival. Kristalina is absolutely correct. Having said that, there are people who just desperately want to travel and it becomes how best we communicate our message and how best we can facilitate them, while at the same time thinking outside of the box. Barbados is welcome stamp program with a 12-month visa. I was thinking outside of the box, it continues to be something that we have to address. We know now that the draft factor report shows that our population has been declining. That's a national security issue. It therefore means that we need to come up with the immigration bill that allows for us to be able to ensure that we have enough people living on the island and coming to work every day to add value to the economy. And therefore, we're going to have in the next few months to do that. So multiple approaches while being laser like and absolutely focused on what we must do will get us out of this. What does it mean for the average citizen? There will be some behavior modification. Nobody can go through this time in this world today with altered aspects of some of their behavior. And that's where the real talk comes in. And I've been very clear about that, that if you can make decisions that can help you save money, whether in terms of carpooling or whether in terms of how you grow behind your house or moderating what you might do. And then for those who are in businesses accepting that this is not a year where we just profits make them or next year, but that you can still keep your head above water with a 4 or 5% return for this year and next year that allow others to stay afloat. And way we can always bring back down debt in a small country within days or weeks or months. But we cannot bring back social stability if loss, if riots, if other an implosion happens. And that would take a generation for it to bring down. So, I've been trying to get the message across that all of us are in this together. And therefore, whether it is government taking a little less, whether it is the private sector taking that a little less, whether it is average citizens doing a little more, we have to know master it. And let's be clear, our parents had to do this when there was a war. The war, regrettably, is in Ukraine. The war, regrettably, is in Tigre. The war regrettably is in Syria. But here in the Caribbean, there's no war, war yet. And therefore, we really need to be able to use the opportunity to understand that the adjustments that are being asked of us are much comparably smaller than that which are being asked of others globally who have to face with their life on the front line in large numbers.

Minister Clarke: You know, it's very sort of interesting. In the Caribbean, we face the same issues, but we regularly get together and speak about them in the same forum. Yeah, there is a lot of concern across the region, a concern in Jamaica as well about the reaction of monetary authorities to inflation. But as Caribbean countries who have lived through periods and bouts of sustained and very high inflation, we do know that inflation, if not brought under control, can be far more damaging than sacrificing a few points of growth. So, there is a tradeoff we and that is acknowledged there is a tradeoff between responding to inflation and points of growth, but it's a tradeoff that is worth it. Because if inflation remains unchecked and continues at elevated levels for a long period of time, the damage is long lasting. Damage to jobs, damage to standards of living, and damage to growth and growth prospects for a long period of time.

Prime Minister Mottley: I call it the Buckley solution. All of us know that if it declared Buckley, that is bad, that you're going to get both of us. It works out right now. We may have to take a little Buckley leave a little bit to make sure that we can get back on course.

Moderator: Thank you so much, Prime Minister. At this point, I'd like to move to conclude our press conference, but I'd also like to thank the Managing Director and the IMF delegation for gracing us with your presence. Minister Clarke, also, thank you for being here. Members present both here and virtually, I'd like to thank you for joining this evening. And to everyone, please have a wonderful evening. Thank you.


IMF Communications Department

PRESS OFFICER: Randa Elnagar

Phone: +1 202 623-7100Email: