Contrary to the recent media reports, Haiti’s debt still is not cancelled. While the G7 announced that they will cancel the debts due to them from Haiti, this represents a minimal amount of Haiti’s debt (not more than US$ 122 million). The bulk of Haiti’s debt – US$ 650 million – still remains to be cancelled by international financial institutions such as the Inter-American Development Bank, the IMF and the World Bank.
Ireland is implicated in this failure through our membership of the IMF and World Bank. The government of Canada represents Ireland’s views at the executive boards of these institutions. Yet despite Ireland’s support for debt cancellation for the poorest countries in the world such as Haiti, Canada has still not insisted that the institutions cancel Haiti’s debt.
We need to put pressure on both the Irish and Canadian governments to cancel Haiti’s debt immediately and unconditionally. This is an urgent action as concern about Haiti’s debt has now disappeared from public attention.
Please email Canadian Minister for Finance Jim Flaherty and Canadian Minister for Foreign Affairs Lawrence Canon and copy your message to Irish Finance Minister Brian Lenihan T.D., Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin T.D, and Minister of State for Overseas Development Peter Power T.D.. A sample text is below. We encourage anyone living in Ireland or concerned about Irish policy on debt to take part in the action.
Please take this action in solidarity with the people of Haiti and circulate to your colleagues and friends. A debt free future for Haiti depends on your support.
Email to: jflaherty [at] fin.gc.ca; lawrence.cannon [at] international.gc.ca
Copy to: minister [at] finance.gov.ie; minister [at] dfa.ie; peter.power [at] dfa.ie
Dear Minister Flaherty and Minister Cannon
I am writing to you from my country, Ireland, to express my deep concern about Haiti’s unjust debt situation. The Haitian people deserve a debt-free future, not least because much of their debt was accumulated on an illegitimate basis.
Canada, as chair of the constituencies at the World Bank and IMF which represent Ireland, plays a critical role in ensuring Ireland’s voice is heard in these institutions. Ireland has a policy of supporting debt cancellation for the most impoverished countries in the world. The Irish government, Irish parliamentarians and the people of Ireland have recently expressed very strong support for the immediate cancellation of Haiti’s debts.
Your recent announcement at the G7 Finance Ministers Summit in support of debt cancellation for Haiti is very welcome. Now we must see unconditional, full debt cancellation for Haiti happen in reality.
I urge you to strongly support total, immediate and unconditional debt cancellation for Haiti at the Executive Boards of the World Bank and IMF (US$ 205 million) in addition to the cancellation of the most recent loan of US$ 102 million extended to Haiti by the IMF. I also urge you to use your influence as a member of the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB) to ensure immediate cancellation of the sizeable debt of US$ 418 million outstanding to the IDB from Haiti.
Haiti needs a debt free start and I urge you to urgently act to ensure this happens now.
[INSERT YOUR NAME AND ADDRESS]
(cc Irish Minister for Finance Brian Lenihan T.D; Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin T.D; Irish Minister for State for Overseas Development Peter Power T.D)