Las víctimas olvidadas de Stanford ahora disponible en español

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Thursday, December 10, 2009

ANTIGUA - Bird flaps at US senators over IMF blockade

Opposition Leader Lester Bird has chided a group of United States senators who are moving to block Antigua and Barbuda from getting financial assistance from the International Monetary Fund(IMF), according to a report on
"I don't agree with them; you might think that I might want to jump on the boat, but (they are) out of order, totally out of order," Bird said during his contribution to the budget debate on Monday.
"This is a sovereign country and just because they put money in an international institution that does not give them the right to play domestic politics."
Bird's position is in stark contrast to his Antigua Labour Party's (ALP) stance thus far on the government's decision to approach the IMF.
Gov't criticised
The ALP has consistently criticised the government over its move to the IMF, saying that the Washington-based financial institution would not offer much by way of funds to bail out the country from its current economic troubles.
In September, Bird said that the IMF has in mind a programme in which Antigua and Barbuda would only be in line for a maximum of US$13.5 million loan annually for three years.
"It is a drop in the ocean of needs that the UPP (United Progressive Party) regime has created. It will hardly help to create the jobs we need; it will be inadequate to pay wages and salaries in the public service; it will be insufficient to rebuild the roads that have deteriorated under the UPP," Bird said then.
Last week eight, United States senators, including the senior Republican on the Banking Committee, Richard Shelby, introduced a resolution asking that American representatives at the World Bank and the IMF be instructed to prevent any loans to Antigua and Barbuda.
The senators have asked that until the twin-island state compensates victims of the US$7 billion fraud allegedly committed by Sir Allen Stanford through his Antigua-based bank and until the government cooperates with the United States, it should not get any financial assistance from either institution.
The resolution was laid a week ago, but to date there has been no vote on it.

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