21 March 2018 | Jerome Gordon, the Public Affairs Director for the Grenada Conference of the Adventist Church, has joined religious leaders in the Caribbean that are calling for debt relief for their nations in the face of natural disasters.
“As Churches in the Caribbean we have witnessed the grief and despair of our people last September, and we are not prepared to enter the next hurricane season without at least being able to tell them that our authorities shall be able to use scarce resources for immediate relief and mid-term reconstruction rather than debt service,” explained a statement signed by Gordon as well as major religious leaders from the Presbyterian, Roman Catholic, Pentecostal, Methodist, Anglican and Episcopal Churches.
Progressive news and commentary site Common Dreams quoted Reverend Dr. R. Osbert James who leads the Presbyterian Church in Grenada and currently leads debt relief advocacy group Jubilee Caribbean, who claimed that, ‘When our island nations discuss debt, it is not just about economics but about our very existence. We borrow, often for capital development, but one major disaster can reverse all capital gains we made, and so with our economic, health and educational infrastructure in shambles, we still have to repay the money we owe.”
James added that, “This results in our being in an unending cycle of dependence, under-development and indebtedness.”
The March 14th statement by the group of 22 religious leaders called for action from government leaders, the International Monetary Fund and Caribbean development institutions.
Jubilee USA Executive Director Eric LeCompte also endorsed the statement. “Across the Caribbean, we still see immense suffering from the hurricanes that landed last year,” said LeCompte. “Islands that are struggling to recover after natural disasters and meet basic needs of their people should not be making debt payments.”
Jerome Gordon heads up the Education, Health Ministries, and Public Affairs and Religious Liberty departments of the Grenada Conference of the Adventist Church.
According to the Office of Archives, Statistics and Research of the Adventist Church, the denomination has 46 churches and 14,234 members in the island nation.