Jubilee 2000 and future loans

Jubilee 2000 logoI read with interest Ann Parker’s article following her participation in the last Jubilee 2000 Coalition Nottinghamshire meeting, and as a member of the Steering Group of the Coalition am aware of the support given by St Peter’s. I was particularly struck by Ann’s honesty in raising the issue of corrupt Governments abusing debt relief, and it is understandably a great concern. Perhaps I might briefly address this in the pages of your magazine?

Underhand dealings

Jubilee 2000 Coalition has always recognised that there needs to be caution in its action. Its ‘Mission Statement’ clearly refers to the need for "a fair and transparent process" in this concern. The reason is that the debt problem faced today has been caused by the fact that much financial dealing in the past has been underhand - on the part of the creditors as well as the debtors. Due to this no-one in either the lending nations or the borrowing nations was aware of what was being arranged - and therefore no-one was effectively accountable for their action. Not only that but Mobuto in the former Zaire received $8.5 billion despite widespread knowledge of his corruption and abuses of power. You and I are not made aware of the large loans (subsidised by us as taxpayers) which have been given to encourage uncounted leaders in countries like Nigeria and Malaysia to buy arms or other exports from British companies. Neither are the ordinary people of those countries told that their governments are undertaking these obligations and as there is no International Bankruptcy Law, when a borrower becomes bankrupt the debt is placed upon the people who were never informed of the liability being taken on by their government.

Transparency

Jubilee 2000 Coalition therefore wants to see not just a remission of debt, but also the implementation of transparent and reasonable structures for the future under which any loans are given. In a recent document on the Internet, J2000 stated:

no loans backed by taxpayers money (and this includes British Goventment loans, IMF and World Bank) should be given to a foreign country in secret… in fact, transparency about the loan to a government should be a condition of granting a loan. Similarly, transparency, publicity and openness should be conditions for providing debt relief.

I think we need to recognise that the present desperate and impossible situation faced by so many of the poorest and most helpless people of the world has been caused as much by bad creditors as by corrupt borrowers, and this must be recognised and ended. That is a part of the aim of Jubilee 2000 Coalition.

Fuller details can be obtained from the Internet page linked below.

Trevor Hatton

Jubilee 2000 web-site

Jubilee 2000 Coalition


http://www.stpetersnottingham.org/2000/loans.htm
St Peter's Church, Nottingham
Last revised 1st November 1998