Just Foreign Policy News
September 10, 2010
Why Peaceniks Should Care About the Afghanistan Study Group Report
The inside experts who crafted the Afghanistan Study Group report have a strategy to move Washington towards ending the war. If their recommendations are followed, fewer Americans and Afghans will be killed. It’s in the interests of peace for as many Americans as possible to read and digest this short and accessible report, which calls for a negotiated political settlement to end the war.
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/robert – naiman/why – peaceniks – should – care_b_712333.html
AP Video: Angelina Jolie Meets Flood Victims in Pakistan
UNHCR ambassador Angelina Jolie visited northwest Pakistan to meet victims of the flooding. Jolie appealed to the international community to provide aid and help Pakistan recover. The quickest way to donate $10 to UNHCR’s relief effort is to text "swat" to 50555 from your cell phone.
Bacevich: Washington Rules
Andrew Bacevich’s book, "Washington Rules: America’s Path to Permanent War," is a call for Americans to reject the Washington consensus for permanent war.
http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/05/books/review/Bass – t.html
Get the book
September 24th: JFP "Virtual Brown Bag" with Andrew Bacevich
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1) The father of a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan says he tried nearly a half dozen times to pass an urgent message from his son to the Army: Troops in his unit had murdered an Afghan civilian, planned more killings and threatened him to keep quiet about it, AP reports. By the time officials arrested suspects months later, two more Afghans were dead.
2) Just back from a trip to Afghanistan, Carnegie’s Gilles Dorronsoro argues that Washington’s approach is failing and talking with the Taliban – through the Pakistani military establishment – is the least-bad option available, Carnegie reports. The best hope for exiting the war is to establish a coalition government that includes Taliban leaders, Dorronsoro says.
3) Gen. Petraeus claimed limited success this week over the Taliban’s planting of roadside bombs, but official Pentagon data shows the Taliban planting more bombs and killing many more U.S. and NATO troops since the troop surge began in early 2010, Gareth Porter reports for Inter Press Service.
4) The presidents of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and more than a dozen other leading health associations have asked President Obama to join the Landmine Ban Treaty, Physicians for Human Rights reports. The health associations represent more than 700,000 physicians, dentists, nurses and public health experts. The treaty bans the use, trade and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines. Eighty percent of the world’s nations and nearly all US allies have banned the weapon.
5) A former employee of a company that supplies interpreters to the US Army in Afghanistan says more than a quarter of the translators working alongside US soldiers failed language proficiency exams but were sent onto the battlefield anyway, ABC News reports. Army officials said they were investigating. The whistleblower alleged that the translators were unable to translate messages warning the Army of ambushes.
6) An editorial in the New York Times slams the Obama Administration for invoking a broad state secrets privilege to block a lawsuit by five men who allege that they were tortured by the U.S. during the Bush Administration.
7) The Obama administration is encouraging a power-sharing arrangement in Iraq that could retain Nuri Kamal al-Maliki as prime minister in a coalition with Ayad Allawi that would significantly curb Maliki’s authority, the New York Times reports. Doubts remain whether the US can close the deal, the NYT says. Iran has stepped up its efforts to press an alternative coalition in which Maliki might remain prime minister but in a coalition with his Shiite rivals and not Allawi. Which coalition prevails will serve as a barometer on whether Iran or the US has more influence, the NYT says.
8) A devastating article by Greg Miller in the Washington Post details the fiasco that the US anti-corruption push in Afghanistan has become. The US effort has produced embarrassing revelations that have undermined attempts to build popular trust in the government, Miller writes. The quandary reflects the extent to which the U.S. government has operated at cross-purposes in Afghanistan, doling out vast sums of money to win over warlords and buy security for military convoys, then cracking down on abuse in a system awash in American cash, Miller notes.
9) The campaign by Jewish Voice for Peace to support Israeli actors who refuse to perform in the West Bank settlement of Ariel has put the settlement on edge, the New York Times reports. "There was a big effort to turn Ariel into a consensus town," said a founder of Peace Now [ie, a settlement perceived to be supported by a consensus of Israeli opinion – JFP]. "But it seems that Ariel is not part of the consensus, and people will understand that now." The owner of a toy store in Ariel said that in return for genuine peace, most people would "leave behind their fake leather couches" and give up their Ariel homes. "It is reasonable to assume," he continued, "that in the end, Ariel will have to go."
10) The upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Haiti on Nov. 28 are unfair, unconstitutional and undemocratic, argues attorney Ira Kurzban in an op-ed in the Miami Herald. They will exclude Aristide’s Famni Lavalas party and other legitimate political parties. Sen. Lugar called for opposition parties to be included, Kurzban notes. Without this, Lugar argued, the November elections will lack credibility.
11) Plans by the Jamaican government to build more schools are being blocked by the country’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund, the Jamaica Gleaner reports.
1) Soldier’s father: Army was warned of murder plot
Gene Johnson, Associated Press, Thursday, September 9, 2010; 8:02 PM
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp – dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090901238.html
Seattle – The father of a U.S. soldier serving in Afghanistan says he tried nearly a half dozen times to pass an urgent message from his son to the Army: Troops in his unit had murdered an Afghan civilian, planned more killings and threatened him to keep quiet about it.
By the time officials arrested suspects months later, two more Afghans were dead.
And much to Christopher Winfield’s horror, his son Adam was among the five Fort Lewis – based soldiers charged in the killings.
The elder Winfield told The Associated Press in an exclusive interview that his son did not kill the unarmed man and would never have been in the situation if the Army had investigated the warnings he says he passed along to Fort Lewis.
[…] The new details about Winfield’s efforts to alert the Army and his son’s pleas raised questions about the Army’s handling of the case and its system for allowing soldiers to report misconduct by their colleagues.
The soldiers have been accused of conspiracy and premeditated murder in a case marked by grisly details.
[…] The first indication for Christopher Winfield and his wife, Emma, that something was amiss came Jan. 15, the day of the first killing. "I’m not sure what to do about something that happened out here but I need to be secretive about this," their son wrote them in a Facebook message. The couple gave the AP copies of the Facebook messages, Internet chats and their phone records.
Winfield, 22, of Cape Coral, Fla., didn’t immediately provide more details, and over the next month he had little contact with his parents. They said they checked constantly to see if he was online.
On Feb. 14, he told his parents what happened in a lengthy Internet chat: Members of his unit on patrol had killed "some innocent guy about my age just farming." He said he did not witness the killing.
But, he wrote, those involved told him about it and urged him to "get one of my own."
He said that virtually everyone in the platoon was aware of what was going on, but no one seemed to object.
"If you talk to anyone on my behalf, I have proof that they are planning another one in the form of an AK – 47 they want to drop on a guy."
He added that he didn’t know whom to trust and feared for his safety if his comrades learned he was talking to authorities. "Should I do the right thing and put myself in danger for it. Or just shut up and deal with it," he wrote his parents. "There are no more good men left here. It eats away at my conscience everyday."
In statements to investigators, at least three platoon members said Gibbs directly threatened Winfield. Morlock added that Gibbs devised "scenarios" for Winfield’s death, one of which involved Gibbs dropping heavy weights on him as he was working out.
[…] Winfield asked his parents to call an Army hot line because he didn’t want anyone to overhear him using the phone.
His father, a Marine veteran, was shocked, and made five calls to military officials that day, his phone records show.
He said he left a message on a Defense Department hot line and called four numbers at Fort Lewis. He said he spoke with an on – duty sergeant and left a message at an Army Criminal Investigations Division office before reaching the base’s command center.
In that call, an official told him that if his son wasn’t willing to come forward while deployed, there was nothing the base could do, Winfield recalled in interviews with the AP and in a sworn statement to Army investigators.
The official suggested the soldier keep his head down until his deployment ended and investigators could look into his claims, he said.
The elder Winfield told AP he regrets not writing down the identities of those he spoke with. He said he did not give any of them Gibbs’ name, but did identify his son. He said one of his son’s sergeants had been involved in a civilian’s murder and was planning more.
His son soon expressed concern about what would happen if Army officials stateside began making inquiries and asked his dad to back off. The elder Winfield said he complied.
A week later, the second killing occurred. On May 2, the third killing took place.
2) Worsening Outlook in Afghanistan
Gilles Dorronsoro, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, September 9, 2010
Even with the surge of U.S. troops in Afghanistan, the coalition’s position continues to erode as the Taliban gain strength. Ahead of the July 2011 date to start pulling troops out of Afghanistan, the Obama administration approaches a strategic review of the war in December and will have to decide whether to maintain course or change direction. Meanwhile, American public support for the war is waning.
Just back from another trip to Afghanistan, Gilles Dorronsoro details in a Q&A the deteriorating security situation on the ground in Afghanistan, analyzes U.S. strategy, and makes the case for negotiations with the insurgency. Dorronsoro argues that Washington’s approach is failing and talking with the Taliban – through the Pakistani military establishment – is the least – bad option available. The best hope for exiting the war is to Afghanize the conflict and establish a coalition government that includes Taliban leaders.
3) Petraeus Spin on IED War Belied by Soaring Casualties
Gareth Porter, Inter Press Service, Sep 9
Washington – Gen. David Petraeus claimed limited success this week in the war within a war over the Taliban’s planting of roadside bombs, but official Pentagon data shows the Taliban clearly winning that war by planting more bombs and killing many more U.S. and NATO troops since the troop surge began in early 2010.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal published Tuesday, Petraeus asserted that the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) by the Taliban had "flattened" over the past year and attributed that alleged success to pressures by the U.S. military, and especially the increased tempo of Special Operations Forces raids against Taliban units.
Data provided by the Pentagon’s Joint IED Defeat Organization (JIEDDO), however, shows that IEDs planted by Afghan insurgents killed nearly 40 percent more U.S. and NATO troops in the first eight months of 2010 than in the comparable period of 2009.
The data also show that Taliban IEDs wounded 2,025 U.S. and NATO troops in the first eight months of this year – almost twice the 1,035 wounded in the same months last year.
In the Journal interview, Petraeus said that the data on violent incidents in Afghanistan indicate a slowly improving security situation.
Without putting his statement in quotation marks, Journal reporters Julian E. Barnes and Matthew Rosenberg reported Petraeus as claiming that the use of IEDs "has generally flattened in the past year". While crediting U.S. military operations with this alleged improvement, Petraeus said it is too soon to say that they are the sole reason for this alleged flattening of IED incidents.
But the data for 2009 and 2010 provide no support for Petraeus’s "flattened" description.
The 12 – month moving average of IED incidents, provided in a report in July by the Center for Strategic and International Studies on the basis of JIEDDO data, shows a continuing and sharp increase from 250 in June 2009 to more than 900 in May 2010, for an average increase per month of 54 incidents.
The total number of IED incidents in Afghanistan began to rise steeply in March 2010 to a new high of 1,087 and then continued to climb to 1,128 in May and again to 1,258 in August.
4) Nation’s Leading Health Professionals Ask President to Join Landmine Ban
Press Release, Physicians for Human Rights, September 8, 2010
http://physiciansforhumanrights.org/library/news – 2010 – 09 – 08.html
In a letter sent to the White House today, the presidents of the American Medical Association, American College of Physicians, American Nurses Association, American Academy of Pediatrics, and more than a dozen other leading health associations asked President Obama to join the Landmine Ban Treaty.
The 19 health associations that sent today’s letter represent more than 700,000 physicians, dentists, nurses and public health experts. They are among many medical, humanitarian, religious and veterans groups pushing for the US to join the treaty, which bans the use, trade and stockpiling of antipersonnel mines. Eighty percent of the world’s nations and nearly all US allies have now banned the weapon.
5) Whistleblower Claims Many U.S. Interpreters Can’t Speak Afghan Languages
Says Translators Failed Language Tests, Were Still Embedded With US Troops In Afghanistan
Matthew Mosk, Brian Ross and Joseph Rhee, ABC News, Sept. 8, 2010
http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/afghanistan – whistleblower – claims – us – interpreters – speak – afghan – languages/story?id=11578169
More than one quarter of the translators working alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan failed language proficiency exams but were sent onto the battlefield anyway, according to a former employee of the company that holds contracts worth up to $1.4 billion to supply interpreters to the U.S. Army.
"I determined that someone – and I didn’t know [who] at that time – was changing the grades from blanks or zeros to passing grades," said Paul Funk, who used to oversee the screening of Afghan linguists for the Columbus, Ohio – based contractor, Mission Essential Personnel. "Many who failed were marked as being passed."
After being asked about the allegations, U.S. Army officials confirmed to ABC News they are investigating the company.
Funk outlined his claims in a whistleblower lawsuit unsealed earlier this year against Mission Essential Personnel, saying the company turned a blind eye to cheating on language exams taken over the phone and hired applicants even though they failed to meet the language standards set by the Army and spelled out in the company’s contract. He alleges that 28 percent of the linguists hired between November 2007 and June 2008 failed to meet the government’s language requirements. The company has contested those claims in court, and this week rejected them as false in an interview with ABC News.
[…] "There are many cases where soldiers have gone out into the field and have spoken to elders [who] handed messages to the interpreter that a possible ambush three miles up the road would occur. The interpreter cannot read the message and they are attacked," Funk said. "We’re talking about soldiers lives here."
6) Torture Is a Crime, Not a Secret
Editorial, New York Times, September 8, 2010
Five men who say the Bush administration sent them to other countries to be tortured had a chance to be the first ones to have torture claims heard in court. But because the Obama administration decided to adopt the Bush administration’s claim that hearing the case would divulge state secrets, the men’s lawsuit was tossed out on Wednesday by the full United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit. The decision diminishes any hope that this odious practice will finally receive the legal label it deserves: a violation of international law.
The lawsuit was brought in 2007 against a Boeing subsidiary, Jeppesen Dataplan, that the plaintiffs said had arranged the rendition flights that took them to Morocco, Egypt and Afghanistan to be tortured. One of the men, Binyam Mohamed, had his bones broken in Morocco, where security agents also cut his skin with a scalpel and poured a stinging liquid into his wounds.
But the merits of the case were never considered because the Bush administration argued that even discussing the matter in court would violate the state secrets privilege. Barack Obama told voters in 2008 that he opposed the government cult of secrecy, but once he became president, his Justice Department also argued that the case should be dismissed on secrecy grounds.
7) U.S. Urges Iraqis To Try New Plan To Share Power
Michael R. Gordon and Anthony Shadid, New York Times, September 9, 2010
Washington – The Obama administration is encouraging a major new power – sharing arrangement in Iraq that could retain Nuri Kamal al – Maliki as prime minister but in a coalition that would significantly curb his authority.
The compromise plan was promoted in Baghdad last week by Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr., though at a time when American influence is waning and the United States continues to draw down troops. The new plan would alter the structure of Iraq’s government by bringing additional restraints to the authority of Iraq’s prime minister and establishing a new committee with authority to approve military appointments, review the budget and shape security policy.
American officials said that the approach, which aims to bring Mr. Maliki’s State of Law party, Ayad Allawi’s Iraqiya party and the Kurdish alliance into a governing coalition, represents the best chance to break the political logjam that has left the Iraqi public without a new government six months after voters went to the polls.
A senior American official said that the plan was likely to result in a new government over the next month or so, and that Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton could travel to Baghdad at that time.
[…] Doubts remain whether the Americans can close the deal and, meanwhile, Iran has stepped up its efforts to press an alternative coalition in which Mr. Maliki might remain prime minister but in a coalition with his Shiite rivals and not Mr. Allawi. Which coalition prevails will serve as a barometer on whether Iran or the United States has more prestige in an unsettled and still turbulent country.
8) U.S. effort to help Afghanistan fight corruption has complicated ties
Greg Miller, Washington Post, Friday, September 10, 2010; 1:04 AM http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp – dyn/content/article/2010/09/09/AR2010090906828.html
In the span of several months, U.S. – backed investigative teams have assembled alarming evidence of rampant corruption in Afghanistan and the extent to which it reaches the highest ranks of that nation’s government.
But the American effort to increase Afghanistan’s capacity to combat corruption has also had unintended consequences, aggravating the U.S. relationship with Afghan President Hamid Karzai and producing embarrassing revelations that have undermined attempts to build popular trust in the government in Kabul – a key component of the Obama administration’s counterinsurgency campaign.
After pouring more resources into the anti – corruption effort over the past 18 months – including teams of advisers and sophisticated wiretapping technology – administration officials said there is growing concern that rooting out graft is paradoxically reinforcing perceptions that the problem is endemic.
"Our big push to help build Afghan institutions for transparency and anti – corruption has had the dismaying effect of bringing a lot of stuff to light that has sparked political crises," said a senior administration official. "Afghan institutions are growing more capable" of fighting corruption, the official said. But their work has the potential to "set us back."
The quandary in many ways reflects the extent to which the U.S. government has operated at cross – purposes in Afghanistan, doling out vast sums of money to win over warlords and buy security for military convoys, then cracking down on abuse in a system awash in American cash.
After nearly nine years of nation – building in Afghanistan, experts said, the U.S. government faces mounting evidence that it has helped to assemble one of the most corrupt governments in the world.
"I don’t know how you can disaggregate the way in which [the U.S. government] has funneled money into Afghanistan from the crisis of corruption that presents itself today," said C. Christine Fair, an assistant professor at Georgetown University’s School of Foreign Service who has monitored the U.S. role in Afghanistan. "We are a government at odds with ourselves."
Underscoring the Obama administration’s sensitivity on the subject, officials persuaded Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John F. Kerry (D – Mass.) to block the release of a report on corruption in Afghanistan that the panel’s staff completed last month. Kerry had publicly mentioned that the report was coming. An administration official said the concern was about sensitive information contained in the document, but others blamed fears that its release would lead to further embarrassment for the U.S. government and Karzai.
9) A West Bank Enclave Is on Edge
Isabel Kershner, New York Times, September 9, 2010
Ariel, West Bank – When a group of Israeli artists recently refused to perform in the new theater at this large Jewish settlement, local residents reacted with a mixture of hurt and defiance. When scores of leftist Israeli academics, prominent writers and intellectuals said that they would not lecture at the Ariel University Center or in any other settlement, many here said that nobody had asked them to come.
But the protest broadened again this week when an American advocacy group, Jewish Voice for Peace, said that more than 150 international film and theater professionals, including Julianne Moore, Theodore Bikel, Vanessa Redgrave and Tony Kushner, had endorsed its statement in support of Israeli artists against performing in the settlements, which are viewed by much of the world as a violation of international law.
For many in Ariel, the growing boycott is something of a surprise. Ariel, an elongated urban settlement that lies about 12 miles inside the West Bank, has long been labeled in Israel as part of the "consensus" – local code for settlements destined to be included within Israel’s borders under any peace deal with the Palestinians. It often appears as one of the regular dots on Israeli weather maps.
Yet as Israel and the Palestinians embark on a new, American – sponsored peace effort, and with a temporary Israeli moratorium on residential construction in the settlements set to expire later this month, Ariel has suddenly found itself at the crux of Israel’s settlement conundrum, and perhaps not so much in the consensus as it likes to think. Linked to Israel’s coastal plain by a modern, high – speed highway, it underscores the bind Israel’s settlement policy has created for those who seek a two – state solution.
The settlement was founded in 1978 by a group of employees from Israel’s military industries, secular security hawks who wanted to ensure that the high ground of Samaria – the northern West Bank by its biblical name – would remain under Israeli control.
[…] Successive Israeli governments have insisted that Ariel, with its sizable population and strategic location, must remain within Israel’s borders under any final peace accord. So far, no Palestinian negotiator has agreed to that. The Palestinians argue that an Israeli "finger" reaching that far into the West Bank would preclude the territorial contiguity of a Palestinian state. They also note that Ariel sits on a major aquifer.
[…] The Israeli artists’ protest began with the publication of the theater program for the 2010 – 2011 season, showing that five major Israeli theater companies were scheduled to perform.
Coming days before the peace summit in Washington, it was serendipitous for the Israeli left, which has been largely dormant in recent years. It also set off rare public debate in Israel about the legitimacy of the settlements in the territories conquered in the 1967 Middle East war.
"There was a big effort to turn Ariel into a consensus town," said Amiram Goldblum, an Israeli professor of chemistry and a founder of Peace Now, the liberal advocacy organization, who joined the academics’ petition. "But it seems that Ariel is not part of the consensus, and people will understand that now."
[…] In January, to mark Jewish Arbor Day, Israel’s conservative – leaning prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, planted a sapling in Ariel. He declared it the "capital of Samaria" and an integral part of Israel. But Oren Ben Uziyahu, the owner of a toy store in Ariel, said that in return for genuine peace, most people would "leave behind their fake leather couches" and give up their Ariel homes. "It is reasonable to assume," he continued, "that in the end, Ariel will have to go."
10) Unfair and undemocratic
Ira J. Kurzban, op-ed, Miami Herald, Sep. 08, 2010
http://www.miamiherald.com/2010/09/08/v – print/1813042/unfair – and – undemocratic.html
[Kurzban was general counsel in the US for Haiti for 13 years during the Aristide and first Préval administrations.]
Imagine if the Federal Election Commission in the United States disqualified the Democratic and Republican parties from the 2012 presidential election and declared that only candidates of minor parties could run. No one would consider it a fair election, and certainly the people of the United States would rise up, claiming the election is unconstitutional and undemocratic.
Yet the upcoming presidential and parliamentary elections in Haiti on Nov. 28 are just that – unfair, unconstitutional and undemocratic. The country’s Provisional Electoral Council, which itself is not constitutionally composed, is refusing to allow the country’s majority party – Famni Lavalas (Lavalas Family) – to participate in the election. Thirteen other legitimate political parties are also being excluded from parliamentary elections.
The Famni Lavalas Party, headed by former President Jean Bertrand Aristide, won the last democratic election it was allowed to participate in by overwhelming margins. In May 2000, when President René Préval was in his first term, the party won virtually all the seats in the lower house of Parliament, the state houses and local governments. It won most of the seats in the Haitian Senate and the presidency. Since the February 2004 coup, Famni Lavalas has been banned from participating in Haitian politics.
The current Provisional Electoral Council, hand – picked by President Préval, has fabricated a new eligibility requirement to disqualify Famni Lavalas from the presidential elections. This new rule requires that the head of each party register presidential candidates in person.
President Aristide, however, is exiled in South Africa where a tacit agreement between many governments keeps him there. While the great powers have maintained a code of silence concerning Aristide and his right to return to his own country, they are feverishly working, with the complicity of the South African government, to ensure that he does not return. At the same time, the government of Haiti has refused to renew Aristide’s passport to allow him to return to Haiti to register his party.
[…] In a report to the U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Richard Lugar, R-Ind., called upon President Préval to restructure the Provisional Electoral Council and ensure the participation of opposition parties, including Famni Lavalas. Without this, Lugar argued, the November elections will lack credibility. Lugar warned, "The absence of democratically elected successors could potentially plunge the country into chaos."
Fair, inclusive elections – that include the participation of Famni Lavalas and other legitimate political parties and respect for the right of all exiles to return, including Aristide – are essential for establishing a Haitian government with the legitimacy and capacity to effectively manage the country’s reconstruction. Settling for elections that are less than fair and inclusive might seem expedient in the short term, but in the mid – and long – term accepting flawed elections will ensure civil strife and political controversy. It will imperil international community investments in Haiti while leaving the country vulnerable to the next natural, economic or political disaster.
If we believe in spreading democracy throughout the world, it is difficult to understand the code of silence by the United States and other nations that support the disenfranchisement of the Haitian people by eliminating the majority party in the election.
11) IMF agreement slows building of more schools
Daraine Luton, Jamaica Gleaner, September 4, 2010
http://www.jamaica – gleaner.com/gleaner/20100904/lead/lead3.html
Head of the National Education Trust (NET), Paul Matalon, says there have been several expressions of interest from the private sector to partner with Government to build schools.
The NET is charged with the responsibility of building education infrastructure throughout the country, but Matalon told a Gleaner Editors’ Forum Thursday that the country’s agreement with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) presents a binding constraint.
"It is a restrictive criterion that is there that is right across Government now that includes the (education) ministry now and the NET operation," Matalon said during the forum held at the newspaper’s North Street, central Kingston, offices.
Jamaica entered into an agreement with the IMF this year to borrow up to US$1.2 billion. A condition of the agreement is that the country’s debt cannot be increased.
Education Minister Andrew Holness has said that owing to Government’s inability to fund the construction of schools, it would need to partner with private entities in joint ventures.
[…] [Matalon] told the forum that one aspect of the model being considered is the use of an education bond, but that that, too, had to be pursued in terms of the debt criteria of the IMF.
"It (IMF) is now being approached on a matter to try and exempt education from that requirement because in effect, you are going to pay back this money over a 30 – 35 – year period, so even though you are taking on the debt up front, it is really an amortisation payment that is going to come back out of this programme. So that is being examined now, and before the end of the year, we are hoping to have that way forward," Matalon explained.
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