Fiscal sustainability remains a paramount challenge for small economies with high debt and greater vulnerability to climate change. This paper applies the model-based sustainability test for fiscal policy in a panel of 16 Caribbean countries during the period 1980–2018. The results indicate that the coefficient on lagged government debt is positive and statistically significant, implying that fiscal policy in the Caribbean takes corrective actions to counteract an increase in the debt-to-GDP ratio. Nonlinear estimations, however, show that the quadratic debt parameter is negative, which indicates that fiscal policy response is not adequate to ensure sustainability at higher levels of debt. We also find that the fiscal stance tends to be countercyclical on average during the sample period. These empirical results confirm that maintaining prudent fiscal policies and implementing growth-enhancing structural reforms are necessary to build fiscal buffers and ensure debt sustainability with high probability even when negative shocks occur over the long term.
The Executive Board of the IMF has approved a disbursement of an amount equivalent to SDR 2.075 million under the Rapid Credit Facility for St. Vincent and the Grenadines to help the country manage the economic impact of Hurricane Tomas. The Board’s approval enables the immediate disbursement of the full amount. The late-October 2010 hurricane inflicted significant damage to agriculture, housing, and infrastructure. The initial assessment conducted by the government estimated the cost of damage at 5 percent of gross domestic product.