BBC : Questions on Jubilee 2000samedi 20 février 1999
Source : BBC
From the BBC’s Question Time :
Thursday 18 February, Hull
On the panel were :
Jo Brand, comedienneTony Banks MP, Sports MinisterMartin Bell MP, IndependentAlan Duncan MP, Conservative health spokesmanSusan Greenfield, Oxford professor and director of the Royal Institution
The Jubilee 2000 campaign for third world debt cancellation
Audience question : Most of the debt of the third world countrieswill never be paid. Is Bono of U2 not right to appeal for itscancellation ?
Martin Bell said : " ’Yes’ and ’no’. Let’s be a little careful here ...You don’t forgive the debt to throw the money into a bottomlesssink ... One of the things it has to be conditional on is a progresstowards democracy."
Alan Duncan said : "It would free up a lot of people to do thesame thing all over again."
Jo Brand said "It’s a big chance to do something very big andthat we should take it."
Tony Banks said : "Just cancelling the debt is not going to helpthese countries out of poverty and so therefore we do need tospend far more, in my opinion, of our own wealth in helpingthese countries develop themselves."
Susan Greenfield said : "I’d like to see it as a package of help."
You said :
Alan Duncan asked who would pay for the writing off of thirdworld debt. Surely the vast majority of that debt is in fact writtenoff on banks’ balance sheets. Why else did the banks go throughso many years of negative profit figures in the late eighties ifthey weren’t writing off those very debts ? They are now simplyacting as trustees in ankruptcy, collecting interest on debts whichhave effectively disappeared in the west. We need to go furtherthan cancelling these ludicrous interest payments - we need tofund these countries out of our own wealth, for we are wealthyundoubtedly. All that said, we do need to have a system betterthan the IMF to control what governments then spend on theirnew found wealth. Martin Bell’s example of Nigeria was agood one - they could in theory be as rich as Croesus as anation, but we all have to take responsibility to oversee thewealth of less well managed nations.
Jock CoatsThe Jubilee 2000 idea is right and fair. Once the debts havebeen levelled, we could help the countries in debt not get intotheir present difficulties again.