UWP Leader Dr. Thomson Fontaine describes latest IMF report as “distressing”

Dr. Thomson Fontaine

Leader of the United Workers Party (UWP) Dr. Thomson Fontaine has described the recent report from then International Monetary Fund (IMF) as “distressing”.

Dr. Fontaine made the comment on Q-95 Radio recently.

An IMF staff team, led by Mr. Christopher Faircloth, visited Roseau and held discussions on the 2024 Article IV consultation with Dominica’s authorities during March 5–14. At the end of the consultation, the mission issued a number of statements. These include; the fiscal position has gradually improved but fiscal space remains tight with elevated public debt, the economy has fully recovered to pre-pandemic levels and economic imbalances have gradually narrowed, the outlook remains positive, predicated on the full recovery of stayover arrivals, implementation of key investment plans, and prudent fiscal management, a modern supervisory framework is necessary to underpin financial stability, more ambitious fiscal consolidation is needed to achieve objectives under the fiscal rule and adequately self-insure against disaster risks, thus setting the stage for resilient growth among others.

“We had a very distressing report from the International Monetary Fund , because we are supposed to have been making literally billions of dollars over the past several years in our CBI program,” Dr. Fontaine said.

According to Dr. Fontaine, he has never gotten a call from Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit to inquire about how Dominica can invest this money in a way that it can grow and make more for the people.

“I was called by St Kitts [government] . I was not called by my government to help with that,” he revealed. “Instead, they put the money in the hands of foreigners and now we are seeing skyscrapers going up, as we say in Dominica, making ding-dang in Dubai and you wonder about whether or not the CBI monies of Dominica has financed these houses in Dubai.”

He stated that some of the individuals, before they were passport peddlers for Dominica, were nothing.

“Now they are building skyscrapers by the twos, threes and fours,” he argued.

Furthermore, Dr. Fontaine argued that Dominica has not been able to use the resources of the CBI Program to build Dominica.

“So, we have a situation where our economy is stagnated,” he remarked. “When I look at the report, the report talks about what is going to come from stayover visitors.”

He said it is interesting that the IMF is pinning its growth on stayover visitors, “because obviously they were told that lie by the government that our stayover is going to increase to 500,000.”

“If you move from 80,000 to 500,000 is a significant growth,” he noted. “It says that growth will be underpinned by the stayover visitors. Tourism is going to get a major boost this year.”

Dr. Fontaine said that is what the government is telling them.

“But what is the reality on the ground? Are we seeing any signs that tourism is going to be on the increase?” he asked.

He added, “There is nothing about agriculture.”

Dr. Fontaine believes this is a situation that is going to impact all of Dominica.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Roosevelt Skerrit who was speaking at a press briefing recently  said the IMF has positive growth for Dominica’s economy.

 This he said is based on, “the returns of stayover tourism figures to the pre-pandemic levels, several expansion initiatives in agriculture and our significant progress with priority infrastructure projects.”

According to him, the IMF forecasts that inflation is projected to decline to  2 percent in 2024-2025, “supported by our eminent transition to geothermal production, the ongoing international airport project, hotel projects which would expand our tourism capacity.”

The Prime Minister highlighted a most hopeful section of the IMF report which said that inflation fell from its 2022 peak of 9.7 percent to 2.3 percent at the end of 2023.

“I am aware that many of you continue to raise the concerns about the price of goods and the impact of imported inflation due to various events on our price structure,” Skerrit noted. “I think we can take comfort from these numbers as you look ahead to 2025, numbers dropping from 9.7 percent to 2.3 percent at the end of 2023.”

The report stated that GDP grew by 5.6 percent in 2022 and 4.7 percent in 2023, returning to pre-pandemic output levels. The recovery has been underpinned by an ambitious public sector investment program (PSIP), strong agricultural activity, and a rebound in tourism despite airlift challenges. Inflation fell from its 2022 peak of 9.7 percent to 2.3 percent (y/y) at end 2023, largely due to softening global commodity prices. Favorable terms of trade and strong service exports further reduced the current account deficit to 26.2 percent.

Read the IMF full report on the link attached below:

Dominica: Staff Concluding Statement of the 2024 Article IV Mission (imf.org)

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  1. March 27, 2024

    How can it be distressing when you were an employee of the IMF? Is it because you were fired from the IMF WHY YOU FEEL IT IS DISTRESSING? Your economic conference in June will bear no fruits. It is just another show off for nothing. Your work in Sudan has borne no fruits either. Man, take a hike.

  2. Labour power
    March 27, 2024

    That is why the IMF did not renew his contract.The IMF has 2,400 employees from 140 countries,responsible for 190 countries.This man economics is voodoo economics.The South Sudanese ,Lennox Linton and the UWP acolytes should have told the IMF the
    sxxx he has posted on DNO,that Dominica passport handlers are building Skyscrapers all over Dubai.The South Sudanese is not sure about anything,it is that level of foolishness his contract was not renewed.DNO according him,him who?Mr DNO there was a report from the IMF dated 14 March 2024,instead of posting he say,she say,they say,according to him,you(DNO) should have read the IMF report and quote the IMF.IT is not according to him,it is according to IMF.That is why there is a conspiracy to hide the truth from the people using awaiting moderation and disclaimer.

    Hot debate. What do you think? Thumb up 4 Thumb down 5

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