Friday, September 15, 2006

Singapore Softens Stance on IMF Activists

It's been an ugly week. Singapore deported activists. IMF accuses Singapore of breaking agreement. IMF says Singapore's reputation is adversely affected. IMF is doing all the blaming while Singapore up its authoritarian stance. Why did IMF still agree to let Singapore host the meetings when the country already has such a history?

Another reason why IMF / WB is bad for us. They blame everyone else but themselves.


Singapore has announced it will allow the entry of 22 out of 27 activists who had been banned from the country ahead of the IMF meeting next week.

The move follows criticism from World Bank President Paul Wolfowitz, who described Singapore's restrictions on activists as "authoritarian".

He said the decision to ban accredited activists ahead of the 19 September meeting violated a previous agreement.

The issue had led to growing tension between the two sides.

Both the World Bank and the IMF had argued the presence of pressure groups was key to improving the work of financial institutions.

But Singapore said the ban was because the 27 activists had taken part in disruptive protests in other nations and posed a threat to law and order.

Officials said that the decision to allow in the 22 activists had been made after input from the World Bank and the IMF.

But five members of the group still faced restrictions. If they tried to enter Singapore, they "would be subject to interview and may not be allowed in", a statement from the organising committee said.


Earlier in the day, Mr Wolfowitz said Singapore's stance on the issue had harmed its image.

"Enormous damage has been done and a lot of that damage is done to Singapore and self-inflicted," he told a meeting in Singapore.

"I would argue whether it has to be as authoritarian as it has been," he said, adding that he had raised the issue with Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.

Singapore had banned public protests for the duration of the IMF and World Bank meetings amid concerns they could lead to violence and damage to property.

Technorati Tags: , , and .