PM speaks of success of negotiations on the Superbond

Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Hon. Dean Barrow spoke at a press conference on Wednesday concerning the success of the negotiations on the more than $500 million Superbond concluded in February. As of Friday, some 86% of bondholders had voluntarily subscribed to the new package and the others were drawn in via the Collective Action Clause contained in the original package. The Prime Minister gave a summary of the benefits of the new Superbond package:

Dean Barrow – Prime Minister:  
vlcsnap-2013-03-14-20h33m38s151The highlights really are the gross debt relief attained in 2012, 2013 and the coming 5 and 10 year periods. You will see in 2012 it’s 22 million, 2013 – 66, 2013 to 2017 – 236, 2013 to 2022 – 494. That’s broken down some more on page 9, when you look at the comparative coupon payments.  That’s where we set out what the figures would have been, what the metrics were, under the Superbond, and show you by way of the graph with the red lines, what the payments will now be under the restructured Superbond, or Superbond 2.  Of course the differences that are there are extremely significant.

It is a point of pride for the Prime Minister that Belize did not have to knuckle under to international financial interests, particularly the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the U.S. Treasury which had opposed assistance:

Dean Barrow – Prime Minister:
We set great store by the fact that we resisted the pressure for us to go into an IMF arrangement.  We got round the fact that the IDB did not come up with a partial guarantee, precisely because we refused to go into an IMF arrangement. We resisted as well the pressure from the US treasury.  There really was a perfect storm in terms of these people double-banking and triple-banking us.

And now the focus shifts to creating sustained economic growth, as the Prime Minister sees only good things ahead:

Dean Barrow – Prime Minister:  
All sorts of things are happening.  We’re about to sign the contract for the Municipal Airstrip.  I’m told that the Fresh Catch rescue, the purchase by a foreign investor, is a done deal now.  The man has paid his down payment and signed the documents.  The Mayor of Belize City continues to move full speed ahead.  So my point is that there is demand, there is stimulation of the ecomomy, if only we could get those lending rates down some more.

The offering should be closed by next week Monday at the latest, but it did have some unforeseen costs. P.M. Barrow explains.

Dean Barrow – Prime Minister:  
I can’t tell you what the costs are, what the running total is.  It’s not completely over until Monday, and there are some mop-up costs.  There’s nothing to hide.  The cost is, in Belizean terms, astronomical, but when you look at the savings that we’ve realized, it’s a price we had to pay.  There’s no question of wanting to hide to hide it, to conceal it, at all.

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