We reported yesterday that the Government of Belize through the Central Bank has announced that all bondholders of the 2029 package of US dollar bonds negotiated for debt relief, whether voluntarily or otherwise, have now subscribed to the re-negotiated bond which lasts through 2038.
At a press conference held today, Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Dean Barrow pointed out just how close Belize had come to financial ruin without the successful negotiations. Belize was staring at upwards of $150 million in interest and other payments that the Prime Minister said could have sent Belize “over a fiscal cliff”. Additionally, Belize was able to avoid having to make a deal with the International Monetary Fund and pressure from international financial institutions including the U.S. Treasury. On what this means locally, the Prime Minister was proud of the Government’s efforts to avoid raising taxes and cutting Government spending as presented in the budget and said that his administration would now set its hands to creating sustained economic growth and a climate for continued infrastructure projects. The Prime Minister also reported on the continued negotiations with the “Ashcroft Alliance” of the British Caribbean Bank and BTL Employees’ Trust and with Fortis Energy, former owners of Belize Electricity Limited (BEL). According to P.M. Barrow the latter have been more open but he said he does not believe that the BTL matter will be resolved without the intervention of the courts.