On Wednesday of last week, St. Catherine Academy in Belize City, in conjunction with the Heritage Bank and Legacy Fund, began to float what it calls “Mercy Bonds”, named for the Catholic order Sisters of Mercy, which manages the school.
The all-female educational institution intends to raise some $2.85 million to build a multi-purpose complex on its campus at Eyre and Hutson Streets.
Principal Salome Tillett explains that the school sees many benefits in the future multi-purpose student center, not just for the school but for the community it serves
“In 2004 Sister Carolee, who was then the designated leader of the Sisters of Mercy, wrote me back and said ‘You have our official permission to begin this building and we wish you blessings of wisdom and perseverance’ and I said ‘Perseverance? Why this building will be up in three years. We can do this thing’.
So this is now 10 years later and I understand why she said perseverance, because we have had to persevere to make this a reality. It has been such a struggle to fund raised every year and maybe you make sixty thousand dollars, but you can’t build a building with sixty thousand dollars.
So we are thinking that this will help us to get our building. We fund raised and it creates a win win situation, and it is not exclusive of what the Ministry wants to accomplish in secondary schools. It is inclusive of that.”
As for how the bond works, managing director of Legacy Fund Ervin Perez, who coincidentally also has a daughter attending the school, says it is divided into three series maturing between 10 and 25 years. It has a step-up coupon rate starting at 4% but rising to 6% at the end of 20 years. He tells us why it is a good investment and why people should buy in.
Ervin Perez – Managing Director of Legacy Fund
“As Sister Mercy has said, and Mr Lomi has said, everybody can invest in this instrument. The marginal denomination is only a thousand dollars. If you are planning something for retirement, I would suggest you hold one instrument, at least one certificate, and put it to your portfolio.”
All subscriptions are due by October 31, 2014. The school has already received expressions of interest from parents, donors and past students and associates.
The complex will contain an official high-school sized basketball court, student cafeteria, locker rooms, showers, public restrooms and a stage for performances and ceremonies, all on the ground floor. A fitness center, toilet facilities, and dormitory will occupy the upper floor.
The school was founded in 1883 and is one of two all-female secondary educational institutions in Belize City. Its current enrollment is 592.