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  • Speaker Of The House Signs MOU With FOPREL And SICA

    Friday, 07 September 2018 02:44
  • New International Flight Headed To Belize

    Friday, 07 September 2018 02:46
  • 224 Farmers Graduate From Farmers Field School

    Friday, 07 September 2018 03:09

As we indicated at the top of the newscast, Prime Minister Barrow returned from a series of meetings in New York. He was accompanied by economic advisor Mark Espat and the Financial Secretary Joseph Waight. The Government senior-level team is trying to find the most convincing way of getting Belize’s bondholders to meet and negotiate an adjustment in the terms of the Superbond. In 2013, the Government had already re-negotiated with bondholders, pushing the final payment of the Superbond seven years later to 2038. We’re not certain what terms are being proposed now by the Barrow Administration, but like in 2013, they are already advising that Belize could have difficulty meeting its debt obligations under the current terms. The Prime Minister was met by the media at the airport and he spoke on what were their expectations at this early stage of another round of possible Superbond negotiations.

 

Screen_Shot_2016-11-14_at_8.23.07_PMRt. Honourable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize


“As you already found out, I went together with Ambassador Espat and the Financial Secretary, we went to finalize matter with our legal and financial advisors prior to officially notifying bond holders and the public that we are going to be seeking to restructure, we have agreed our strategy and now it is a matter of actually engaging the bond holders in the face to face negotiations which Ambassador Espat will lead together with Citi Group which is the sort of financial intermediary that advises us. Clearly we’re going through some difficult times the bottom line is though that the number of the assumptions that were made in common between ourselves and the bond holders when we last restructured have not proven to be valid or durable and so going forward we are convinced that we need a redo and this time the level of relief that we are looking for must be such that it will be absolutely sustainable even in the face of the vicissitudes that can overtake any economist so we are looking or a degree of relief that will mean that we do not have to worry in the short term, in the medium term, even in the long term no matter what circumstances might overtake the country.”


Mark Espat, Ambassador/Economic Advisor


“I think there are only three possibilities in that regard, there is the coupon rate, the interest rate being paid, there is the time when the Principal repayment is supposed to start which at this present time is August of 2019 and there is the Ultimate maturity which is scheduled at this time 2035 so those are the elements that will be in play.”

 

Reporter


“What are those numbers you are looking to intent or to propose to those Bond-holders?”


Screen_Shot_2016-11-14_at_8.24.05_PMMark Espat, Ambassador/Economic Advisor


“No, I think that would be premature at this point, the government of Belize in the terms and conditions of the Bonds have an obligation to consult with Bond-holders and to confer with Creditor Committee when the Committee is form, we fully expect that that committee will be formed in the coming days and Belize will engage in those discussions in good faith with the ultimate objective as Prime Minister Barrow mentioned a moment ago to ensure long term sustainability.”

The Government’s Superbond announcement is an indication that the economy is in distress. The PM was asked whether bondholders would have second-thoughts about negotiating repayments considering that it was just three years ago that they did this. Here’s his response.

Rt. Honourable Dean Barrow - Prime Minister of Belize

“I don’t know how the question of confidence going forward can arise, we are both in this and stuck with the arrangement which sees Belize as the debtor versus these creditors who are the holders of the Bonds, we are not looking to shaft the creditors, we are not looking to screw the Bond-holders we are looking to ensure that our country finally obtains the relief that is for us a sort of senior co-anon, the relief that for us is absolutely critical, we believe that there is a way to do this without utterly as it were seeing off the Bond-holders clearly adjustments will have to be made but these are big people, these are experienced players in the market they can understand as well as we do that circumstances change and circumstance have changed apart from everything else there has been the hurricane so we might be perhaps for one point of view a little too optimistic but we genuinely are convinced that we can do this that we can work this thing out and reach a place that is going to be ultimately satisfactorily to Belize without fundamentally prejudicing the bondholders.”

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