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Belize’s depressed economy has taken center stage in national discussions for quite some time now and even more so recently following GOB’s failed attempt at re-negotiation Super Bond 3.0. A few days ago the Government offered bond holders to bring the interest rate down to four percent from six point seven percent due in August, and for principal payments to be made in the years 2036, 2037, and 2038. However, that offer was flatly rejected by bondholders, but GOB decided to extend the response time for bond holders to 5:00pm on Friday, February 3rd.

But as it has been reported in previous days, bondholders have sought further statements from the Barrow administration on its plans to keep Belize from further risks with its financial stability.

Over the weekend we took the opportunity to ask Leader of the Opposition on his party’s position on the current state of the Super Bond, here is what he had to say.

Screen_Shot_2017-01-31_at_7.57.21_PMHonorable John Briceno – Leader of People’s United Party

“We are in this position because of the incompetence and the mismanagement of the UDP, when they did the renegotiation in 2012 they made four commitments to the Bond Holders; (1) That they were going to increase revenues by raising taxes,  (2) That they were going to cut on expenditure, especially the wage bill that they were going to retrench, (3) That they were going to stop borrowing, that they were going to reduce the borrowing to 67% of GDP, (4) That they were going to grow the economy, they failed in all four of them, they did not raise the taxes to level that the Bond Holders expected, they did not do retrench actually they hired more UDP cronies so the wage till is even more bloated, (3) they continue to borrow more right now they are at about 90% of GDP as oppose to 67% that they promised and (4) the economy is contracting, right now the economy contracted by 1.5% over last year, we are in a recession and there is nothing set that can show that we are going to get out of this recession anytime quickly so obviously they are not getting the monies that they needed to be able to service the debt and to service the government because the government continues to grow and that is why they are now saying that they are in trouble they just blow away 400 million dollars into elections so that they could win an election and this is what the Bond Holders are saying so we need to hold Dean Barrow and the UDP accountable for the incompetence and because of the incompetence all of us are going to suffer, if can get a better deal of course we will support it, if we can pay less interest, if they could shave off ex amounts of monies from the Principal of course we support it but we need to look at the document and see at what cost because they might say they will reduce it but we don’t know what is it what is it that we are going to pay in the future.”

Putting aside the matter of who is to blame, the fact remains that our country is in dire need of economic reform and for that to happen there is the need for urgent and genuine solutions.  Briceño highlighted what those solutions could possibly be.

Honorable John Briceno – Leader of People’s United Party

“Well the first thing we need to do is for the UDP to step down so that we can have a competent government the PUP, we have the people with the experience, with the ability with the ideas, with the vision to be able to turn things around, that is the first thing I believe we should do but Dean Barrow needs to be able to look at how he is spending the money, he needs to make sure that he is investing in the right places, in the economy so that we can grow the economy, we can create more opportunities to people and if we can explore more then we get more monies to be able to pay our debts and it seems that the Prime Minister doesn’t understand that, basic economic principle that we have and the Prime Minister seem he don’t know.”

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