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Tonight the jitters over the nation’s economic state is much, much intense because of two main reasons. Firstly, today, February 20th, marked the date when a $26m Superbond payment was due but it was not paid by the Government – signalling the closest we have been to a debt default since 2012. Second, Prime Minister Dean Barrow returned to Belize empty handed on Sunday after travelling to New York last week to join the Superbond renegotiation efforts. There is still no deal with the bondholders.


The implications of both issues are far-reaching but still unknown because while they are both factual, there are certain circumstances – very slim silver linings - that can assist Belize in not falling off the precipice from where it stands currently. Prime Minister Barrow was met by the media following his arrival on Sunday and he tried discussed further.

 

Screen_Shot_2017-02-20_at_8.10.14_PMRt. Honourable Dean Barrow Prime Minister of Belize


“In the meantime, we won’t make the payment on Monday, we couldn’t make it on Monday in any event because Monday is a Holiday but we won’t make it on Tuesday, we won’t make it on Wednesday but nobody need say that we are in default at least not yet because there is this thirty day grace period, I hope and believe that long before the expiration of that grace period we can reach a final resolution with the bond holders.”

 

Reporter


“If we don’t, let’s say the worst case scenario they do not accept, we do not reach that 75% threshold will Belize be able to make that payment within the expiration time period?”


Rt. Honourable Dean Barrow Prime Minister of Belize


“Well, that is the question, look I don’t that I will answer that and I will tell you why, as I said although it was a very intense discussion, a very intense negotiating session on Thursday precisely because it never became rancorous, I don’t want to say anything to make it appear as though Belize is flinging down the gantlet, I did feel, I repeat that by the time we came to the end of that session great progress had been made, if I said to you now well listen no deal is better than a bad deal and if can’t agree absolutely Belize is not going to pay the coupon and we will default, I think that will poison the atmosphere so I will say merely that I repeat genuinely that I think there is room, there is a basis on which we can agree.”


Just what are those adjustments in position by the Government? Well, the Prime Minister was not open to discuss that aspect of the discussions in New York. We do know that the Government was hoping to keep the coupon payments at minimum up to the final years of the bond, but the debt holders were not convinced that the Government had provided them with sufficient assurances that they wouldn’t find themselves in this position in the next few years.

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