$300 Million in Savings from Superbond Print E-mail
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Monday, 31 December 2012 00:00

AmbassadorIt’s perhaps the best Christmas Gift that the country could have gotten when Prime Minister, Hon. Dean Barrow made the announcement on Friday, December 21st that there was a breakthrough in the negotiations of the Superbond. PM Barrow called a press conference at the Best Western Belize Biltmore Plaza where he made the announcement.

The Prime Minister stated “Belize has reached agreement in principle with its bond holders over the re-structuring of the super bond. This agreement is comprehensive, it is sustainable and it will provide well in excess of 150 million dollars in relief to Belize.” The relief is in excess of 300 million Belize dollars. Under the old arrangement, the Government and people would have paid a total of U.S. $794,295,350, of that the principal payments represent U.S. $546,800,000 and interest alone would have been U.S. $247,495,350. Simple mathematics applied on the figures would suggest that the relief is in the region of almost 19% of the total. 

According to the Prime Minister, the negotiating team and the bond holders will now be working at a schedule of payment. These terms are expected to be drafted by the middle of January. Lead Negotiator, Ambassador Mark Espat explained that by February and no later than the end of the first quarter of 2013, the entire term sheet would have been completed. 

The negotiations to restructure the Superbond had been announced by the Prime Minister even before the General Elections in March and as soon as the elections were over, the negotiating team was set up. Actual negotiations started after the August 20th payment was not made in 2012. Since then, there has been a back and forth between the Government of Belize and the bondholders. The break in the spirit of negotiations came when the Speaker of the House, Hon. Michael Peyrefitte got involved. Hon. Peyrefitte had met AJ Mediratta, who represents the majority of the bondholders, at the New York Park Fest and at Hon. Peyrefitte’s behest, the negotiations went from the negotiating team to a face to face with Mediratta and the Prime Minister. According to the PM, those negotiations saw personal contacts between the two and hours of dialogue over the phone. At every stage of those talks, however, the negotiating team was always involved.   

The announcement made by the Prime Minister proves of a combined effort to relieve Belize of the single worst economic chokehold that it found itself in after the PUP was voted out in 2008. Now, the country has a bit more breathing room yet still, the Financial Secretary, Joseph Waight, explained that the renegotiation of the Superbond simply closes the financing gap existing and in no way represents the introduction of any new finances. Still, it is relief that is most welcomed.