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Jan 18, 2017

Deputy Finance Minister Says Negotiations Continue on Superbond

Carla Barnett

The committee of creditors for the Belize 2038 Bonds or Superbond’s outright rejection of the Government’s first offer for a drawn-out period of interest payments at reduced percentage followed by three “bullet” principal payments has not surprised many. But apparently, the Government itself is not fazed, following the tough negotiations that took place in 2012 and early 2013. The creditors are asking for further information of the Government’s plans to reduce credit risk and avoid another re-negotiation down the road. Minister of State in the Ministry of Finance, Doctor Carla Barnett, offered the Government’s first reaction following the Senate Special Select Committee on Immigration this afternoon. She told News Five that it’s not time to panic – the Government recognizes the situation it is in and will not shy away from the hard task of convincing the bondholders to give Belize another chance.

 

Dr. Carla Barnett, Minister of State, Finance

“It is hardly ever the case that a first offer is accepted; clearly there is going to be ongoing conversation, and then we’ll see how we can reach some sort of resolution.”

 

Reporter

“It is ever a situation, or is there any concern that the bondholders will stick to getting the Government to keep these 2038 Bonds?”

 

Dr. Carla Barnett

“I wouldn’t say so; the conversation has already begun – that is why they ended up at the table, so there is a conversation that’s ongoing.  And you would understand this: if you’re negotiating a deal, the first offer is the first offer; you counteroffer and you say what else you need in terms of information; and then the discussion continues, so we are looking forward to the next step. Government serves the people of Belize, and then it has its obligations to the bondholders, so all that has to be brought into the balance. And what we’re trying to get to, is a situation of stability and a situation of growth. That’s also what the bondholders say they want – I think the conversation is around how do we get there? How do we get there? And they may have one view and we may have another view, so we have to sit down and discuss that.”

 

The Consent Solicitation remains open until January twenty-sixth. Doctor Barnett declined to discuss any contingency plans in relation to the interest payment due in February on the basis that negotiations are still ongoing; the Government aims to package that payment with the remainder of the 2038 Bond.

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