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Jan 27, 2017

New Legislation Alleviates Issues, But Not Entirely, Says P.M.

Dean Barrow

The division of the House on the second reading was a rare unanimous vote in favour, with all twenty-nine representatives present voting ‘Aye.’ It was something for the Prime Minister to savour, but his troubles – and Belize’s – are not over yet. He admits there are no guarantees even after the bill is signed into law, but does, in his view, signal Belize’s strength and unity in the face of an existential threat to the nation’s finances. He also confirmed that there has been no communication with the companies or their emissaries. But as he told News Five, there’s nothing stopping them from trying – and still succeeding.

 

Reporter

“Is this now a bit of a chess game, because if they can’t enforce in the U.S., may they possibly seek to go elsewhere and then you would have to come back here down the road?”

 

Prime Minister Dean Barrow

“Well, this tries to immunize the Central Bank’s assets wherever they are and they are not all over the world; there are a couple of countries in which I believe the Central Bank has reserves. So to the extent that it would serve for the United States, it would also serve for the U.K., Canada if there are reserves in Canada. But I need to repeat that this would not stop people who are not within our jurisdiction from making an attempt. The law is effective in the context of what we know is currently in play; but for example, suppose you were talking about vulture funds; there is no way we can get at the operators/owners of those vulture funds, if there were to be some assignment of this award to a vulture fund, it’s difficult to be able to actually deploy the deterrent effect, because we can’t find them within the jurisdiction to charge them.”

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