Elrington: Belize Can Be Relieved about Superbond
Back to the issue of the super bond…It’s restructuring has been balked at by the Opposition who criticize it as nothing more than smoke and mirrors. Reproach aside, when we caught up with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Wilfred Elrington today, he told us that Belizeans should all be breathing a collective sigh of relief, because the Barrow-led negotiating team navigated perilous waters.
“The whole idea of a third iteration of the Super Bond has come under criticism by the Opposition. Can you share with us your personal view on what has happened in light of all of these changes?”
Wilfred Elrington, Minister of Foreign Affairs
“Isani, I think that every Belizean should be breathing a big sigh of relief that in fact we were able to do this unprecedented feat. I had my reservations at the time because I had been studying the situation in Greece and was very, very concerned because Greece has been going through a very, very difficult time because of their financial situation. Creditors are not necessarily kind to debtors who cannot come up with the payments as agreed and especially if you have done that once and you have done it twice and you have failed. So that I was not optimistic that we would succeed. The prime minister was always very optimistic and resolved, but I was not as optimistic as he was. But I can tell you that every single Belizean should be very, very happy that in fact he was able to achieve that feat because it means that we will not have to lay off anybody. We won’t have to retrench, we won’t have to freeze salaries. We will continue to be able to have a full workforce and Belizeans will be able to go through with their lives essentially in the same manner in which we have been going. Steps will have to be taken to reduce excesses, to tighten up our expenditures but I think there is space for that to be done and I think that the prime minister is also going to be very aggressive in terms of wealth generation. Let free the private sector and encourage more foreign direct investment so that we can generate wealth because that is our problem. Our two main problems is, one: the need to generate wealth. The second and perhaps the most important one to my mind is human capital development. We need to train all our people; every single Belizean needs to be in school or in some institution where they are trained so that they can become productive. I think we still have that space and so I am thankful for what the prime minister has achieved and I really commend him. I thought it was an outstanding feat and I think every Belizean should be very, very grateful that in fact we were able to do that.”