City Bond without Legacy
The municipal bond by the Belize City Council was launch on July twenty-third and it was tabled in the House of Representatives one month later in late August. The twenty million dollar bond, according to CitCo, is being floated by inviting the business community to invest in City Hall for much needed infrastructural improvement in the City. The prospectus was to have been issued by the end of July, but two months after and it still has not been published. As financial advisor to the Council, the Legacy Fund’s director of Projects and Research Linsford Coleman joined mayor Bradley in a press conference where he said that the council would introduce a garbage collection fee, reassess properties and their taxes; essentially a revision of finances that would allow the council to meet interest payments as well as payment allocation for its sinking fund provisions. But it seems that the only thing that will remain of Legacy’s relationship with City Hall is a solemn goodbye. Legacy recently sent out a press release in which it announced that as of August twenty-seventh, it was no longer a service provider for the Belize City Council with respect to the twenty-million dollar infrastructural bond project. It further said that Legacy Fund has been disengaged from the project, due to an impasse with the Council over terms and conditions on moving forward with the municipal bond offering. Mayor Darrell Bradley says that this discontinued relationship with Legacy Fund does not derail or threaten the bond; but it has simply delayed the process by a week.
Darrell Bradley, Belize City Mayor
“I don’t think that anything went wrong. From the very beginning, we’ve been using several financial advisors to advise us as it relates to the launch of the bond. We’ve been assisted tremendously by Legacy and they did a full forensic analysis of our financial operations. They delivered on a lot of the works that they were supposed to give us in terms of putting us on the right footing; meeting with potential investors. We also have benefited from the insight and direction of the Central Bank of Belize. We’ve also been advised by our internal persons; we also have our auditors who are also assisting us. So we have a team of financial advisors who have complemented the internal persons from the City Council who really are in charge of the release of this bond and our perspective. So it is not a problem for us to say that well at one point, we feel certain works to be delivered by certain service supplier has been completed and we don’t want to proceed with you going forward. There is nothing wrong with that and that does not derail or threaten the launch of our bond nor does it derail and threaten the confidence that our potential investors have expressed in the bond program. I don’t think that anything is wrong with the process. All persons who are dealing with this are supreme professionals. Legacy is a firm that is made up of professional persons; I am confident of that. The City Council is made up of individuals who are professional and we act in a professional manner. If you reach a certain point where you disengage from a person who is providing advice to you; that does not jeopardize the integrity of the program. And that is what we are saying. We are saying that both Legacy and the City Council continue to be committed to the program. We are supremely confident that we will be able to launch our bond in the very, very near future. Up until this week here, I’ve had meeting with very large potential investors and they are very interested in purchasing he bond and in moving forward. So we don’t think that this will be a stumbling block. I mean of course, it would be remiss of me to say that it isn’t something that I would have wanted to avoid, but I mean I don’t think that it would be any impediment for us to launch the bond.”
Mayor Bradley says that the council is in the process of finalizing the prospectus which would take some time given the fact that it is a first bond that any municipality in the country and the Caribbean has undertaken. When the council receives the monies from the bond, it would go into those potholes and poorly constructed drains and streets of the City.