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Jun 6, 2013

Leader of the Opposition believes a National Bank is dangerous

Francis Fonseca

At a press conference in late April, Prime Minister Dean Barrow announced the creation of the National Bank of Belize Limited. A Board of Directors, a Managing Director, location and startup money of twenty million dollars that would come from Petrocaribe funds were identified. It’s mission… principally to make residential mortgage and other consumer loans available to lower and middle-income Belizeans; and in particular, public officers and teachers at cheaper rates than that which is being offered by commercial banks. It was big news, but given other parallel institutions already in place such as the DFC and credit unions, is the national bank a political objective? Leader of the Opposition Francis Fonseca spoke about the bank which he believes is dangerous.


Francis Fonseca, Leader of the Opposition

“At this point, I am against both the process and the idea. But I am willing to listen, to hear more and understand exactly what the objectives of this proposed bank are. At present, the fact is that the government has not shared anything with the fourteen members of the opposition. I don’t know if cabinet has discussed it, but I do know that the bank has been incorporated; the national Bank has been incorporated and registered. And I think what is frightening, it really in my view—looking at the article of association and the memorandum of association—which I had to get on my own; that the objective seems to be political in my view. There is no objective there that I see that is intended to spur economic growth; to increase productivity. It seems to be a political objective that is guiding this idea of a National Bank. And I think that is very dangerous. It runs the risk of undermining the existing financial system. It runs the risk of undermining our long, well-established credit union movement. If you are just asking people to move their mortgages from one institution to the next because for political reasons, you are going to provide people with a lower interest rate. It is very, very dangerous and in my view, William and Amanda, it is not sustainable. At this point, it is not sustainable. And the comment I hear the most often from the Belizean people when this subject is discussed, listened is the government can’t get public administration right. The things that they are supposed to be doing, they are not doing properly. The public administration, the hospital, the running of our health care system is just one example. They can’t get those things right and now they are going into the private sector and interfering in what has traditionally been the work of the private sector.”


The chair of the bank has been identified as Minister Joy Grant.

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4 Responses for “Leader of the Opposition believes a National Bank is dangerous”

  1. Buju says:

    So in other words leave the interest rates as is?????

    The problem a lot of poor people are facing today is they cant get financing to do basic things!

    In my view this is the best idea that has come out of this administration! I am waiting for it to come online so i could access funds to build my house!

  2. venus says:

    Loans from this bank could be hitch to a political football in which the receptions feel an obligation of owing a vote to the politicians who gave them the opportunity of getting a loan. Please note political assisted loans are the highest non performing loans in Belize.

  3. Louisville, Ky. says:

    Francis, you can’t be opposing just for the sake of opposing my Boy. How could lower interest rates possibly, be a bad thing? Besides, you and I both know, competition is a consumer’s best friend.
    Come to think of it, a national bank is long over due. So, run the money and free up the economy where it is most needed, at the base of the pyramid.

  4. Think-About-It says:

    Buju and Louisville, you are prime examples of how Belizeans don’t learn…….Governments should regulate and leave business to the private sector! Does anyone recall how our BTL rates were supposed to be at rock bottom, we were to have VOIP, and all other sorts of promises….did you SEE the news story about how we stack up in the Caribbean? And lets not even get started on BEL. What makes you think GOB will do any better with a bank. Its going to be about politics and incompetence as usual, and taxpayers will be stuck with the bill for nonperforming loans made for political reasons. And if you happen to think that this UDP government is beyond reproach (HA HA HA!), then what about future governments? Its just a bad idea period. Better to seek market solutions and proper regulation, as difficult as that may be.

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