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PM Briceno Says the Opposition Did Not Start the Blue Bonds Initiative

At the close of the government’s Offer and Consent Solicitation on Thursday, October 22, Belize saw 87.43 percent of its bondholders issuing tender orders. This means that the Government will be moving ahead in paying off the Superbond since it has secured the majority consent condition. There remains several steps and measures to be taken to meet all the conditions, but according to the Government they are expected to be fulfilled by November 5, 2021. Belize has been in discussions with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) as an intermediary with the Credit Suisse Group, a global investment bank based in Switzerland which will finance the pay outs of the Superbond. Once that is done, Belize would then become indebted to the Credit Suisse Group under the Blue Bonds Programme with TNC. During the House Debate on Tuesday, Prime Minister John Briceno expressed that this significant achievement was done by a PUP Government.

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “The UDP they don’t know of the intellectual fortitude to do what this government has just done. For thirteen years they’ve been dealing with the superbond how many times they’ve gone to just kick the can down the road, kick the can down the road, you had not the idea, the comprehension, the competence to get something like this done. It was the very same NGOs, it’s on video, when they were saying that for the past four or six years they’ve been trying to negotiate not five hundred million you know a hundred million and they couldn’t get it done. They couldn’t comprehend how to get it done and you want to talk that you all started out ? One of your very own strongest supporters, I would not mention the person’s name, put it on Facebook that nothing comes before its time that’s what the person said. That you had two opportunities to do it and you did zero, you could not get it done because you don’t have this [Motions to head], you all don’t have this [Motions to head]. You can’t understand, comprehend what it means to be able to sit down and to find a way how to negotiate something like this but I guess there was no hustle in it check ? So they don’t put any interest, they put no interest now here we are now because we did it with no help from you, started off from zero and started the negotiations. You have to learn a little bit about business. See you have been just an educator all your life.”

Patrick Faber, Opposition Leader: “I would implore the Prime Minister to be kind-  I already said I will not debate. I’m hoping that we could leave this for the debate when the bill comes up. “

Valerie Woods, House Speaker: “Member the Prime Minister is closing the motion. The debate on the bill I heard you earlier that will happen in full -”

Patrick Faber, Opposition Leader: “I hope that the Prime Minister could address my concerns about not providing the documents in a timely manner rather than get into the debate, we will have time for the debate of the bill.”

Valerie Woods, House Speaker: “Aye member for Collet Leader of Opposition the Prime Minister has really not even gotten into his closure. Perhaps indeed he will get to your point. Thank you.”

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “It was important for me to debunk this myth, this UDP lie that they started out working on this. It’s not you, it is the work of the People’s United Party government. And many other people not us alone but you had nothing to do with it and now as to the papers Madam Speaker may I need to remind you every house meeting when we were sitting on the other side your government we were sitting down there and we were getting the papers. Now we have been sending the papers as best as we possible can ahead of time. Now I’ve checked with the Ministry of Finance and they assured me that those papers were sent to the National Assembly on Friday. Let me finish man.”

Valerie Woods, House Speaker: “Member I can take care of that. Please continue.”

Hon. John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “Paciencia, jeeze.”

Once the entire process is completed and the Blue Bonds program is in effect, there are several commitments that the Government of Belize will have to undertake. Among them is the completion of a Marine Spatial Plan which entails the designation of thirty percent of the country’s ocean in biodiversity protection zones. Of that thirty percent, half of it would be categorized as high protection while the other half, medium protection. The designation would then have to be gazette and submitted to the relevant international authority such as the World Database on Marine Protected Areas, International Maritime Organisation, International Hydrographic Organisation, among others.