In one week Belize will have to cough up seven million US dollars to the bondholders; that is if some agreement is not reached by then. The problem is that the clock is ticking and Belize just does not have the money. Prime Minister Briceno spoke on this issue earlier today.
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “We still continue to be in conversations with the bond holders. Their response did not surprise us, we expected them to say that. Everybody puts their position on the table and now the real negotiations will start. We have made it abundantly clear to them that Belize is not in the financial position to be able to pay next week Thursday and so that’s why it is important for us to sit down and do another renegotiation with a view to be able to do a haircut so that we could get the debt into a position where we believe that the country would then be able to pay off.”
Reporter: But lets say for example time runs out, does the country have the $7 million US needed to make that payment ?
John Briceno, Prime Minister of Belize: “No we don’t have the $7 million at this time and they know that and that is why we have these negotiations.”
The coupon payment is due on May 20, 2021. Bondholder, Carl Ross told Love News in an exclusive interview last week that they would prefer to see Belize subscribe to the IMF Economic Recovery Program before any negotiations are undertaken for a fifth restructuring.
Carl Ross, Bondholder: I can’t really speak for all bondholders on that point. You know I think we would welcome more dialogue with the government. I think we’d like to understand because we cannot understand. We’ve just seen too many other countries have good success with IMF programs and we do not understand why Belize can’t be one of those countries. And right now we see that as really the best way for us to recoup some of our losses on our investments in Belize and we also see it the best way forward for Belize. So I think you know the way forward is for us to try to continue that dialogue and try to understand each other’s positions a little bit better and you know I think I speak on behalf of bondholders that we’re here, we’re ready to continue that dialogue.