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Prime Minister John Briceño addresses ‘critical first step’ of ‘retiring Superbond’
September 7, 2021
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September 7, 2021

Conservation projects the order of the day under potential post-Superbond regime

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Posted: Tuesday, September 7, 2021. 2:38 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: In his formal address on the pending launch of the offer to retire all Superbond debt, Prime Minister John Briceño spoke of the jobs to be created with new marine conservation projects funded by the monies from the Nature Conservancy and the partnerships to be had between the NGO sector and the Government.

“The Government proposes to raise the money for the discounted repurchase through an affiliate of The Nature Conservancy (TNC); in connection with that loan, Government will accelerate its marine conservation policies in a manner that will dramatically enhance the preservation of Belize’s precious seas, coral reefs and fish stocks,” he stated.

Subject to agreement among the bondholders and financiers, “This arrangement will direct, on average, eight million Belize dollars annually to marine conservation projects and upgrading the protection and management of our marine patrimony bringing jobs and long-term sustainability through policy revision and new financing flows.”

Briceño spoke of a Marine Conservation Endowment projected to grow in terms of earnings to $184 million over 20 years from $47 million this year, spreading wealth among the marine stakeholders.

“Government’s major ecomarine conservation undertakings will include the expansion of biodiversity zones and the design and implementation of a marine spatial plan. It will also include revisions to the integrated coastal zone management framework, additional safeguards to the Belize Barrier Reef Reserve System, and refinements to the management of blue carbon and critical watersheds. The aquaculture sector as well, as changes to the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) process will also be included,” Briceño enumerated.

Unsaid was an apparent abandonment of any ideas of drilling for petroleum under the sea or in the Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ), and a wholesale embrace of an eco-friendly and “green” view of the world.

As Briceño noted, further steps need to be taken with regard to bilateral debt between countries like Venezuela and Taiwan.

And he reiterated that after last year’s reluctant deferral of interest payments, by approaching TNC and Credit Suisse AG Belize has stretched the limits of the potential financing as far as it can go, and down to its last throw of the dice.

We will seek further comment on these developments and have them for you.

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