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‘Blue Bonds’ approved – who gets the credit?

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Posted: Thursday, October 28, 2021. 3:40 pm CST.

By Aaron Humes: The Senate was awash in sporting and other metaphors today as both sides tried to claim credit for the introduced ‘Blue Bonds’ arrangement.

Opposition Senator Michael Peyrefitte tried to lay a foundation for his party to claim the credit by instituting various environmental reforms and initiating the discussions in 2020 that led to the final arrangements in September, accusing the Government of ‘waking up standing on third base and thinking you hit a triple.’

But he was shut down by Leader of Government Business Eamon Courtenay and Minister of State for Finance Christopher Coye, who argued that given their chance, especially in 2014, the Opposition tried to kick the can down the road – and paid $730 million in interest doing so.

Coye revealed that negotiations started with the Nature Conservancy (TNC) in 2010 in what was then termed a ‘Reefs for Life’ program. The Seychelles off East Africa benefited in 2014 from Belize walking away, and Coye said negotiators of the 2020 deal said it had fallen through in September and was restarted under this administration. Negotiations were completed, Coye said, to close the ‘Blue Bond’ deal in just ten months, saving a half-billion dollars and being superbly rated AA-2 by Moody’s firm. And he thanked the TNC for never giving up despite years of time wasted.

But Coye said that while this was a ‘home run,’ not a triple, it was still early innings. Belize still owes more than $3 billion to multiple sources, from Venezuela to the multilateral banks.

Belize will meet all obligations to the Superbond by next Friday, November 5.

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