Above: Parliament in Belmopan
By the Caribbean Journal staff
Belize will officially sign an agreement on the restructuring of its large commercial debt in the early part of this month, Prime Minister Dean Barrow said in his first national address for 2013.
The agreement will “resolve once and for all the crippling commercial debt burden that has threatened to turn Belize into an economic basket case,” he said.
“The settlement we have reached with Superbond holders is on terms very favourable to us,” he said. “The relief we have been able to secure amounts to hundreds of millions of dollars.”
That savings has been estimated at around $150 million on a bond that totaled almost $550 million.
The debt had been a major issue in Belize’s March 2012 election campaign after Barrow suggested the country would not make payments on the debt.
Belize defaulted on a coupon payment on the bond last August, when Barrow said the country was unable to make the payment.
Despite the debt issues, Belize’s economy improved in 2012, growing by 4.2 percent in 2012, according to the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean.
That was the highest growth rate in the Caribbean.