PM Says 2013 Public Work Programme Will Cause Major Employment Stimulus

And so while the New Year starts with the blight of higher light bills - don't tell that to the Prime Minister! His New Year's message - all 22 minutes of it, is nothing but good news.

One bit that did catch out attention was a major package of public funded works projects designed to create employment.

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"Government will initiate a 60 million dollar, domestically financed package of public works. This venture, to be planned, executed and managed using a specially chartered investment vehicle, will include the rebuilding of the Belize City Center and construction of showcase sporting/social use facilities in each district. I expect no less than 1000 new jobs to spring from this stimulus package. And there will be myriad opportunities for contractors, sub-contractors and workers in the communities where the facilities will be built. These sporting and multi-purpose centers, along with the soon-to-be completed Marion Jones Stadium, represent a boon for a broad field of community and commercial activities."

"Also scheduled for commencement in 2013 is the recently approved, CDB-funded 12 million dollar Youth and Community Transformation Project. This includes a 21,000 square foot Resource and sporting facility on the Lake Independence side of Chetumal Street, plus the uplift of the Wilton Cummerbatch Field in Port Loyola, and the fencing of the Samuel Haynes Institute for Excellence."

And while that was the biggest news coming out of the New Year's Message, many want to know, now that the Superbond has been renegotiated, what next? Here's what the PM had ot say about that:..

Hon. Dean Barrow, Prime Minister
"The surpassing triumph of the New Year will, of course, be the debt relief secured for Belize by the Superbond restructuring. When bondholders swap their current superbonds for new bonds that will carry vastly more affordable terms for Belize, it will mean that we will have stepped back from the abyss, avoided the fiscal cliff, and extricated ourselves from the sinkhole of default. And it is this stunning success that will be the wind beneath our wings for the rest of 2013, for the rest of the term. It is a triumph that will echo and re-echo across the years as a golden achievement of the UDP."

"This huge debt relief, coupled with the anticipated flows of long term, low interest financing from the recently reactivated Petrocaribe oil partnership between Belize and Venezuela, should provide rock-solid stability to public sector finances for the foreseeable future."

The PM also announced that Government has proposed to pay the former owners 50 million dollars as down payment on compensation as a demonstration of good faith.

The full statement airs later tonight on Channel 7.

Channel 7