On June twenty-first international financial services company Standard & Poor’s lowered Belize’s credit rating to a B minus following government’s acquisition of B.E.L. and its re-nationalization of Telemedia. Compensation to the Fortis Group, the previous owner of B.E.L. has not been paid, nor has government paid the previous owners of B.T.L. since acquiring the company in August 2009. Cumulatively, the national debt has swollen to approximately two billion dollars. This morning, opposition leader John Briceño said that the massive debt looms over the country. The S&P rating, according to Briceño, will inevitably deter foreign investment.
John Briceño, Party Leader, P.U.P.
“The international debt is certainly something that continues to plague our country and the decisions that the government has been doing has not been helpful. It has not been helpful because it has killed foreign direct investments and it has killed confidence in Belize. They have even reduced, the rating agencies like S&P have reduced our ratings which in turn increases the cost of money to bring into the country. Those are issues that we will have to address head-on as soon as we get into government to ensure that we can find a way to continue to attract their foreign direct investments to this country. It is about having the ability to be able to think as a businessperson, like myself as a businessman, how is it that we could make this happen and we in the People’s United Party can and we will make it happen. We will be able to make sure that people can work once again in this country.”
The S&P rating and other issues were discussed this morning at a breakfast meeting with the media.