You heard the Prime Minister allude to not wanting to show a bad face to the "IFI's". Those are the international financial institutions like the IMF, the CDB, and the IDB.
But, has government already gone crossway with the IFI community? We asked because while many other countries are tapping into low interest, COVID relief funds from the IMF, Belize has not received any.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow was also asked about the International Monetary Fund and why is it that the government did not seek the IMF’s assistance for COVID-19 relief in the first instance. Member countries have managed to receive tens of millions of dollars in rapid financing at significantly low-interest rates. Belize has applied but according to Barrow, IMF wants to provide Belize with half of what the country is eligible with certain conditionalities. The PM has written to the Managing Director by way of an intervention requesting that the conditionalities are lifted and Belize be given is full quota.
Prime Minister Dean Barrow
“The I.M.F. had indicated to us that they were prepared to let us have half of that, but there were some conditionalities that I certainly could not support; that I certainly could not agree with. I appealed, I went above the Heads of the Chief of Mission and the I.M.F. staff, I wrote a letter to the Managing Director, I had our Executive Director, the executive director for Canada into whose constituency Belize falls, and that has not yet, that intervention has not yet born fruit, but there is an indication that the negotiations are to be continued with the staff bringing in now some people from legal and some people from their policy department. By way of the intervention, we asked for two things that the conditionalities be dropped. This is a rapid financing instrument. In fact, the I.M.F. had made the point, when this fast track facility was first announced by them, that it’s not supposed to be subject to conditionalities. So we took them up on them. Also we are saying that we want the entirety of our quota. But when we are going to say that if you lend us the money, we will have to agree to a follow on I.M.F. programme, then I absolutely called a halt and say that is out of the question. In the circumstances, countries have to borrow their way out of this crisis. So really, it is to my mind completely unwarranted, completely unjustified for any kind of attempt of playing hardball with us. But we will see how far we get given that the negotiations are not at an end.”