The House of Representatives met today in Belmopan. It was a short agenda which featured a short list of five amendment bills, among them three that dealt with the banking sector. The passage of the bills now sends them to the upper house of parliament where they are expected to be ratified by the Senate next week. The House also passed two motions, one for the establishment of a National Assembly Staff Committee and the other approving a two million US dollar loan from the Caribbean Development Bank to be used for education sector reform. Aside from the Bills for second and third readings, Prime Minister Dean Barrow today introduced two Bills having to do with a proposed municipal bond by the Belize City Council. The first Bill is for an Act to provide for the Belize City Council to float a twenty million dollar municipal bond to be used for infrastructural development. The Prime Minister told parliament that the Bill has the support of Cabinet.
“I think now the entire country is aware of this initiative on the part of the young Mayor of Belize City, Darrell Bradley and his Council. Even absent, the passage of this legislation and the floating of this Municipal Bond, Mayor Bradley and his Council have succeeded in doing wonders in the infrastructure in Belize City. Together with Central Government he’s been able to extend certain guarantees that we have put up, that we have pre-existing at some of the commercial banks. He’s been able to increase the loan amounts of the City Council, with these banks, taking advantage of the lowered interest rates and with he has, with these additional monies ensured the spending of the monies in a way that is absolutely and utterly transparent and in a way that very clearly produces tremendous value for money.”
The Prime Minister commended Mayor Bradley for his initiative and noted that government is fully behind the municipal bond issue. And the Prime Minister used his time on the floor of the House at the introduction of the Bill to offer a sales pitch to potential bond holders.
“All of the payments that bond holders will receive by virtue of the servicing of the bonds, on the part of the City Council, all their interest payments will be free from income and business tax. We really want the City and in fact, the country to get behind the floating of this bond and government will do its part to make the bond as attractive as possible. Also, the works that the City Council will contract under the monies derived from the bonds, we will ensure will not be subject to GST, again, as a way for Government to signal its complete support for this wonderful bout and burst of creativity on the part of the Mayor and of the City Council – a creativity that is already garnering a whole heap and accumulation and kudos on the part of the residents of Belize City.”
Also introduced today was a companion Bill which seeks to amend the Belize City Council Act to make provisions for the Municipal Bond. For his part, Mayor Darrel Bradley, who was present in the galleries at today’s House Meeting, told Love News that he is confident the municipal bond will float well and the all the citizens of Belize City stand to benefit from it.
According to Mayor Bradley the prospectus for the municipal bond will be launched on Friday of next week and after that there will be a marketing campaign by the Belize City Council. But even before the municipal bond floats, Mayor Bradley and his team have hit the ground running.
“We have identified two tranches; ten million and ten million. The first tranche will be used to fund some of the major streets in Belize City and we’re talking about the downtown grid, some of the works we have already started – Orange Street, Queen Street, we did Daly Street, we did Craig Street now we are on Barrack Road; soon we will do Freetown Road. We don’t have the money yet to do Freetown Road so that will be funded through the bond program, then we will do Mapp Street, we’ll do Douglas Jones Street and North Front Street and New Road and that will complete that side of the grid; then we will come across the bridge and then we’re also identifying some major streets not in the downtown area but streets that are well used, for example, Chetumal Street, Fabers Road which is need, the area between Caesar Ridge Road and Central American Boulevard which is in need of dire repairs. We are talking about some areas, major streets in the Port Loyola Area, in the Collet division, major streets in Freetown. We have a works plan and part of our prospectus which we are going to release on the 30th of this month, the thirtieth of August will include a full description of all the works. The second tranche then will go towards alleviating some of the constraints in neighborhoods. And we’re going to do a mix there between, right now what we’re doing is that we’re constructing all the streets by the way of cementing – in the neighborhoods we will do a mix because of finance between asphalt and cementing because in some areas we don’t have to cement all the streets, of course it’s cheaper. So there will be a full description of what the works will involve and we plan on doing a marketing campaign and a series of public meetings. We’ve been doing those already but we will go out now and tell people how this thing will look and how they will benefit from it.”
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