BELIZE CITY, Mon. Jan. 10, 2022– Today, the UDP chairman, who is also the Lead Opposition Senator, Michael Peyrefitte, sent a letter to Prime Minister Hon. John Briceño following up on a request for the details on the names of the entities which were paid 15 million dollars for the negotiations and legal maneuvers which culminated in the Blue Bond deal. Reports are that the advisors who spearheaded the process that led to the major debt-for-conservation swap agreement were paid substantial sums for their work on behalf of the country. Peyrefitte sent the first letter of request on December 23, but according to his most recent letter, received no reply from the PM.
“The time within which you were to honor my request in my attached letter has lapsed. Your clear refusal to provide me with information that you are required to provide me with under the law is extremely disappointing,” his second letter, which carries today’s date, states.
He is now threatening to take the issue to the Office of the Ombudsman and then the courts if necessary. Peyrefitte is giving the PM until January 14 to comply with his request.
The letter states, “Prime Minister, the people of Belize want to know, and are entitled to know, to which lawyers and ‘advisors’ $15, 000,000 was appropriated to pay for the ‘Blue Bond Issue.’”
Peyrefitte asserts that if there is nothing to hide, the requests would be easily satisfied through the provision of the relevant documentation. “Prime Minister, this is not rocket science. If nothing untoward has taken place, then simply provide the information and the accompanying documentation as requested,” the letter states at its conclusion.
There has not been a reply so far from the Office of the Prime Minister. It is to be noted, however, that in several press releases issued by the GoB to update the public on the buyback of the Superbond, a list of firms and advisory services (most of which are internationally known companies) which performed key roles in the negotiation were provided — and the names on that list would likely be recognized by Peyrefitte as the same entities which had carried out Superbond negotiations during the Barrow administration, of which Peyrefitte was a part. It is not clear whether Peyrefitte was aware of the remuneration structure that was used at that time, but a helpful reference would be the typical remuneration structures outlined by these companies for transactions of such magnitude. These are an international standard that provide insights into what an advisor involved in orchestrating such a complex deal, would receive — with the compensation oftentimes being based on what type of outcome was achieved through such transactions. In the case of the Superbond, the compensation might likely have been calculated on the basis of the amount of savings achieved.