Belize: Town council 'has accounts frozen'

The council in Belize's fourth-largest town has had its accounts frozen, it seems.

Belize Bank acted after the authorities in Orange Walk failed to service a debt of 111,000 Belizean dollars ($56,000, £34,000) inherited from the previous administration, according to the country's 7 News. Apparently, the bank had converted the overdraft into a non-performing loan and demanded it be paid off in full. Mayor Kevin Bernard told Channel 5 News he'd appealed for help from the government so that he could pay staff and cover operating expenses.

But it seems Prime Minister Dean Barrow has no comforting words for the mayor. Channel 5 says he told parliament there was "no point in complaining" about inherited debt and demanding to see the council's accounts "so that we can see whether or not they are managing their resources properly, whether or not they are spending their money wisely". Famed for its reef-diving and fishing, Belize suffered badly when tourism declined as a result of the global economic downturn and its authorities are now burdened with debt. It was forced to restructure a $550m (£340m) "superbond" earlier this year, paying bondholders over a longer period.

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