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S.S.B. Loans $3.5 Million to Hol Chan Marine Reserve for Sargassum Mitigation Project

Mar 15, 2023

S.S.B. Loans $3.5 Million to Hol Chan Marine Reserve for Sargassum Mitigation Project

On Friday, the Social Security Board issued a Public Notice of Investment in the local papers. The notice stated that S.S.B. has proposed to lend three million, five hundred thousand dollars to the Hol Chan Marine Reserve for the installation of sargassum barriers and capital expenditures. Of recent, we have been reporting on the negative effects that the large influx of sargassum has been having on our coastal communities. Deborah Ruiz, the Chief Executive Officer at S.S.B. says, Hol Chan Marine Reserve has indicated that they will place sargassum barriers in three main channels to minimize the impact of the sargassum to our shore lines. She added that the organization has sufficiently proved that they are capable of paying back the loan. 

Deborah Ruiz

Deborah Ruiz, Chief Executive Officer, S.S.B.

“You know we are always looking for loan opportunities and Hol Chan did approach us in terms of getting three point five million dollars. You know the sargassum is a problem for the water front areas, especially the cayes in the height of the tourism season. So, their proposal and based on their research the sargassum barriers are not full proof because it depends on the managing of it. But, if I recall correctly they will be putting sargassum barriers in three main channels that hopefully will direct and minimize the impact on the shoreline. So, that is there and they have in fact approached us in terms of their numbers, the viability is tied to the tourism numbers and we have seen a rebound. It is not back where it was pre-COVID, but the numbers have rebounded as the BTB has indicated at least off to one hundred and seventy-three thousand visitors.  Based on the numbers that we see, we crunching numbers, repay ability is there, they have the collateral. Uh, we, they did have an issue in terms of recent past, but those numbers, um, and internal controls, um, have been put in place to our satisfaction that we feel it’s a reasonable in, um, investment to make. And it certainly will higher than what we would get if we leave our money in the bank. Six point seventy-five percent I believe is the rate that agreed.”