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Chinese Company Buys The Hilton

Prime Minister Perry Christie speaks at yesterday’s signing at the Hilton.	Photo/Shawn Hanna

Prime Minister Perry Christie speaks at yesterday’s signing at the Hilton. Photo/Shawn Hanna

By RASHAD ROLLE

Tribune Staff Reporter

rrolle@tribunemedia.net

THE China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) formalised its purchase of the historic British Colonial Hilton and adjoining property yesterday during a deal signing event that marked what government officials believe will be the catalyst for rejuvenating downtown Nassau.

In addition to revealing its elaborate plan to redevelop the downtown area, the CSCEC announced its intention to contribute more than $750 million to the country’s GDP in the next 20 years as part of its overall plans.

The CSCEC is also currently building the $3.5 billion Baha Mar project on Cable Beach, in which it has a $150 million equity stake.

Prime Minister Perry Christie, who was joined by several other top government officials at the event last evening, said: “What has unfolded here today is part of a vision which I had been resolutely pursuing for several years as a strategic component of the redevelopment plan of downtown Nassau and the waterfront into a compelling and iconic tourism residential, cultural, entertainment, business mecca and city centre to be leisurely enjoyed by residents and tourists alike.”

Despite approving the sale of the hotel, however, government officials were unable to tell reporters how much it cost the CSCEC to purchase it from its previous owners, Canadian Commercial Workers Industry Pension Plan and Aubaine Capital.

Mr Christie expressed his confidence that the CSCEC will develop the long vacant property next to the hotel, using it to help construct a luxury hotel and condominium units, a multi-storey garage building with roof-top garden and banquet rooms, a high-end retail shopping and marina village, a restaurant, gym, nightclub and movie theatre.  

State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez told The Big T the total investment of the CSCEC in the area as part of its construction and investment efforts may be in the range of $1 billion. 

Mr Christie also promised that the “maximum interest of Bahamian people will be preserved” when it comes to employment, adding that existing Bahamian employees of the establishment will have their jobs secured.

His statement comes as Bahamians continue to be concerned about the number of Bahamians employed as part of CSCEC-led ventures, with the company having mainly used Chinese labourers and material to construct Baha Mar.

“The project will create 250 construction jobs and 500 additional jobs in the amenities and commercial performance area,” Mr Christie said, adding that a public-private sector partnership between the government, the CSCEC and other stakeholders along Bay Street will extend “from Arawak Cay in the west to Potter’s Cay in the east.”

In an interview with The Big T, Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe hailed the sale of the hotel and the impending redevelopment of downtown as something that will have a “significant impact on the tourism product” of this country.

He emphasised that innovations to the area will be distinctly Bahamian.

As rumours of the hotel’s sale to the CSCEC spread on social media yesterday, some Bahamians expressed concern about the growing influence and investments of China in the Bahamas.

Asked for his views about this, Mr Wilchcombe emphasised that the developments will not “destroy any existent relationship”.

“We exist in a global economy,” he said, adding: “The Chinese have one of the best economies in the world.”

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 8 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 8 months ago

Well Mudda - the preclearance is a favor that the Bahamas is doing to the U.S. This is priceless for the U.S. as it keeps potentially illegal persons out of the country to begin with (e.g. Haitians). So that is why the U.S. is putting up the money, similarly on the war on drugs, that is why the DEA is on the island and the USCG. What is more suprising, however is that the U.S. does not interfere more actively and pushing the Bahamas to steer clear of more Chinese influence.

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UserOne 4 years, 8 months ago

Referring to Chinese people as "yellow" is racist.

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TalRussell 4 years, 8 months ago

Comrade not a PLP Chinese thing. They been here creeping into ownership for 15 years . Think about it Bahamaland has a land area of 13,939 square kilometers or 13,.939 Chinese, mostly brought here by the reds Hubert.

Bahamaland's total area including water area is 259,000 square kilometers or 259,000 claiming some kind Haitian Decent Bahamalanders. Even if you were put all Bahamalanders onto Spanish Wells, they'd still call us an under populated island.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 8 months ago

China's new generation of ultra stealthy nuclear-armed submarines, with medium to long range firing power, will soon have access to the deep ocean trench known as the Tongue of the Ocean, located not far off the coast of Florida. Christie and his cohorts know exactly what his new found yellow friends value most when it comes to their geo-political security interests.

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GrassRoot 4 years, 8 months ago

well three comments here: 1. Fear the Chinese, not the Haitians. You can kick out the Haitians any day of the week. The Chinese however will kick you out of your house, because they will own soon anything we have. They have bought the politicians a long time ago. 2. Yes, I believe there is a political agenda behind the investments. Who needs Cuba, if you control the Bahamas if you are a foe of the U.S.? 3. Some of these large Chinese companies are actively engaging in human smuggling, slavery, money laundering, big time corruption and certainly tax evasion.

My fellow Bahamians, if you share your bed with dogs, don't be surprised if you wake up with flees.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 8 months ago

I'm with you, I think the move is strategic. Like war strategic, have thought so for some time. And if Davis & Co have their way, everything will be handed over on a platter. Inner city, downtown and ALL ports of entry, electricity, tourism..what's left? I'm surprised as (Grassroots says) that the US hasn't voiced stronger objections. They must really be wary of a Davis led govt looking at the clients he onboards.

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DEDDIE 4 years, 8 months ago

The Chinese plan is simple. Rather than hold trillions of dollars in US treasury bonds spend it on hard assets. The Bahamas is good of an investment as any.

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jusscoolin 4 years, 8 months ago

As I said again on a post before. It shows the level of the jack ass syndrome we have here in our Bahamas. The Chinese never throws money around without expecting something in return. Peoples if you think this is progress then we have another thing coming . And it will come in a size 6 without cup grease!

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SP 4 years, 8 months ago

A few areas of major concern instantly come to mind with this "Chinese Company Buys The Hilton" acquisition story:

1) Perry Christie has a well known history of cutting deals that benefit himself personally while simultaneously giving away the country. i.e. he included an ocean front house for himself in Goodmans Bay with the first Baha Mar agreement and gave away Goodmans Bay as well.

2) What concessions were granted the Chinese for their participation in the redevelopment scheme?

3) Chinese are accustomed to extraordinary long range planning spanning literally hundreds of years into the future with a very carefully orchestrated end goal in site, alternatively successive Bahamas governments are proven incapable of planning short range.

Did anyone think to ask the Chinese what their end goal is in the Bahamas and to a greater extent the Caribbean region in the short, medium, long and extended time periods?

My gut feelings are that Christie is in a very tight position and in need of immediate gains for political expediency, never thinking to question the Chinese in this vein, and he has been totally out maneuvered to the detriment of future generations of Bahamians.

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sansoucireader 4 years, 8 months ago

PM Christie is way over his head in dealing with the Chinese. He can't even plan for this afternoon while the Chinese are planning FOR THEIR PEOPLE years down the road. The Bahamas is still part of the British Commonwealth with most people having African ancestry. This is our background. I cringed when I saw PM Christie's Chinese Junkanoo display, truly the beginning of the end. Wake up people! Buying up properties left, right and center, working behind in the scenes to get what they want could lead to us being 'overrun' in a new way. While we're panicking about Haitians the Chinese are in plain sight being polite and spending BIG bucks. Their cities are already overpopulated and polluted with smog, are we going to have that here too? Will it be mandated that everyone has to learn Mandarin now, that a lot of their own citizens don't even speak it (lots of regional dialects etc.)? No one is looking out for Bahamians.

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crabman 4 years, 8 months ago

Look and sound familiar

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by crabman

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TalRussell 4 years, 8 months ago

Comrade Crabman what former PM Pindling and his corrupt colleagues allowed Comrade Carlos Enrique Lehder Rivas to get away with in Bahamaland should not be compared to the commercial business dealings of the Chinese. With the Chinese many Bahamalander's stand to financially benefit. With transporting drugs freely in Bahamian waters, airstrips, islands with millions paid to look the other way - benefit only the politicians, their colleagues and small club on friends. Why no one went jail is astonishing to this day? The gallows maybe for the top politicians - including a whole bunch corrupted senior and junior policeman's? Do you know of any the top brass who were ever reprimanded much less sentenced to Her Majesty's Fox Hill Prison/ I didn't think so cause it full poor people who became users from the dealings the 'got-away-with-it' officials.

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duppyVAT 4 years, 7 months ago

Most so-called post Independence Bahamian businessmen got their start from the drug money of the 1970s and 1980s ........ do we have to name names?????????

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 8 months ago

You folks commenting on this article should know that the The Tribune website gets less than 100 hits on an average news day, many of which are from the same commentator. This means there are relatively few of you posting and reading each others comments on this website each day. I've therefore stopped commenting for that reason aside from posting the occasional comment to let you "less than 100" folks know why you are wasting your time posting comments to this website!

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