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Concern For Landlords If Baha Mar Expats Leave

By SANCHESKA BROWN

Tribune Staff Reporter

sbrown@tribunemedia.net

BAHAMAS Real Estate Association President Carla Sweeting said she is “very concerned” about what will happen to Bahamian landlords if Baha Mar expatriates are forced to leave the country.

Speaking with The Tribune, Ms Sweeting said while she has not heard anything “concrete”, there has been speculation that the resort’s expats will be leaving town soon, forcing scores of rental units to be placed back on the market.

She said many apartment and residential property owners in the Cable Beach area had invested heavily in their rental units in anticipation of leasing them to Baha Mar staff. She added that many landlords depend on that money to pay their mortgages and bank loans.

The Tribune understands that expatriate staff at Baha Mar’s Grand Hyatt hotel are set to be pulled out of the Bahamas this week, following a decision by the government not to pay the mega resort’s non-Bahamian employees on payday last week.

According to a well-placed source, officials from the Grand Hyatt informed resort representatives on Friday about the impending move. It is unclear how many workers will be moved, but it is expected they will be transferred to other Hyatt properties around the world.

“We have got a couple of landlords saying ‘this property is going to come on line shortly, if this thing doesn’t work out’ but I have gotten nothing concrete,” Ms Sweeting said, when contacted for comment about state of the industry in view of Baha Mar’s difficulties.

“I am only hearing noise in the market but none of my people have said anything to me, but I have a few people who I have also rented properties to that I have kept in mind, just in case. It is a concern to us – the whole Baha Mar thing is a concern. We are already down 50 per cent in sales this year from the same period last year. We are trying to stay positive and not spook people anymore than they really are, but things are not so good.

“We cannot tell if it is the implementation of value added tax (VAT) or whether it is because the economy is bad or whether it is because the banks aren’t lending, but we are concerned.

Properties

“Lots of Bahamians who own properties that are being rented by Baha Mar staff are asking themselves ‘how am I going to pay my mortgage?’ But like I said, no one has contacted me yet, it is just a lot of speculation and a lot of people thinking ‘what is going to happen now?’”

In early July, the government announced that it would pay Bahamian employees at the resort for one month, stating that the decision was a bid to block the more than 2,400 workers from being used as pawns in the resort’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing.

The resort’s Bahamian workers are paid bi-weekly. The Tribune understands the government has paid Bahamian workers for three pay periods so far.

Baha Mar’s expat workers are paid monthly and had received their last salary payment shortly before the resort filed for bankruptcy on June 29.

Last week, a Baha Mar executive hit out at the Christie administration for refusing to pay the resort’s foreign staff.

In a letter to staff last Wednesday, Baha Mar Vice President of Human Resources Magdalena Hamya said this decision sends a terrible message to the resort’s non-Bahamian workers.

Ms Hamya said the resort was “shocked” by the move, noting that in early July Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson said the government would cover Baha Mar’s total payroll of $7.5 million a month, “which includes the salaries of our non-Bahamian employees.”

The payroll for the resort’s foreign workers is nearly $1.8 million a month.

The Supreme Court has rejected Baha Mar’s application to have its Chapter 11 bankruptcy orders from a US court recognised here. However, the resort was granted leave to appeal this decision yesterday.

Last week, the court also adjourned a hearing into the government’s winding up petition against Baha Mar until August 19.

Comments

asiseeit 5 years, 5 months ago

It's OK, the government will pay the landlords for lost rent. No worry's, everything will be dead good.

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banker 5 years, 5 months ago

I love the law of unintended consequences. Perry dem don't know how big a can of worms that they opened. End times.

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MonkeeDoo 5 years, 5 months ago

We are, without changing the constitution, aligning ourselves ( becoming ) with a system of Government where the State owns everything and the people are beholden to it.

We have two of the Communist Main Enterprises, teaching our Government exactly how to do things to take control. Why would anyone think that China State Construction is anything but a Communist Enterprise. Or the China Export Import Bank could be anything but a Communist Enterprise.

As a people, are we really that stupid.

Yes,

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bahamasPatriot 5 years, 5 months ago

I find it particularly crass that realtors, who consistently lined their roosts with the monies paid by the poor citizens of the Comminwealth to EXPAT staff of. This messy ménage a trios, have the Audi ith to complain about "their situation". Not a word from these folks who live like fatted hogs off of deals made in back rooms and smoke rooms, don't give the kind of advise that can assist this country to move forward, but squeal loudly when they are affected.

please note that BREA said nothing about the $7.5 million of Bahamian money that has to be siphoned off to pay for Baha Mar's BAHAMIAN staff! No these fatted swines are complaining about theEXPAT staff! Can you tell me of another country where the government of such a small state would do the same for its expat Bahamian staff? We see through your feigned concerns.

Oink, oink BREA!

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ObserverOfChaos 5 years, 5 months ago

You mean $7.5 million that the govt legally owed Baha Mar!....but was hedging on paying cause every politician and official lacks the moral courage to pay their legal obligations, that $7.5 Million?!

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TheMadHatter 5 years, 5 months ago

Well - how much high rent cable beach places are the Bahamian staff renting?

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ObserverOfChaos 5 years, 5 months ago

There are already droves leaving at the end of the month or before due to not getting paid due to govt intervention with central bank.....so along with the down turn in real estate also goes the brain trust that was to make baha mar successful and to transfer knowledge to Bahamians....and don't even talk about the economic impact on restaurants, gas stations, retail stores, etc etc....so thanks Bahamas....

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Greentea 5 years, 5 months ago

Cry me a river. I am sure they will be just fine on over priced, over rated cable beach and far too expensive, environmental disaster, greed pot Sandyport. After charging 5000 a month for a two bedroom condo - the mortgages should be paid.

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TruePeople 5 years, 5 months ago

Dats why the criminal element ein lookin for the gov't to solve it's problems

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Observer 5 years, 5 months ago

Landlords are not immuned to unfavourably financial situations and should consider same when they rent/lease property. It goes with the territory. Now, then, the insurance companies and errybody and their pets will come screaming victimization too. Are 'landlords' the 'chosen' few who should not suffer loss, like the rest of business people?

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