By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
BAHA Mar yesterday declined to comment on the revelation that its developer Sarkis Izmirlian was under investigation by Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell.
On Friday, Mr Mitchell told The Nassau Guardian that he had ordered a closer look at Mr Izmirlian’s “file” due to complaints about his “conduct in the country”.
However, he refused to clarify further when contacted by The Tribune yesterday.
Yesterday, in response to questions from The Tribune a resort spokesperson said: “Baha Mar is focused on doing all it realistically can to have the resort’s construction completed properly and opened successfully as soon as possible. Baha Mar is not going to comment on Minister Mitchell’s statements.”
The investigation follows Mr Mitchell’s public recrimination of the Baha Mar developer last week, when he warned that permanent resident status could be revoked if the status holder behaves in a way that is not in the public interest.
During an Emancipation Day speech, he added that an invitation should be extended to Mr Izmirlian to “consider making the appropriate steps to live elsewhere if he does not wish to conform to the mores of conduct of those who are economic guests in our country.”
Mr Mitchell has repeatedly chastised Mr Izmirlian over the resort’s bankruptcy filing and what he termed as numerous “attacks” on Prime Minister Perry Christie’s handling of the matter.
However, Mr Christie confirmed last week that Mr Mitchell’s comments did not reflect the position of the government. He told reporters that he accepted the critical remarks as an emotionally motivated defence to what was perceived as disrespect from the developer toward the Office of the Prime Minister. However, Mr Christie stressed that the government’s official position on the matter could only come from him.
In a memo sent to Baha Mar employees last Tuesday, Mr Izmirlian said in his 13 years working on the Baha Mar project, he “never imagined” he would be “fighting” with the government over the $3.5b Cable Beach property.
Baha Mar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a Delaware Court on June 29; however, the resort’s application to have the US proceedings recognised in the Bahamas was rejected.
However the resort has been granted leave to appeal the decision.
Meanwhile, the government’s winding-up petition against the $3.5 billion mega resort to bring in provisional liquidators will be heard on August 19.
The resort has been locked in negotiations with its lender Export-Import Bank of China and general contractor China Construction America in a bid to reach an out-of-court deal to complete the project.