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Pm Hoped Sarkis Would ‘Not Allow Resort To Go’

Prime Minister Perry Christie

Prime Minister Perry Christie

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

IF THE Supreme Court decides to appoint a provisional liquidator today to take over the Baha Mar case, the government will be faced with a “different kind of situation”, Prime Minister Perry Christie said as he recalled his administration’s prior hopes that Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian “would not just allow the resort to go”.

The nation’s leader also defended his decision to ask Minister of State for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez to step down as the government’s lead attorney in the $3.5bn resort’s legal battle insisting that it was important for people to see the ongoing process in the court as independent of the government’s interference.

Justice Ian Winder is set to hear arguments on the government’s winding up petition against Baha Mar in the Supreme Court today.

“What we were hoping all along,” Mr Christie said in an interview broadcast on ZNS, “is that the developer who put so much effort into the product itself having, 97 per cent completed it, would not just allow it to go. But he would instead find some way of accommodating himself to the requirements of the China Export Import Bank and the construction company.”

The EXIM bank is the project’s main financial backer. China Construction America is the resort’s general contractor.

“It will then obviously be whether the court decides whether a provisional liquidator will be appointed and if a provisional liquidator is appointed then it is a different kind of situation with Baha Mar.”

In July, the government announced its decision to file an involuntary winding up petition against the 14 Bahamian incorporated companies that make up Baha Mar in the Supreme Court. The decision came after the resort’s developer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the US in June.

At the time, Mr Christie said that the role of the liquidators will be to expedite the resolution of this matter and to prepare a plan for the restructuring of Baha Mar which is expected to result in the earliest possible completion and opening of the project.

He said the Bahamian court is familiar with using the provisional liquidation procedure as an effective tool to reorganise a company’s affairs.

On July 31, a previous hearing into the winding up petition was adjourned after it was revealed that Baha Mar’s general contractor expressed reservations about the personnel who were initially eyed to serve as provisional liquidators for Baha Mar.

It was revealed in court that China Construction America (CCA), in a letter sent to the Office of the Attorney General from PriceWaterhouseCoopers (PwC) Bahamas, contested the appointment of three PwC professionals to serve as Baha Mar’s provisional liquidators.

It has been reported that the government has already approached three professionals from Ernst and Young (Bahamas) - Michele Thompson, Roy Bailey and Karen Hutchinson - as potential replacements for the PwC professionals.

Comments

BDN 5 years, 1 month ago

Yea man, Sarkis! Don't let it get away from you. You wan get called crazy again aye?

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jlcandu 5 years, 1 month ago

I hope Mr. Izmirlian names and shames all the worthless politicians who are getting kickbacks, contracts, etc from this mega project. The PM better be careful with his threats because he may be red-faced by the time Izmirlian is finished with him and the rest of his PLP bunch!!

The top Chinese bosses of CCA are already being investigated by the FBI, so guess where the investigation will come next once they start singing and ratting out all of thieves involved in this project in the Bahamas??? This is better than tv!!

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TruePeople 5 years, 1 month ago

Man dey try teef he tings, dey try bad him up, dey try call him crazy, dey do a whole bunch of fool inbetween and now PC saying he don't want Sarkis to bail out. The man down and getting a bunch of BS from the people who swindle him and yall expect him to dish out more money for y'all an ya dumb self bey it boggles the mind.

Gov't was able to nice up cable beach road for some pile of bricks that generates debts rather than income while simultaneously ensuring less employment opportunity by not investing in a stable employment promotion program for the country, as well as burdening citizens with greater financial responsibilites by viture of such fool as the VAT which exists to pay off gov't generated debts resulting from totally stupid, unsustainable, and even criminal spending behaviour.

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Chucky 5 years, 1 month ago

If the government really wanted to have this sorted out, and wasn't trying to undermine Sarkis, they would simply withdraw their winding up petition!

This may level the negotiation playing field for all concerned.

Obviously they have other motives.

When have you ever heard such BS about the "contractor" being so involved; especially when it was the contractors failure to meet schedule and quality that has created this whole situation.

It's taken months for those that are behind this to achieve this takeover. It didn't just come about in the last 45 days. Been in the works for at least 6 months.

Well played, but very devious and criminal in nature.

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ObserverOfChaos 5 years, 1 month ago

If he hadn't started all this mess, he'd not have to do a 180 turn around on this....he was trying to gain control all along....now he's side stepping.....liar, cheat, swindler, back stabber....what else can be said of this buffoon?

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BoopaDoop 5 years, 1 month ago

Why is he always touching his pinky ring? Does it channel some sort of power to deceive?

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John 5 years, 1 month ago

Worse case scenario: Lets say Izmilirian has had enough and has now decided to 'bail out' and seek relief through the British courts. Then the government tries to finish Bah Mar using tax payers money and also try to open and operate it until a buyer is found They will sink this country so deep in debt due to incompetence, nepotism, corruption and cronyism all of us will be trying to get on a lifeboat to the nearest coast line. The China Construction Company and The China Bank may not be too quick to come forward to take the project over so as not to make the obvious more obvious, or they may be legally barred from doing so. To find some individual or company with the finances and experience to run an operation as big as Bah Mar will not take just five days. According to Donald Trump, all the hotel/casino properties in Vegas are filing for bankruptcy because business is so bad they are losing millions. A Nassau operation will be more difficult to turn a profit. DId the government nudged on by the Chinese kill the goose that laid the golden egg?

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Wideawake 5 years, 1 month ago

If the unthinkable happens, and Mr. Izmirlian is "pushed aside" by the involuntary winding up conspiracy, I do not believe that the hotels, who are part of Baha Mar, would still be interested in doing business with whomever takes over the project from Mr. Izmirlian. The hotels negotiated agreements that took a long time to complete, and no doubt Mr. Izmirlian's zeal, vision, and gravitas, played a large part in building the relationships with the various hotel groups, to the point that they finally were confident enough in Baha Mar to make their various commitments. Their belief in the integrity of the Bahamas government must have been severely shaken by the petty minded and unbelievable treatment being dished out to Mr. Izmirlian.

If Baha Mar were to be left in the hands of CCA, CEXIMB and the Bahamas government, does anyone seriously think that the participating hotel chains would carry on as if it was "business as usual"? They would all bail out, and that would leave the Baha Mar project with little or no chance of ever succeeding.

The entrepreneur that dreams the dream, and labours for 13 years to bring the dream to 97% completion, absolutely, and undeniably, remains an indispensable ingredient in the developments' eventual success.

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Bahamian_in_London 5 years, 1 month ago

So Christie is basically admitting that the winding up order was filed as a negotiation tactic to force Sarkis to accept the Chinese demands. So much for being an impartial mediator.

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Wideawake 5 years, 1 month ago

Absolutely correct, arm twisting that did not work!

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Bahamian_in_London 5 years, 1 month ago

My guess is they didn't even foresee him letting it get to court - so now they don't know what to do or what they want to happen. The Government's lawyers even said in court today that they don't want to wind it up, they just want the court to appoint a provisional liquidator. What the hell does that mean.

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John 5 years, 1 month ago

Remember Izmirilian is not broke. Bah Mar is in bankruptcy not Izmirilian. So he can afford to play the waiting game and he can afford the legal wrangling. At the end of the day it is Bahamians who suffer. It is the Bahamian government that has egg on its face. Despite it all the project went nonstop to 97% completion. There was never complaints of funding from the China construction company until the project completion was delayed a second time and there was talks and apparent damage due to shoddy work. Is Izmirilian really the culprit?

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Wideawake 5 years, 1 month ago

Unfortunately development projects are time sensitive, so grinding to a halt while legal wrangling continues can, of itself, cause even a well-funded, almost finished project, to fail.

Imagine the cost in dollars of wasted advertising, loss of trained staff, interest on borrowed money, damage to Baha Mar's image and reputation, cost of re-hiring replacement staff, legal fees, travel expenses, cost of time needed to get the project up and running again, cost of lost morale of employees, cost of low occupancy rates when resort does finally open, cost of extra advertising budget to compensate for the "burst Baha Mar bubble". Etc etc

This Baha Mar debacle may cost an additional $100 million just to get the project back to the point it was at 6 months ago!

And The Bahamas government thinks that their strategy of "pushing out" Mr. Izmirlian is the best chance of getting the resort open in time for the Winter season!! Give me a fricking break!! STUPID, STUPID, STUPID!!!

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TruePeople 5 years, 1 month ago

Bahamar was advertising it's opening overseas (US and CANADA) a few years back (original) and had another similar round of ads for the delayed opening too. No ads at the moment. Wonder what those interested tourist are thinking now.

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The_Oracle 5 years, 1 month ago

The Pinky ring is a tell, anyone who plays poker looks for other players tell. It tells he is bluffing or lying. Word on the street is the Cabinet members who got concessions on the property and contracts, store locations all panicked, scared they'd lose their Money. Transparency in it's definition means "seen through" The only way Sarkis will get clear of this is to reveal all the "concessions" given in return to Political families.

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asiseeit 5 years, 1 month ago

If i was in the developers shoes this government would be scared, very scared. You think someone is just going to come and rip me off of 100's of millions and I just sit back? I do not care how rich you are, this would be the start of a war, one which I would win. If the developer does not have the "juice" on these government people he is a fool and I for one do not think the developer is a fool. One thing is for sure, you are not ripping a person off in this manner and just walking away, human nature does not allow that.

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TruePeople 5 years, 1 month ago

These gov't ppl drunk on small island power not realising that such bully tactics cannot work internationally with nations and organizations far bigger, and far more powerful than us. Bahamas is small fish in this world, but inside our little fish tank the politicians think they HUGE

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Dumbfounded 5 years, 1 month ago

"he would instead find some way of accommodating himself to the requirements of the China Export Import Bank and the construction company...." It is unfortunate that the Government could not have created more pressure on the bank and construction company to accommodate themselves to the requirements of the developer. What need have the bank and construction company to negotiate when the government is so blatantly in their back pocket?

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