Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner
By KHRISNA VIRGIL
Tribune Staff Reporter
LONG Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner yesterday accused Prime Minister Perry Christie of “misleading and deceiving” Bahamians over Baha Mar, as she castigated the governing Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) for having ulterior motives behind its push to open the resort’s convention centre by early 2016.
The former Free National Movement (FNM) deputy leader told The Tribune she was reliably informed that the government was also aiming to have the golf course completed early next year.
She insisted that the PLP government was “hell bent” on having these portions of the $3.5bn hotel finished to hold its 2016 convention at the property. She added that the government was being “disingenuous” by saying it wanted the convention centre finished early next year so the Inter-American Development Bank could hold a conference there.
This she said was a perfect example of the PLP’s “self-serving” nature.
However, PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts blasted Mrs Butler-Turner yesterday saying she needed to “get a damn life” and stop making “stupid” comments about the stalled resort. He confirmed that the PLP was planning to use Baha Mar’s facilities for its next convention, but said party officials had always planned to do so.
Mrs Butler-Turner said: “At the end of the day the Prime Minister always engages in overly optimistic projections from the time they took office. I am very disappointed that one year later the resort, a development that we had invested so much into, is not open. We have 2,000 plus people without a job and Christmas is two days away.
“I must go back to the position that Mr Christie, because of his arrogance, lack of focus and bad advice, jumped into a private situation that could have been mitigated and resolved by now.
“I understand that they want to open the golf course and convention centre with none of the supporting services so basically you are compromising the entire development. I am reliably informed that it’s not for the IDB only but for their PLP convention. They are self serving. Everything that he (Mr Christie) has said is misleading and deceptive.”
Mr Roberts said he was angered by Mrs Butler-Turner’s assertions.
“It was always our intent to have the (PLP) convention at Baha Mar,” he said. “Loretta Butler-Turner needs to go get a damn life. Do you know that this annoys the hell out of me this time of the year? Does she know what this IDB conference will do for us? It is sure to enhance our image and will bolster us economically.
“Even the bank released a statement saying it will work to have the convention centre ready, yet still she continues to be second guessing this.”
Mr Christie told reporters two weeks ago that it was his hope the centre would be finished to allow the IDB to host its event at Baha Mar next spring, saying the Melià Nassau Beach Hotel was not sufficient to accommodate the number of people expected to attend.
He added that the China Export Import Bank was working along with the government to accomplish this.
The bank confirmed this in a statement last week that also hit out at unnamed “people with ulterior motives” who have “made irresponsible remarks” that have affected the actions being taken by the bank and court appointed receivers for the Baha Mar resort. The IDB event is scheduled for April 2016, the bank said.
The opening of the 2,000 plus room resort was scheduled for last December but was delayed to March of this year and again to May.
Baha Mar’s developer filed for bankruptcy in a US court in June; however the cases for its Bahamian companies were later thrown out.
The Supreme Court placed the resort into receivership in October.
Over the past few months, Mr Christie has repeatedly expressed his optimism about the resort and expressed hope that the property would be completed and opened soon.