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Talks Agreed Over Baha Mar

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Perry Christie last night said he has set a date to hold mediated discussions this weekend at a mutually agreed location with Baha Mar executives, China State Construction and the China Export-Import Bank.

Tribune Business on the Baha Mar crisis

• ‘Much higher’ chance Baha Mar owners out http://bit.ly/1Mf...

• Baha Mar’s ‘red flag’ on project supervision http://bit.ly/1JU...

• Baha Mar sides told: ‘Leave your egos out’ http://bit.ly/1JU...

In a statement, Mr Christie urged Baha Mar to immediately agree to the invitation.

This came hours after the Supreme Court accepted an adjournment request by Baha Mar’s legal team into a hearing on whether the court will ratify a US bankruptcy court’s approval to allow the resort to access debtor-in-possession financing as part of its shock Chapter 11 filing last week.

This new round of discussions, Mr Christie said, will convene on an urgent basis with a view to developing a way forward that would see construction at the West Bay Street property resume immediately.

Mr Christie said despite the events of the last eight days – which have seen the government, the resort and its general contractor bicker in the press – he has accepted the requests by all parties to mediate negotiations.

“I was dismayed by the decision by Baha Mar to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States,” Mr Christie’s statement read, “while other parties as well as the government were engaging in good faith negotiations.

“However, in the spirit of working in the best interest of the Bahamas, I have, and I want all involved to put aside the antics of the past several days and meet with a clean slate and with cool heads. The meetings must result in an intact and formally signed agreement on an action plan for the completion of the project, similar to the agreement discussed prior to Baha Mar filing for Chapter 11. This in my view is not optional.”

Mr Christie said there is no question that the best thing for the country and for the Bahamian people is for Baha Mar to open successfully and swiftly, so that the country can benefit from the economic activity and jobs it will create.

“For this reason, the government supported the adjournment petition brought forth by Baha Mar (on Tuesday) during Supreme Court proceedings, but with one singular condition: that all parties reconvene negotiations on an urgent basis and develop a way forward that would see construction resume immediately.

“It has always been in the best interest of all involved to negotiate a solution outside of the courts, which is what the government has been supporting over the last several weeks. Despite the happenings of the past eight days, I have accepted the request by all parties to mediate continued negotiation sessions,” Mr Christie added.

“I have just been informed that China State Construction as well as China Export-Import Bank have agreed to participate in mediated negotiations. I have set a date of this weekend for this to occur at a location agreeable to all parties. I exhort Baha Mar to agree immediately to the same and I await the developer’s confirmation.”

He reiterated that his administration would continue to be transparent with all Bahamians over the matter. Mr Christie said he would continue to be neutral while standing firmly on the side of the Bahamian people. He said Bahamians deserve swift resolution to this matter.

Earlier yesterday, State Legal Affairs Minister Damian Gomez said he was hopeful that all parties could set aside the bitter public feud to make progress on a settlement.

Should the negotiations yield no results, Mr Gomez said the government, through its attorneys will proceed with additional applications to the court.

“We at least now have an opportunity to negotiate in good faith,” Mr Gomez, who represented the Crown in the Supreme Court hearing, said. “We will entreat all of the parties, to immediately do so. We’re ready, willing and able at any time from this moment on.”

The Supreme Court hearing has been adjourned to July 20, with a status hearing set for July 14.

This week, Baha Mar’s relationship with the government and its general contractor China Construction America (CCA) became more strained.

On Monday, Baha Mar slammed the government for “concocting a sideshow for its own purposes” after the Christie administration accused the resort of being slow to provide necessary information, thus delaying salary payments to the resort’s employees for the last pay period.

The resort also questioned why the Christie administration is not supporting the resort’s developer Sarkis Izmirlian, who it said has been “victimised” by CCA, adding that the government’s actions have “sown doubt” about the project’s future.

The controversy came after the government announced the resort’s staff would be paid on Tuesday.

Hours later, Mr Christie shot back saying he was disappointed in both the intemperate tone and incorrect content of Baha Mar’s press statement. He also questioned Mr Izmirlian’s mental health.

And in a statement released shortly after midnight on Tuesday, CCA blasted Baha Mar saying the resort’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing was a direct result of its failure to secure adequate financing and its mismanagement of the property’s design. This included replacing the chief architect after construction started along with late and incomplete delivery of the design packages and over 1,300 construction change directives, CCA said.

The government agreed to pay Baha Mar salaries last week, after an earlier adjournment of the Supreme Court’s hearing into Baha Mar’s application to ratify access to the debtor-in-possession financing.

Comments

proudloudandfnm 5 years, 2 months ago

Hopefully they'll come to an agreement. Have to admit though. I have absolutely no confidence in Perry to pull this off. I hope they've hired a professional to lead these discussions... Perry would only make things worse with his ignorance of business matters....

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banker 5 years, 2 months ago

Just maybe all of the noise in the marketplace and airings of the dirty laundry will:

1) keep the Chinese from totally possessing Baha Mar 2) hurry up the completion 3) give a boost back to the GDP

It's pretty hard to come to a consensus when two of the three parties have hidden motives and agendas.

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TalRussell 5 years, 2 months ago

Might I remind Comrade PM Christie, that included photo of a friendly meeting Izmirlian had as late as April7, 2014, with His Excellency Yuan Guisen, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China to the Commonwealth of The Bahamas, to discuss the ongoing development of airlift from cities in mainland China, outreach to potential Chinese visitors, and raising awareness among travel agents and consumers of the ease of travel between the two countries - showed no signs the tension that Izmirllian is now claiming the Chinese have long done to hinder the official opening Baha Mar.
Funny on way all his troubles, It seems be everyone and their uncle's fault - but not Comrade Izmirllian.
Whatever else you do PM, repossess and return people's lands back taxpayers.

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by TalRussell

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SP 5 years, 2 months ago

.................................. Caution - Crossing Blurred Jackass Lines .............................

Six of one, half dozen of the other. Where does the stupidity start and end?

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by SP

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realfreethinker 5 years, 2 months ago

They should find a way to keep Perry far away from those talks. He has been intimately involved in the previous talks and you see what it got us. I beg you let Perry be the security guard at the door,but dont let him in PLEASEEEEEEE

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TalRussell 5 years, 2 months ago

Oh sure Comrade, how much of a real free thinker do you really think you are - when Izmirlian is being portrayed as doing Baha Mar's offical opening, no harm? It's all PM's fault?

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realfreethinker 5 years, 2 months ago

I never said it was all PM fault. The point I make is the PM was the intermediary before and it got us bankruptcy,so it shows that his input is not respected.

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TalRussell 5 years, 2 months ago

Comrade I think like most, you and I are attempting get some clear understanding as to what really has been going on over a Baha Mar. What Comrade Tal, is not prepared to do is to rush lay all the blame on shoulders PM Christie, when Papa Hubert should not think he will be allowed to get off scot free - to gas up he boat enjoy himself going fishing up in Cooper's Town, when he had damn well know that part of the problem he was leaving behind for his former law partner, was an impossible aggressive timetable for the 3.5 billion Baha Mar resort, which was all planned to be built in less than four years. What in hell led Papa into thinking it could be built and opened in one-third the time it took developer Sol Kerzner to build and open Atlantis Paradise Island?
Any ambitions Papa or his crew might have held out hope for his return as PM, have just forever been crushed. Baha Mar is a mess and Papa Hubert, must be equally be held accountable taxpayers.

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BahamaPundit 5 years, 2 months ago

The terrible aspect of the Bahamas Government's position in this negotiation is the fear that if Bahamar fails, S&P with downgrade the country to junk bond status. So, in other words, the other parties will get whatever they want, because the Government is terrified that the project might fail. Desperation is never a good position in a negotiation. Talk about too big to fail -- Bahamar has the Government by the balls! The Government would do almost anything, including giving away a few islands, just to make the project happen. That's what you get by putting all of your eggs in one basket. I've never heard of a worse negotiation position than the Government is in with this one -- it is literally a do or die situation for them. They will make it rain money on Izzie and China and pay all of the Bahamar workers' sallaries for a few years just to get these parties to make nice. Sucks for the Government and sucks for us the taxpayers.

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crabman 5 years, 2 months ago

Lions and Tigers and Bears Oh My!!!!!

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John 5 years, 2 months ago

Perry should take Hubert Ingraham with him on this one. Once he roll them eyes over his glasses at them Chinese and Sarkis Izmirilin, Bah Mar will be open next week. Take Hubert Minnis,Brave Davis and Branville for the teaching moment. Hubert will tell them"get the buildings finished and get Bah Mar open else all y'all carry ya arses (out the Bahamas). Real talk! The waiting game is over.

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TalRussell 5 years, 2 months ago

Comrade didn't you get voters 2012 memo, Papa Hubert can still collect he taxpayers pensions but only ones left scare by rolling them eyes, is to frighten them fishes, clear out sea waters up in Cooper's Town.

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watcher 5 years, 2 months ago

So Mr Christie announces that there will be talks between all parties. In light of him saying just this week that one of the parties is (in his opinion) mentally unsound, I'd love to be a fly-on-the-wall when the meetings do take take place. Just how badly do we all think Christie will be at mediating ?

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crabman 5 years, 2 months ago

總理佩里克里斯蒂

Get used to these characters

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John 5 years, 2 months ago

The middle finger is still understood worldwide

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 2 months ago

By filing for bankruptcy protection in Delaware, Sarkis Izmirlian successfully forced Christie to play his hand and, as Sarkis had suspected, all of Christie's cards came up yellow. Both CCA and CEXIMB were not giving the developer the time of day as evidenced by their failure to address legitimate concerns raised about the quality, cost and timing for completion of the construction project. It had become very apparent to Sarkis that CCA and CEXIMB had decided to "financially squeeze" him and his family and that these two Chinese enterprises were emboldened to do so by their knowledge that they had the Christie-led PLP government in their pocket, covering their back. The Izmirlian family at least now know (and can easily demonstrate to the Delaware bankruptcy court) that their super majority controlling equity interest in the Baha Mar development project cannot receive a fair hearing on any legal dispute with CCA and/or CEXIMB in the courts of the Bahamas. With the Christie-led PLP government snugly in bed with the Chinese, and with Allyson Maynard-Gibson wielding undue influence on behalf of Christie over the courts of the Bahamas, Sarkis has a much clearer understanding of the way forward to minimize the losses for his family in this debacle that will undoubtedly send a strong warning to all future investors in the Bahamas. Christie (like his new Chinese friends) has acted in bad faith against the interests of the Izmirlian family and the Bahamian people.

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Reality_Check 5 years, 2 months ago

The Christie-led PLP government first sells out Bahamians to the racketeering mobsters behind the gaming web shops.... and now the Izmirlian family and the Bahamian people get thrown under the yellow bus! Meanwhile, Uncle Sam is rapidly pivoting towards the opening up of Cuba as the DOJ & DHLS assiduously tighten the nooses they have put around the necks of the miscreants in the Bahamian government who have put the Chinese at the very door step of the U.S. This is all going to play out in a most interesting way and, unfortunately, some are going to learn the hard way that bad behavior which jeopardizes the national security interests of the U.S. never gets excused!

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 years, 2 months ago

Sadly though, it is the Bahamian people who are going to suffer the most as all of this plays out!

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John 5 years, 2 months ago

The Chinese economy is in a slump and definitely headed for a recession. Stocks on the Chinese market have fallen by 30% in just one month and has caused so much concern that persons who own more than 5% of the shares of any company are urged not to trade their stocks for the next six months. Both imports and exports are down significantly to China and is causing concern to the government. Remember when the rest of the world was in recession China had a booming economy. Maybe it's their turn now.

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BahamaPundit 5 years, 2 months ago

Likely outcome of negotiations: Bah Gov agrees to pay 300 million to make repares and get Bahamar ready for opening in early 2016. Additional expenses: Bah Gov may also agree to pay salaries of Bahamar staff to retain them during delay between opening in early 2016. Total cost to tax payers: aprox 350 to 400 million.

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