By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
BAHA Mar has accused Prime Minister Perry Christie of misleading the country over the details of ongoing discussions in China and further jeopardising the future of the $3.5bn mega resort.
In a statement today, the resort called the government's late night announcement that it would seek to liquidate the stalled project an unnecessary and reactionary distraction that would put both its staff and assets at risk.
The resort insisted that it was still engaged in good faith negotiations with its general contractor, China State Construction America (CCA), and lender, the Export Import Bank of China.
"The discussions were not ended," the statement read, "the Government left the ongoing discussions to follow its own path rather than to continue to act in a mediator capacity between the private parties as it had announced it would do.
"Baha Mar has not refused to dismiss the Chapter 11. We have agreed to dismiss the case as soon as parties have a mutually-beneficial binding agreement to the benefit of all parties, an interest the Government should share, rather than taking actions that risk irreparably damaging the discussions."
Mr Christie announced that Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson had filed a winding up petition in the Supreme Court after negotiations in China had reached a stalemate, in a national address last night.
The Prime Minister said the best path for the country would be to take the fate of the project out of the hands of its developer Sarkis Izmirlian and put it under the supervision of the Bahamian court system and appoint liquidators. Mr Christie explained that talks in Beijing broke down because the resort refused to drop both its Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing and legal action against CCA in the United Kingdom.
The Baha Mar statement continued: "We urge the Government of The Bahamas not to seize private party assets and to allow the private parties in what is after all a commercial enterprise to come to an agreement that would allow for the completion and opening of Baha Mar as soon as possible, as the Government has publically and explicitly urged.
"For our part," it added, "Baha Mar is evaluating its alternatives with respect to addressing the Government's precipitous action and will continue to move forward with its ongoing appropriate efforts to position the resort to be properly completed and opened successfully as soon as possible.”
State Minister for Legal Affairs Damien Gomez fired back at the resort, insisting that the government's team did not leave Beijing prematurely.
"We left when the Chinese left," he told The Tribune today. "The Chinese said that they [Baha Mar] were just wasting time. They [Baha Mar] have written them two letters and they are putting forward positions that were already disposed of during talks. You can't believe anything they are saying at this point."
Read Baha Mar's full statement HERE