By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts blasted FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis’ national address on the ongoing Baha Mar debacle as “disjointed, embarrassing and incessant babbling.”
In a scathing critique of Dr Minnis’ televised speech on Sunday night, Mr Roberts said the opposition leader should have met with Prime Minister Perry Christie over the issue when invited, if he was truly interested in the fate of the stalled project and the interests of the Bahamian people.
He said the PLP was “amused” by the taped broadcast, which he said was inaccurate, sloppy and repetitive.
“Bahamians are advised and will do well to be dismissive of and reject out of hand the misinformation, political posturing and bluster of Dr Minnis,” Mr Roberts said.
“He has proven to be ignorant of the facts surrounding Baha Mar; he has proven that he has no interest in finding out the facts; and has clearly shown that his only interest in this is to exploit the same to further his narrow political interests.”
Mr Roberts added: “This is disgraceful and unseemly. Minnis is clueless and out of his depth as a leader.”
During his address, Dr Minnis expressed “deep concern” over the “failure” of Baha Mar and Chinese officials to reach a satisfactory agreement on the fate of the project, and called for the relevant parties to negotiate an “out of court” settlement of their disputes to ensure the successful completion of the resort.
He also called for Mr Christie to explain the “full ramifications” of the government’s winding up petition against Baha Mar, meant to take the fate of the stalled $3.5b project out of the hands of its developer Sarkis Izmirlian and put it under the supervision of the Bahamian court system and provisional liquidators.
Dr Minnis said that he respected the decision, but insisted that the ordeal was a “teachable moment” concerning the need to limit the country’s dependence on mega anchor projects.
However, Mr Roberts said the facts surrounding Baha Mar were “patently transparent,” adding that every policy decision made by the government was a matter of public record.
“There is none so blind as those who stubbornly refuse to see,” he said.
“The facts are that the developer, the general contractor and project financier have all asked the prime minister to intervene in this matter, effectively reposing their trust and confidence in the government of the Bahamas and its leader, Perry Christie.”
Mr Roberts added: “Putting Bahamians first, the government’s latest strategic move is designed to facilitate the completion and opening of the resort in a timely manner.”
“The PLP applauds the government’s strength of leadership and decisiveness and supports this latest policy position as being the best course of action for the future of the resort, the wellbeing of the Bahamian people and is a positive step in protecting the international reputation of The Bahamas.”
Shortly after Baha Mar filed for bankruptcy in the United States, Mr Christie invited Dr Minnis for a briefing on the resort.
While Dr Minnis ultimately accepted the offer, the meeting never happened. The FNM leader accused Mr Christie of being an hour late for the scheduled sit-down, while the prime minister suggested that Dr Minnis had been uncooperative in scheduling a time that both men could meet.