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Beijing Talks Off To A Rocky Start

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

NEGOTIATIONS in Beijing are believed to have got off to a rocky start over the weekend with Baha Mar representatives refusing to attend meetings amid claims that general contractor China Construction America was not operating in good faith.

According to a source, the resort has major frustrations with the process which they feel has been one-sided and deeply flawed. The team is understood not to have been present at yesterday afternoon’s negotiations, according to the source, who revealed that the resort was only willing to resume talks if it receives a counter-offer on terms outlined in a revised Memorandum of Understanding put forward by CCA.

The resort is understood to have raised grave concerns about the intent of the four-party negotiations, which appeared to be siding with a general contractor that remained inflexible and disregarding Baha Mar’s efforts to achieve a consensus.

Prime Minister Perry Christie announced on Friday that a government delegation led by Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson would return to China for the resumption of negotiations “aimed at the early completion and opening of the Baha Mar resort”.

This is the second time the delegation will join representatives of Baha Mar, China Construction and China Export Import Bank in Beijing.

Following the earlier visit, Mrs Maynard-Gibson filed a winding-up petition in the Supreme Court after those negotiations reached a stalemate.

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.

In its response, Baha Mar accused Mr Christie of misleading the country over the details of ongoing discussions in China and further jeopardising the future of the $3.5bn mega resort.

Baha Mar, the government, CCA and China Export-Import Bank will be back in the Supreme Court for a hearing on the winding-up petition on July 31.

In a letter to EXIM Bank president Liu Liange on Thursday, Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian said the petition would create “terrible uncertainties”, further delaying the resort’s opening and damaging the country’s economy.

Mr Izmirlian argues that liquidation of the complex project would negatively impact or cancel its multiple management contracts with major international hotel brands, and multiple leases with retailers and other operators – a move that would make it impossible to operate the resort in the short term even if it were completed.

In his statement on Friday, Mr Christie said: “Assuring the prompt resumption, completion and opening of the development is fundamental to protecting our national interest. The most effective way to preserve the livelihood of Baha Mar’s workers, protect investors and realise the project’s great economic promise for all the Bahamas is to ensure the completion and opening of Baha Mar as soon as possible.”

Noting that most of the parties would be represented in Beijing by persons with executive authority, Mr Christie said that it would be helpful to the negotiating process to have Sarkis Izmirlian present in person as Baha Mar’s chief decision-maker.

Baha Mar is represented in Beijing by Tom Dunlap, its president.

“Should the parties reach an agreement, the parties can get back to the completion and opening of the resort without further litigation or other delay,” the Prime Minister added.

“If no agreement is reached, there will still be the option of a restructuring and relaunch of the project under the authority of a provisional liquidator and the supervision of our Supreme Court, if the court is minded to so order after hearing from all sides.

“The preferred solution, however, would obviously be an amicable out-of-court settlement between all the parties.”

In addition to the Attorney General, the Government’s delegation includes Sir Baltron Bethel, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister; Commander (retired) Loren Klein, Consultant to the Office of the Attorney General; Shari Moxey, Office of the Attorney General; and Kristel Thompson Bethel, Office of the Prime Minister.

Comments

sheeprunner12 6 years, 5 months ago

This thing has been rocky from the first time Izzy cuss out Perry right before 2007 election

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asiseeit 6 years, 5 months ago

It seems to me that CCA needs to be replaced. They are the problem, missing opening dates twice. Never mind their workers taking a nanny in the elevator shafts on a regular, their work is just not world class. Let Bahamian contractors come in and do what needs to be done. CCA is a failure just like the PLP, time to get rid of both!

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asiseeit 6 years, 5 months ago

The problem and development are here in the Bahamas, why are these people not meeting here? Oh i forgot, the master summons the minions, not the other way around!

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sheeprunner12 6 years, 5 months ago

It is high time to find a neutral arbitrator ............. Izzy, Bahamas Govt, Chinese Govt ............. say a former UN Secretary General???????

This case is going to set a precedent in international corporate law

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sansoucireader 6 years, 5 months ago

Asian cultures do not respect females and sure won't sit down with them to discuss business/deals. Don't y'all know that?! Replace Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson as the 'head honcho' with a male, and the people in China might be interested in meeting. I am a 1000% feminist and believe in equal opportunities for all sexes, but you really have to know the country & culture you're dealing with. Sheer stupidity that the Bahamas would return to China with a female in charge; China must think we're 'weak'.

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Emac 6 years, 5 months ago

You have a very valid point.

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BahamaPundit 6 years, 5 months ago

I'm siding with Bahamar on this one. CCA, to my mind, has shown itself to be the dark horse. Firstly, they did not construct the building to code. That is a huge mistake for a contractor to make and points to a negligent state of mind. Secondly, they placed their workers on "go slow" and failed to complete the building on time, missing two openings. As a shareholder, even if CCA was not paid to their satisfaction, they should have completed the building out of pride and as a sign of good faith to the Bahamas Government. They could have always recouped funds after the project was completed saving Bahamar's and their own reputation in the process. Thirdly, they did not use expert craftsmen and apply satisfactory finishings to the interiors. This, again, points to a negligent state of mind. It is clear that Bahamar is being mistreated based on the facts I've been provided. CCA should be sued for negligence and The Bahamas Government should keep its nose out of this private matter. Even if jobs are lost and the project is delayed by a year or two, the Bahamas Government has no right meddling in this affair and justice must favor the injured party, which appears to be Bahamar.

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BahamaPundit 6 years, 5 months ago

The real story in this matter is a financially desperate government that in its desperation put all its eggs into one basket. Now, they are desperately rushing around and trying to bend the law in the process. Bahamar should not be prejudiced and treated unfairly, just because our government is desperate. The truth of the matter is they are desperate not because of Bahamar, but because they have failed to plan and budget their affairs. They have wasted the people's money on frivolous projects and cronies. Now, they want to blame everything on Bahamar. Sorry, it doesn't work that way. No country can rely on a single project for its economic health. That is a very foolish and crazy thing to do. The real lesson here is that Bahamar is not the problem; the Bahamas Government is.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 6 years, 5 months ago

The DOJ with the help of the FBI and NSA are likely investigating highly confidential assertions made by a whistle-blower and backed by evidence that CCA should be charged with criminal wrong doing under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The following summary of this particular Act is posted on the DOJ website: "The Foreign Corrupt Practices Act of 1977, as amended, 15 U.S.C. §§ 78dd-1, et seq. ("FCPA"), was enacted for the purpose of making it unlawful for certain classes of persons and entities to make payments to foreign government officials to assist in obtaining or retaining business. Specifically, the anti-bribery provisions of the FCPA prohibit the willful use of the mails or any means of instrumentality of interstate commerce corruptly in furtherance of any offer, payment, promise to pay, or authorization of the payment of money or anything of value to any person, while knowing that all or a portion of such money or thing of value will be offered, given or promised, directly or indirectly, to a foreign official to influence the foreign official in his or her official capacity, induce the foreign official to do or omit to do an act in violation of his or her lawful duty, or to secure any improper advantage in order to assist in obtaining or retaining business for or with, or directing business to, any person."

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Reality_Check 6 years, 5 months ago

This would explain a lot of things. Ever since the Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection filing by Baha Mar, many of us have been scratching our heads wondering why on earth has the Christie-led PLP government been so eager to blindly align itself with the interests of CCA in the ongoing dispute....to the extent of initiating actions clearly detrimental to the resolution of the dispute and possibly fatal to the completion of the project. Ruffin's recent appearance on the scene is akin to a big vulture having been invited by his former attorney (Christie) to feast on what Christie believes will become a feeding frenzy on a juicy carcass as a result of the harmful actions taken by the Bahamian government against the interests of Baha Mar and the Izmirlian family.

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crabman 6 years, 5 months ago

To all those "hard working" government officials in China, please pick up my Clico money on your way out.

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