THE contractor hired to build Baha Mar has offered to invest $100m in the resort as the row over its stalled progress continues.
In a late-night press statement, CCA Bahamas Ltd, made the pledge while also hitting out at Baha Mar for seeking to pin the blame for problems at the resort on the contractor.
The contractor said: “To demonstrate our strong confidence in the project and further reinforce our continued commitment to completing Baha Mar, we have offered to invest an additional $100m in Baha Mar Ltd (BML) and provide a guarantee of $175m to the China Export Import Bank (China Exim Bank) in
connection with China Exim Bank’s new $200m loan facility to BML.”
The statement added: “Completing Baha Mar is a major priority for our company. It is the largest project of its kind in the history of the Caribbean and a national priority for the people and government of The Bahamas.”
As talks in Beijing continue between Baha Mar – the developer – and both the contractor and the China Exim Bank, CCA Bahamas said it “continued to make every effort to work diligently and constructively with the Bahamian government, China Exim Bank, and Baha Mar Ltd, to reach a swift resolution that will enable work to restart on the Baha Mar project”.
The contractor also denied ever having any development responsibilities at Baha Mar, with their role limited to that of a construction contractor. The statement added: “In an effort to resurrect Baha Mar, our company went above and beyond the obligations of a traditional construction contractor and made a minority equity investment of $150m (preferred shares) in BML which was indispensable to the funding of the project.”
The statement added that there was a firm, binding contract in place with Baha Mar and claimed that BML had failed to pay the normal monthly construction progress payments of approximately $72m for the first five months of 2015 and had not honoured requests for additional payments of about $70m for construction change orders.
Instead, the contractor pinned the blame for the bankruptcy on Baha Mar itself, saying: “BML is bankrupt because it repeatedly made mistakes in the development of Baha Mar. Their attempts to place blame on CCA Bahamas are self-serving explanations to deflect attention from their own negligence and mismanagement of the resort’s development. However, despite their serial missteps and purposeful avoidance of its contractual payment obligations, we are once again offering to provide financial assistance to help save Baha Mar and create thousands of jobs for the Bahamian people.”
The contractor said that in order to satisfy China Exim Bank’s call for a guarantee of the new loan facility, they have asked BML to provide a similar guarantee, adding: “Mr Izmirlian has categorically rejected our reasonable request for a counter guarantee — one which would put the Baha Mar resort project back on track for completion.”
Instead, the contractor claims that Baha Mar has demanded that the contractor halve the value of its existing equity investment ($150m of preferred shares) to $75m, and also requested that the interest rate on its investment be reduced to zero.
Concluding, the contractor said: “CCA Bahamas’ expertise and historical oversight of the Baha Mar project is essential to successfully completing the resort as quickly as possible, and putting Bahamians back to work. While BML continues to be unwilling to reach a mutually beneficial agreement, our commitment to supporting the Bahamian government and the people of The Bahamas has not waned. We will continue to work closely with any and all appropriate parties to reach a viable plan in order to expeditiously open this landmark resort.”