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PM cannot say when Baha Mar will be open

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Perry Christie said despite meeting with Baha Mar executives “every single day” over continuing challenges with completion of the $3.5bn project, only resort officials can now say when the mega resort will open.

On Tuesday, Mr Christie told The Tribune that he was “consumed” by the resort’s opening delay as he confirmed that work on West Bay Street’s mega-resort had come to a standstill.

When asked yesterday if he could update the public on whether an opening date for the resort was imminent, Mr Christie replied: “This is a major matter going on… only the Baha Mar people could tell you that and speak to the opening date.”

He spoke briefly to reporters as he left the House of Assembly following the morning session where members of Parliament opened the 2015/2016 budget debate.

During his budget communication last week, Mr Christie told parliamentarians that Baha Mar’s developer was nearing an end to talks with its general contractor on the completion of the project and the announcement of the resort’s opening date. However, he only gave the project a brief mention in his nearly three-hour long speech.

At the time he said: “This single phase development is the largest of its kind in this hemisphere (and) has already hired 2,000 new employees and will ramp up further, increasing to 5,000 when fully operational.”

“I remain fully engaged with the developer, general contractor, the Chinese government and the hotel operators in bringing this project to a successful conclusion at the earliest possible time,” the prime minister added.

Mr Christie had said earlier that the developer – the Izmirlian family – wishes to finalise a precise date for the project’s completion while the contractor, China Construction America (CCA), wants instalment payments.

Tribune Business revealed exclusively in April that China Construction had “slowed down” its work on the Baha Mar project due to a dispute with the developer over how much it should have been paid in February.

Mr Christie said he acted as mediator in the dispute, adding that he has emphasised to the relevant parties that the project is very important to the progress of this country.

Baha Mar is five months behind its December 2014 opening date and has missed a March 27 soft opening. The property was finally expected to open in May, but issues with the resort’s main contractor have contributed to continued delays.

In a statement earlier this year, Baha Mar criticised the performance of China Construction, revealing that work at the property had not met the expected “standards of excellence” and was, therefore, not acceptable.

Baha Mar added that it had relied on statements from its construction manager and lead contractor when it had earlier announced a March 27 opening date.

Since then a new opening date has not been provided.

Earlier this month, The Tribune visited Baha Mar’s website to find that the earliest available date for booking accommodations was now September 8.

Meanwhile, hundreds of employees of the resort have been reassigned from the jobs for which they were hired and asked to perform different activities both within the resort and around the island, including cleaning up public beaches.

Comments

GrassRoot 8 years, 9 months ago

I head PGM needs another term to be able to give us this answers.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 years, 9 months ago

Christie owns lock stock and barrel the outcome of the Baha Mar project in terms of its economic implications for our country. The failure of Baha Mar and the many years of costly litigation that would follow would be the defining moment and pitiful legacy of Perry Christie who is now known to be hands down by far the most incompetent Prime Minister our country has ever had and could possibly ever have! Christie's great love affair with the Chinese will no doubt pay off handsomely for Christie himself and his few select political friends and business cronies, but, as for the Bahamian people at large, the failure of Baha Mar would seriously scar their standard of living and quality of life for generations to come.

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Tommy77 8 years, 8 months ago

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duppyVAT 8 years, 9 months ago

Well Perry has to accept responsibility for that white elephant on Cable Beach ........ karma is a bitch .............. he bragged that he brought the Chinese Stadium and he brought the Chinese Hotel .............. its his legacy ............. you dont hear HAI running around talking about legacy (for good or bad).

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Reality_Check 8 years, 9 months ago

Finally Christie admits he has always been and still is entirely clueless about the main reasons why the Baha Mar project is now on the verge of becoming the largest real estate development disaster the Caribbean has ever seen and, indeed, one of the largest development blunders ever seen in the Western Hemisphere. The U.S. and international news media are going to have many a major field day investigating and covering all of the reasons why this project was allowed to get where it is today, thanks in large part to the hands-off lazy style of our Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Perry Christie, who found illegal web shops, a carnival, etc. to be much more suited to his main interests.

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ohdrap4 8 years, 9 months ago

the cartoon at the tribune today is masterful. that young man has become really good. i wish it was posted online.

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TalRussell 8 years, 9 months ago

Comrades all but for the warm bodies of the before mentioned 2,000 new employees hanging around, Baha Mar would be considered an awesome tourists ghost town ticketed attraction. Some would say even more profitable than Carnival 2015 turns out be.
In China they have entire cities like this - hardly a warm body in site, except government paid workers. And, you got's know them 2000 workers will end up costing taxpayers some pretty hefty lifting dollars,
Like in China, they does actually train you for good jobs, then they assign you brush sweet the public streets and weed other people's weeds.
Comrades I could not makes this up.
Thanks Papa Hubert for knowing better but you still approved Baha Ma.

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John 8 years, 9 months ago

It is unusual for a construction company to bring a project this far along, then fumble on the completion. Regardless of the underlying problems and conflicts, their credibility and reputation is on the line on the world stage. But least we forget the road building company, Jose Cartolones, came here after being fired and kicked out of Jamaica. They managed to finish the work here but over a year late and $100 million over budget

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Alltoomuch 8 years, 9 months ago

Haven't you heard about the Chinese and all the finished unlived in villages they have around the country?. So Bahamar isn't quite finished!! and how far over budget is that going to be?

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BahamaPundit 8 years, 9 months ago

I hope for the best, but WTF. How long is this place going to just sit around? Having seen the video of China's Empty Cities (thanks TalRussell), I'm beginning to understand the way China does construction. They build fast, cheap structures with little planning or care of the consequences if nobody chooses to live in them. It's as if they just build to build. Well, I hate to say it, but Bahamar looks just like the buildings in the China's Empty Cities video; it looks like it was just built to be built, with little aesthetic care or attention. Let's wait for a couple more months, but after a certain waiting period, the Government will have to intervene. I'm sorry to say it, but I would suggest it be knocked down and built differently. The land is just too valuable for a structure that is inferior. The sad part is, China has already moved on from this disaster. It is us that are living in the past by worrying about Bahamar. For China, Bahamar is just another empty city that didn't work out. Oh well.

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TalRussell 8 years, 9 months ago

Comrade BahamaPundit is it possible that Baha Mar is being stalled as a tactic for the Chinese to take control over Freeport? Place extreme pressure on the PLP cabinet to force them come on begging knees, then they will sign over the governmental rights to Freeport to the Chinese? These are beyond ruthless people to do business with. The Chinese have walked away from dozens of complete cities.

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banker 8 years, 8 months ago

Freeport is a failure because of the St. George family et al. Even though Hutchison Whampoa paid into the port and ship facilities, they are stymied by the Hawksbill Treaty. The St. George's are the most unenlightened business people ever, with the business skills of an era at least 50 years old. They have the shopkeeper mentality, and are selling a 50 year old product thinking that it is still the sexy 25 year-old something. They don't understand that the concept of a tax haven is almost dead.

As for the shipping in Freeport, it is a colossal failure. It should be a major hub, a shipbuilding/ship repair facility and very close to the terminus of the Panama Canal. Instead it is a dying, marginalised facility due to mismanagement of the entire Freeport concept.

Freeport reminds me of the very picturesque gas station on East Street. It has everything going for it -- lots of space for cars on a very crowded road, just two pumps, a repair facility, a very retro look, and they just can't make a go of it. Freeport is the same way.

My guess is that the Chinese really don't want Freeport. Another empty city.

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John 8 years, 9 months ago

I thought the hotels operating at BAh Mar were American companies and so the construction would be to their standards.

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BahamaPundit 8 years, 9 months ago

I think we all thought allot of things about this project, which weren't grounded in reality. Seems like most of it was built on a wish and a prayer with little research, oversight or attention to detail.

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JohnBuchanan 8 years, 8 months ago

The hotels are all owned by Baha Mar, Ltd. The hotel companies signed on as management companies only and delivered the brands (SLS, Rosewood and Hyatt). From a business perspective, Baha Mar is in control of everything. And that's the problem, since Izmirlian got in way, way over his head.

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TheMadHatter 8 years, 9 months ago

The REAL problem in this country (and I know many of you will laugh at this, but I'm serious) - is that we have TOO FEW members of parliament.

Because their number is low (less than 40) they are able to keep all sorts of things hush hush and do all sorts of tinkering that nobody knows about. Just look at all the stuff that was left out of this years budget - as ONE example.

Our Parliament should consist of 200 members. If that were the case, you would be able to meet with your MP, and he would have time for you. Also just a few MPs would not be able to SWING things however they want to.

The cost of their salaries is PEANUTS compared to what is currently accounted for as waste - not to mention all the tens of millions (hundreds) that never ever even come into the country because so many foreign investors look a what's happening and just laugh and go elsewhere.

TheMadHatter

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ObserverOfChaos 8 years, 8 months ago

Of course the buffoon can't say anything...cause he doesn't know anything! And who cares anyway if he does!? It would be lies anyway...

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duppyVAT 8 years, 8 months ago

The Bahamar project is the perfect example of why the citizens should have full access to information about government deals ......... BTC, BEC, Bahamasair, NAD, APD port, Freeport 2.0 and now Bahamar ........ are all shrouded in political mystery .................. at our expense

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