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PM: Govt won’t take sides

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Prime Minister Perry Christie with Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian during a tour of the site last year.

By TANEKA THOMPSON

Tribune News Editor

tmthompson@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Perry Christie last night said the government will not take any sides in the ongoing dispute between Baha Mar and its Chinese financiers, as the Official Opposition reacted with “shock” over the mega-resort’s Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing in the United States yesterday.

Mr Christie pledged, in a statement, that the government will continue to help mediate talks between all parties involved and ensure that the interests of Bahamian workers are given priority.

He added that Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson is currently reviewing Baha Mar’s bankruptcy filing and is in discussions with the government’s US and UK attorneys on the implications of the decision.

“I note the statement that has been given today by Mr Sarkis Izmirlian that he and the Baha Mar group remain committed to the pursuit of an early and definitive settlement of their outstanding differences with the lender and general contractor to the Baha Mar resort,” Mr Christie said.

“The government continues to be available to all the parties to assist in the mediation and resolution of their differences. In doing so, however, the government will not be taking anyone’s side. Instead, the government will at all times continue to optimise its value as a mediator between the parties so as to ensure that the interests of Bahamian workers and indeed the interests of the nation as a whole are accorded primacy at all times.

“The government has taken note of certain legal initiatives that have been taken by Baha Mar in the courts of the United States to secure creditor protection. The Attorney General is presently reviewing these initiatives and their implications in conjunction with the government’s US and UK attorneys. Until this review has been completed, it would obviously not be appropriate to make any further comment on this aspect of the matter.”

Mr Christie said the government remains hopeful that the resort will open soon and fulfill its “promise as an important new dimension” in the tourism product.

Yesterday, Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said the bankruptcy filing has caused “disquiet” and “alarm.”

“The Free National Movement deeply regrets that matters have come to such a pass and is particularly concerned about the well-being and job security of the thousands of Bahamians presently employed by Baha Mar and the plight faced by the many thousands more Bahamians who have looked to Baha Mar as their means of escape from the harsh circumstances of chronic and high unemployment levels, most particularly thousands of young Bahamians,” Dr Minnis said.

He added that the party will hold a press conference today about its concerns.

This year, Mr Christie has been accused of sending mixed messages on Baha Mar and not working hard enough to ensure the property opens as soon as possible.

The news of the bankruptcy came after weeks of suggestions from Mr Christie that a resolution was pending to the dispute between Baha Mar and general contractor China Construction America.

Two weeks ago Mr Christie said he had received “encouraging” news about the Baha Mar deadlock.

At the time, on June 17, he said he planned to meet with Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian to discuss the good news, upon the latter’s return from China for talks with the resort’s financier, China Export-Import Bank.

“It’s happening, good news is happening right now,” Mr Christie told reporters. “I’m going to make a call right now to see whether he (Izmirlian) has landed.”

On May 11, he expressed optimism after mediating a meeting with Baha Mar, China Construction America and the Chinese ambassador to the Bahamas.

“I articulated a position that I think and that I hope will result shortly in a shared position on the part of all of us, which will give priority to the interests of the Bahamian people in addition to, of court, the interests and reputation of the Izmirlian family and the China Construction company,” he said at the time.

On Sunday, Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell, said a Baha Mar deal was “on the table”.

The bankruptcy appeared to have caught the government by surprise, with several Cabinet ministers telling The Tribune that they were not pre-warned and only heard about the matter when the news broke yesterday.

Baha Mar’s opening has been delayed three times. The property was originally expected to open in December 2014.

Comments

GrassRoot 8 years, 7 months ago

Well THAT was to expected, how about taking the side of the Bahamian people? CCA and EXIM Bank clearly delayed the process, because they don't care about the Bahamian economy. I.S. wants to get Baha Mar up and running, so I would think that is in the best interest of all of us, incl. the Government.

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TalRussell 8 years, 7 months ago

Comrades who da PLP Cabinet thinks they're fooling, cuz they're first ones jump from sinking bankrupt Baha Mar "Nation's" ship.

.............//https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLKnp...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sLKnp...

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proudloudandfnm 8 years, 7 months ago

Won't take sides!?!?!?

5000 jobs on the line moron. You better get ya ass in there and fins out what's going on and make the damned guilty party do what is necessary. You are not an insurance salesman. Your job is to protect us. If that means you must take sides then friggin TAKE SIDES!!!

We are in trouble with this amateur in OPM....

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Economist 8 years, 7 months ago

In other words "I am in way over my head. I never did understand the funding or the way this project was set up. I don't know what to do."

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Zakary 8 years, 7 months ago

  • In other words "I am in way over my head. I never did understand the funding or the way this project was set up. I don't know what to do."

You’re so right and now they’re trying to wash their hands clean of this mess. “Not taking sides” happens to be the worst thing to say right now.

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TalRussell 8 years, 7 months ago

Comrades don't pay much attention PM and CEO Izmirlian, cuz there is nothing more than a filing for bankruptcy protection and we will have to WAIT for an actual hearing before a judge, before we will know, how Baha Mar's "Nation's" bankruptcy will go down?

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asiseeit 8 years, 7 months ago

Is the P.M. just telling the people the government is between a rock and a hard place? It is obvious the Chinese do not give a dam about Bahamians, why would they? I would think the Izzi's have more to lose and therefore are the better bet. No matter how it is cut, The Bahamas is the one that will lose. This is nothing to China, they have ghost city's galore, what is one more in a distant land? A very shabby situation, maybe now the Bahamian people will wake the hell up,Cuba coming for we ting's!

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duppyVAT 8 years, 7 months ago

Perry needs to admit his failure .......... resign as PM............ prorogue the House ...........and call an election for September ............. and let the next generation take over and lead us out of this PLP/FNM mess ........................ we are the "Greece" of the Western Hemisphere today

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Clamshell 8 years, 7 months ago

No comment? Two thousand Bahamians laid off and the government can't comment until a "review" of the issue? About $90 million in annual payroll lost and the government's response is "No comment"?

Cowards. Utter, despicable cowards.

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GrassRoot 8 years, 7 months ago

they just shut, like my stereo, when BEC is not performing. Where are Obie, Mitchell, Gibson, DPM, Miller?

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TalRussell 8 years, 7 months ago

Comrade Minister Freddy, if i were you and a serious 2017 PM hopeful, I would stay a hell's distance as far away from da Baha Mar "Nation's," bankruptcy as distantly possible, especially since it does comes with PM disadvantages.

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by TalRussell

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DillyTree 8 years, 7 months ago

Won't take sides???? The Bahamas government is already so damn compromised on both sides, they haven't got a shred of credibility in any case..

Does anyone remember the untold millions in loans Perry Christie went begging to China for? Come to think of it, has he ever disclosed the full terms and conditions of those loans? Umm, no. Sure would like to know, as would many Bahamians.

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Economist 8 years, 7 months ago

Let's see "Ginn" in Westend....bust.....

"Baha Mar" in Nassau.....bust.....

Where was it Inagua...never got off the ground.

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asiseeit 8 years, 7 months ago

Anchor projects, more like anchors around the neck of The Bahamas and we in the deep end of the pool. These massive projects do not fit with our little Nation, no matter how you cut it. Look at what has been done to poor Bimini, that island is a subburb of Miami. How those people let the government take their island and lifestyle away from them without a peep is beyond me.

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Sickened 8 years, 7 months ago

Fully agree. I would think that 50 boutique (25-50 room) hotels scattered all across our beautiful islands would be FAR better then one colossal hotel. Think of the number of contractors that would be hired on all of the islands. The staff needed on all of the islands. The extra houses, food stores, doctors, offices, shipping that would be needed on/for all of these islands.

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EnoughIsEnough 8 years, 7 months ago

wow. we must be related! my thoughts exactly!!

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concernedcitizen 8 years, 7 months ago

Baha mar was too big ,.The problem with 25 to fifty room hotels b/c of our labor cost , ineffiencies ,theft, power cost with what you have to charge per room its too steep and you don,t make money ..The only ones that do ,Abaco ,or marinas like Staniel cay is where there are high end yacths ,Marlin tournaments

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duppyVAT 8 years, 7 months ago

THATS THE WAY TO GO ............ COST, GREEN ENERGY, INTIMACY AND RESILIENCE ............. PLUS GET SOME JOBS IN THE OTHER ISLANDS

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 years, 7 months ago

Christie has taken the definition of an incompetent bungling lazy idiot to a whole new level. Furthermore his interests have always been aligned with the interests of his corrupt elitist political friends and business cronies and never with the interests of the Bahamian people. It's so absurd to hear him say that he has Allyson Maynard-Gibson reviewing the Court filings made in Delaware and the UK by representatives for the Izmirlian family's business interests in the Baha Mar project. Why doesn't Christie know by now that the Bahamian people have no faith in Maynard-Gibson, better known as the Wicked Witch of the West, doing anything right by them? Just how out of touch with reality can this man possibly be? Anything the Wicked Witch of the West meddles in for whatever purpose (usually though for her own personal benefit in some devious way) invites plenty trouble for the Bahamian people. Next thing we will learn is that her meddlesome actions have caused the Bahamas government to be named in related legal actions at great expense to honest hardworking Bahamian taxpayers.

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Reality_Check 8 years, 7 months ago

This comment was removed by the site staff for violation of the usage agreement.

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Sickened 8 years, 7 months ago

Here's what I suggest. Every time we drive by Christie's house either honk your horn for a few seconds or stop by the gate and yell out "Resign already" or some other more inflammatory remark that he deserves to hear. After a few days/weeks/months of this perhaps he will get the message.

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TalRussell 8 years, 7 months ago

Comrade you sound like one of da talk show hosts saying they can understand why people turn to violence. Rethink cuz encouraging protestors to head for a yelling match with policeman's security at the gate residence of nation's PM, can lead to violence.

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EnoughIsEnough 8 years, 7 months ago

now this i can definitely do!!! or we could hire a drone to drop stickies in his yard demanding his resignation...

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duppyVAT 8 years, 7 months ago

GOOD IDEA .................. HONK FOR PERRY TO RESIGN NOWWWW!!!!!!!!

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ThisIsOurs 8 years, 7 months ago

PM:"govt will sit on its hands and do nothing, hoping for a bigger scandal to come along to switch the story" #BEC #BAMSI #PHA #Alfred Gray #UR #Cuban abuse scandal #Junkanoo Carnival 12 million + embezzling"

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banker 8 years, 7 months ago

As a Bahamian, I would be afraid of Allyson Maynard Gibson getting legal opinion. She has already shown herself to be corrupt scum that is for sale to the highest bidder. But this is why her meddling could be disastrous.

The reason that Prime Minister Crisco-Butt is not taking sides, is that he has been loaned money by the Chinese, and he has been to China and forged some sort of deals that involves mortgaging our patrimony to assuage the voracious spending of his government.

So he is caught between a rock and a hard place, and when push comes to shove, he wants to keep the money taps open from the Chinese to the government and doesn't give a damn if he burns the Izmirlians and the tourist industry.

We already know what he thinks of the Izmirlians when he spatted with them about money owed.

Christie -- umm I mean Crisco-Butt already is on the side of the Chinese, so that slimey Attorney General Allyson Mayonnaise Gibson is trying to see if the bankruptcy can be moved to the Bahamas so that it can be influenced by the government in favour of their friends and cronies.

That is the reality that we live in. The Prime Minister sucks on a Chinese teat so he will not do what is in the best interests of the Bahamas.

In a perfect world, there will come a day when they would pay for their sins against the country in the same way that Myles Munroe was paid back by karma for fleecing the flock. It would be nice to see Christie and his cabinet as guests of Fox Hill.

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EasternGate 8 years, 7 months ago

So Perry ain't gat no horse in this Race? What more can you expect from the "Fastest Fart" in the West, but PLP Shit!

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Reality_Check 8 years, 7 months ago

EMPHASIS TO KEY POINT MADE BY "BANKER" IN EARLIER COMMENT TO THIS ARTICLE: Sarkis Izmirlian and his legal representatives outside of the Bahamas must always be mindful of the fact that Perry Christie and his Cabinet are as firmly in bed with the Chinese as they are with the racketeering mobsters behind the 'illegal' gambling houses now operating with impunity on just about every street corner in our country today. Christie, Davis, Wilchcombe and Maynard-Gibson in particular should be seen as being, for all intents and purposes, agents of the Chinese when it comes to that ruthless foreign government's business and other interests in the Bahamas. It is therefore almost impossible for Sarkis/Baha Mar to get an unbiased fair hearing before any court (judge) in the Bahamas on any matter pertaining to the legal actions they have initiated outside of the Bahamas. Sarkis/Baha Mar and their legal representatives must remain very wary of this fact. Being as dependent as the financially weak Bahamas now is on foreign direct investment from China, the lead legal representatives of Sarkis/Baha Mar in the U.S. and U.K. can expect for the Christie-led PLP government and the Attorney-General of The Bahamas (Allyson Maynard-Gibson) to push very hard for the Bahamian courts to have jurisdiction over the matters under dispute and now the subject of asserted claims. Their efforts to do so must be vigorously thwarted or the Chinese will end up obtaining the home field advantage in the Bahamian court system.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 8 years, 7 months ago

As I have said time and time again, the rightful legacy and epitaph of Perry Christie can only most deservedly be: "No single Bahamian has ever caused, nor will ever cause, more harm to the Bahamas than Perry G. Christie."

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happyfly 8 years, 7 months ago

If there is one thing you can count on is this government not doing a God Damn thing for the majority of people in this country

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proudloudandfnm 8 years, 7 months ago

Time for the PLP to go.....

I really don't like Minnis as leader but man.... ANYONE could do a better job than these rank amateurs.....

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banker 8 years, 7 months ago

Just thinking out loud here. Suppose the FNM were to introduce a motion of non-confidence over Baha Mar.

They would be vociferously opposed by the corrupt bootlickers and pond scum of: Crisco-Butt, Parry,

Davis, Phull-up,

Fitzgerald, Jeromeo ,

Forbes, Prickwell,

Gibson, Shame,

Gomez, Dame ,

Griffen Melanoma,

Halitosis, Michael,

Hanna Martin, Blemish,

Mitchell, Fweddie,

Nottage Barnyard,

Strachan, Hopeless,

Bilgecombe, Obeah,

That makes 13 members voting against non-confidence to get rid of the current pond scum infesting Parliament.

But let's suppose there is a shred of humanity, dignity, patriotism and right thinking in the following list of PLP young turks and back benchers:

Darville ,

Dorsett,

Forbes, Arnold,

Perry Gomez,

Johnson,

Rolle Khaalis,

Rollins,

Major Kendal,

Miller,

If six of the above could be convinced to vote with their heads, hearts and patriotism, combined with the eight votes below:

Minnis,

Chipman,

Grant,

Lightbourn,

Turner-Butler,

Key,

Turnquest,

Neilly,

... well we could excise the PLP cancer infesting the Bahamas today. And we could do it before 2017.

I don't for one minute though, think it will happen, because the electorate is too dumb to know what is good for them, and those that know better are profiting from the dysfunction and corruption. So sad for The Bahamas. No where to go but down.

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asiseeit 8 years, 7 months ago

So our government is directed by the numbers racket, a communist country, and a polyester pusher. Sounds about right. What a sad state of affairs, the first PLP government gave this nation the label "nation for sale", the second PLP government was to busy being corrupt to do anything, and now the third PLP government has completed SLOP's vision and sold us out, lock, stock, and barrel. YIPPE, we did not even make 50 years of independence, gotta be some sort of record!

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duppyVAT 8 years, 7 months ago

BOY YOU REALLY TOUCHING A RAW NERVE HERE .............. BANKER IS AT LEAST HOPING AGAINST HOPE

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