The Opposition’s deputy leader yesterday expressed concern over Baha Mar slamming China State Construction, the lead contractor for its $3.5 billion development, and questioned whether there were material quality issues as well.
K P Turnquest said he found Baha Mar’s comments regarding the March 27 opening’s cancellation “interesting”, given existing concerns over the quality of construction products and materials coming from China, such as sub-standard steel.
“As we know there has been some question over the years with respect to the quality of product coming put of China,” he added.
“I don’t know to what extent the Ministry of Works has tested, or has the capability of testing the materials used in the construction at that facility. I think that it is certainly a question, and I believe that it is one that maybe Baha Mar should address.
“Certainly we know that there were some issue in the US with respect to Chinese dry wall, for instance. My concern would be around the quality of materials and workmanship.”
In a statement issued late Tuesday, Baha Mar pinned the blame for missing its March 27 opening date on China State Construction.
“In setting our opening date for March 27, we relied in good faith on the representations of the resort’s construction manager and lead contractor,” the statement released by Baha Mar said.
“Last Friday, based on this party’s repeated assurances, Baha Mar announced that it would begin a paced opening beginning March 27, and culminating in its grand opening scheduled for early May.
“Subsequently, it has become clear that the contractor has not completed the work with an attention to detail consistent with Baha Mar standards of excellence. Anything less than a world-class facility and best-in-class guest experience is not acceptable to us.
“As a result, Baha Mar will not begin its paced opening on March 27. Baha Mar expects to celebrate its grand opening the first week of May 2015, as planned,” Baha Mar added in the statement.
Yet Mr Turnquest said: “We ought to be sure that the reference that is being made is not with respect to the quality of the product, the material, but really about the inability of the contractor to complete the work on time as promised.
“There were a significant number of Chinese here doing that work. One would have thought that the construction company would have been able to have completed in the projected time. Again, to what extent the Government may have caused delays will be an interesting question to ask.”
Baha Mar officials had stressed the resort would open on March 27, despite speculation that construction would not be completed in time. Back in January it was announced that the Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, the Rosewood at Baha Mar, and SLS Lux at Baha Mar will start hosting “paid guests” on March 27.
The Grand Hyatt was to open “shortly thereafter”. This came more than six months after Baha Mar officials announced that its grand opening would be delayed to ‘late Spring 2015’ instead of the original December 2014 timeline. Last August, officials at the $3.5 billion mega resort in Cable Beach said the property would open in stages from December onwards.
Mr Turnquest said: “The thing about big projects is that when they go well they have a big impact, but when they fail, they fail miserably.
“Having put all the eggs in this basket I think there is a bit of a risk for us. I am still hopeful that come May, the new projected opening date, this project will be up and running. There is no real investment other than this on the drawing board.
“While the Prime Minister has indicated that he has all of these projects on his desk, we have seen very few if any come forward. We have to, at this point, still hope and pray that Baha Mar will come on - and come on as schedule,” Mr Turnquest added.
“To what extent the failure of the Government to complete negotiations on the roadworks has had an effect on this delay is something worth questioning. Delays are not good news for us. As a country we are depending on those jobs. We know that in June there will be another 5,000-6,000 students looking for employment, adding to the already growing rate of unemployment.”