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Baha Mar Is 'Too Big To Fail'

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

TOURISM Minister Obie Wilchcombe yesterday said that the multi-billion dollar Baha Mar project was “too big to fail” as the government’s mediation efforts continue over the luxury resort’s stalled opening.

The $3.5bn mega-resort is five months behind schedule with no firm opening date. However, Mr Wilchcombe said the high quality product, paired with an intense marketing strategy, will overcome discouraging reports and disappointment experienced by hopeful guests.

He expressed optimism that the dispute over payment between the Izmirlian family and China Construction America (CCA) will be resolved “soon”.

“The PM is in fact meeting with the various groups,” he said, “the Izmirlians, the Chinese representative and ambassador. He’s trying to get everyone to the table to understand what’s at stake. I think there is some movement, but I don’t know the details. We have the optimism that it will all work out.

“It will happen very soon, it can’t sit there idle. It’s too big for the region to fail, it’s too big for us to fail. It can’t sit there idle it must eventually open.”

Last week, Mr Christie said the disputing parties were “very close to a settlement,” and denied persistent rumours that Baha Mar is running out of the cash needed to finish the project.

In terms of the nature of the dispute between the parties, he said that the contractor wants “instalment payments” while the Izmirlian family is eager to know when the resort will be completed and available to open.

Baha Mar was originally scheduled to open in December 2014. The resort subsequently set a soft opening for March 27. After that date was delayed days before the planned opening, Baha Mar officials said they were aiming for an early May opening, however a new date has not been set.

Despite assurances by Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian that the mega-resort would officially open soon, several pre-booked guests have claimed they were told that all reservations until August 31 have been cancelled.

Mr Christie has expressed fears that more delays would cause job losses for Bahamians.

When asked to comment on whether the rocky start will affect the resort’s success, Mr Wilchcombe said: “I think the same enthusiasm will be there because of what it represents. It will require a tremendous amount of marketing, and a lot of events centred around the opening, but it will be outstanding.”

The government has a commitment to Baha Mar to assist with marketing; however, Mr Wilchcombe said his ministry is mindful of the added expense incurred by the stalled launch.

“We have a commitment to Baha Mar, but obviously we will have to watch how the dollars are spent while we go through this period, and we are sitting with them. I think Baha Mar represents a fantastic new product in the tourism community in the Caribbean,” he said. “It’s the largest single resort in the region, it will maintain its appeal. It’s associated with premier brands like the Rosewood, the Hyatt, and I believe marketing will have a tremendous effect once the doors open.”

Mr Wilchcombe said: “The Bahamas is a tourism brand renowned for having high quality product, Atlantis is one, Island House has just opened another high quality product, Baha Mar will represent that. There is high expectation and there is some disappointment because people have booked and had expectations, but it will happen very soon.”

Comments

duppyVAT 4 years, 1 month ago

True, Obie ......................... but what are you willing to give up to have it completed by Christmas????????

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TalRussell 4 years, 1 month ago

Turn it into a new location for the Fish Fry. Why not? Comrade Minister Obadiah, many might think it done is "totally unfair" how to date "undisclosed" taxpayers millions monies and special government concessions have been put into Baha Mar. Oh yes, even the property housing the PM's offices were signed over to make way for Baha Mar. How many 100's millions taxpayers monies spent to build new roads to accommodate Bar Mar? What Obadiah really means, is taxpayers should be willing to drain their bank accounts to bail out the grand vision of Comrade Izmirlian and the China State Construction Company. The taxpayers are the only one's done suffering they own's financial crisis, who are too important to fail, there's and their children's future. I say leave it China to solve. Yes, even Pap Hubert, who lots like say is pretty damn smart operator, knew deep down in his heart it could turn out be the worst mistake of his regime. And, he threw in 8100 Chinese work permits for bad measure too. Minister Obadiah, start by telling taxpayers what is their total bill to date. for propping up Baha Mar? If you spent peoples monies and you come back more, don't they have right know all there is to know. Right?

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John 4 years, 1 month ago

When one reads the different news media there is grave confusion as to exactly what is going on at Bah Mar. Is it just a dispute going on between owner and contractor or are there some financial challenges?

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digimagination 4 years, 1 month ago

Obviously he's never heard the saying, 'The bigger they are the harder they fall'. Having said that, I most sincerely wish Baha Mar to be a great success whenever it does (eventually) open.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 1 month ago

Obviously our dimwitted twerp of a Tourism Minister does not wish to acknowledge what happened to the Coral Harbour development project in the late 1960s, early 1970s. The time Wilchcombe spent with the racketeering numbers' bosses feathering both his and Christie's nests, is time that he and Christie should have spent in an effort to save the Baha Mar project considerable unnecessary costs incurred to date.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 1 month ago

I agree!!! I do not understand how the PM had time to attend every carnival opening and launch party he was invited to...I simply don't get it

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asiseeit 4 years, 1 month ago

Our Minister may think Bah Mar is "to big to fail" but there are many issue's that can and will make it fail if not taken care of. Crime is #1 on that list, service and environment come close behind. No Bahamian in their right mind can want Bah Mar to fail but Bahamians can make it fail, this should be made abundantly clear to ALL Bahamians.

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TalRussell 4 years, 1 month ago

Papa Hubert needs strike off he list credentials - successful apologists for da small island nation Bahamland. Comrades despite back in March 2013, when Papa Hubert took it all upon his private citizen shoulders to personally apologize for his former law partner's behavior towards Baha Mar, it seems wasn't sufficient to bring the Izmirlian family, China Construction Company and the Chinese government heads together, get on with opening the long awaited mega Cable Beach resort city.
That other resume credential of Papa, you know one where he signed something like eight thousand and one hundreds Chinese labourers works permits, that too was not so successful for da small island nation, either.
Maybe good idea not let them them mess around with the British Colonial Hotel, you know the big one right across damn street, directly with a view right into the offices windows USA's Ambassador? How close, da red Communist flag can wave right in face USA's Ambassador and his delegation.
Comrades, not even Comrade Tal on my best creative day could I possibly make this stuff up.

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andygupta65 4 years, 1 month ago

THEY ARE A BUNCH OF CROOKS, FROM THE CEO TO THE VP. THE WHOLE ORGANIZATION LIES. CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT COMING -- PLEASE CONTACT ME FOR MORE INFO----

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FNM_Retards 4 years, 1 month ago

When the FNM was in power, the FNM supporters wanted Bahamar to succeed and they were behind it 100% - say anything bad about it and they would cut your left nut off. Now, lol @ the big turn around

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TalRussell 4 years, 1 month ago

Baha Mar is missing much more than its opening "dates."
Comrades of course Bahamalander's want Baha Mar to open as quickly as possible and why shouldn't they when taxpayers have so many millions invested in its future and long term success. The mega resort city was set to open four new hotels totaling 2,200, not just the one of its hotels with 1000 rooms. The government and the media seems have given the developers a free pass, by not even mentioning the missing 1200 rooms and three missing hotels? Maybe the resorts House Band should be appropriately called Da Baha Mar Rake n Scrape Orchestra.

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ThisIsOurs 4 years, 1 month ago

Too many catchy sexy phrases...nothing is too big to fail. This is the sad truth of the titanic. There are however lots and lots of projects that are too big to allow incompetent government officials to negotiate contracts for.

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