By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday welcomed the “positive” news that Baha Mar has been placed into receivership at the request of the Export Import Bank of China.
The move, he said, will ensure that the relevant parties co-operate to get the resort completed and opened.
The Supreme Court placed Baha Mar into receivership last Friday after approving an application from the EXIM Bank. Deloitte and Touche’s (Bahamas) Managing Partner Raymond Winder and partners from the firm’s China office were appointed receivers on behalf of the bank.
“The decision will mean a new era of co-operation to get the project finished and people back on the job,” Mr Roberts said in a statement.
“There is much work to be done but we believe that this is a necessary step to give the project overall direction and control. Our main aim, objective and wish are to ensure that the job prospects of the 2,000 displaced Baha Mar workers are improved so that they can return to work in the shortest possible time.”
He added: “The government of The Bahamas under the leadership of Perry Christie has demonstrated considerable patience, confident and strong leadership skills during these negotiations, at all times protecting the sovereignty of the Bahamas, the investment of Bahamian suppliers and demonstrating to the global community that the government has given the developer every available opportunity to retain control of the project.
“The government is commended for its overall handling of this crisis and has the full support of the PLP. The PLP encourages the government to continue to aggressively pursue the requisite bridge financing necessary to cause for the re-engagement of the displaced Bahamian employees at the resort.”
“The PLP notes the joint provisional liquidators’ statement that they will work closely with the receiver, noted accounting firm Deloitte and Touche, the Bahamas’ government, the financier and the general contractor in facilitating a speedy resolution to this matter in the national interest. This atmosphere of cooperation can only strengthen the interests of commercial parties in remaining a part of the project, thus ensuring its success.”
One party Mr Roberts did not mention was Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian who has invested $850m in the project.
Although it is not clear what Mr Izmirlian’s role will become, observers note that the receivership sidelines him, taking him out of the decision making process.
This would be a blow to him after he fought to keep control of his project when the resort filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the United States in June, frequently butting heads with the Christie administration as their relationship deteriorated.
Up to press time yesterday, Baha Mar’s spokespersons said they were not authorised to speak about the receivership news.
Nonetheless, in a statement last week, the liquidators, Alastair Beveridge and Edmund Rahming, said they would work with the receivers to get Baha Mar open.
“Our role now is to work closely with Deloitte as the bank’s appointed receivers with a view to exploring and deciding on the most appropriate strategic option in order to see the resort completed and open for business,” the statement said.
Last month, the court appointed liquidators got approval from the Supreme Court to make 2,020 Baha Mar employees redundant. The liquidators, Bahamas-based KRyS Global and UK-based AlixPartners, said the layoffs were due to the financial insolvency of the $3.5 billion resort project that has been stalled since June 29.