By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Supreme Court granted a request from the China Export-Import Bank to appoint Deloitte and Touche as receiver of the stalled $3.5bn Baha Mar resort on Friday.
Although the terms of the arrangement are not clear, the move sidelines the developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, more than ever.
The Tribune understands that Deloitte Managing Partner Raymond Winder and a Deloitte and Touche partner from Hong Kong have been named as receivers.
While receivership was anticipated by many, some stakeholders Friday were caught by surprise by how quickly it took place given that the respective parties had until November 25th to resolve their dispute ahead of a Supreme Court hearing on whether to put the company into liquidation.
The move is the latest consequence of the dispute that has brought the project to a standstill, culminating in more than 2,000 employees being made redundant last week.
On Friday, State Minister for Legal Affairs Damian Gomez said he anticipated receivership, saying "the Chinese are putting themselves forward to put up the money to move the project forward”.
Free National Movement (FNM) Deputy Leader Peter Turnquest added that the move is "one of the last remaining options other than full liquidation. It's the last viable option”.
Regarding what this means for developer Sarkiz Izmirlian, who has invested $850m in the project, Mr Turnquest said: "It certainly sidelines him. It removes him from the decision table. He will have to hope for a successful completion and try to assert his minority rights. The receiver can now act in the best interest of the project irrespective of financiers, the original developer, or the government."
In a statement released Friday, the Supreme Court's Joint Provisional Liquidators, Alastair Beveridge and Edmund Rahming, said they would work closely 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.