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Pm Is Defended Over Baha Mar

Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

Former Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Deputy Chief Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

AMID questions surrounding which “world-class hotel and casino operator” will acquire Baha Mar and the concessions awarded to bolster the deal to open it, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson, QC, said there is no need for concern, adding that Bahamians should “trust” that negotiations are being handled by the “capable hands” of Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Despite the prime minister divulging some details of the deal including payment of money owed to contractors and workers among other things, public discourse following his announcement on Monday night focused on his failure to give specifics on the deal’s concessions and the lack of a clear indication of the operator set to buy the $3.5bn project.

He also was not specific regarding the development’s opening date, only saying that its doors were expected to open no later than the end of winter 2017.

However, in responding to questions from The Tribune yesterday, Mrs Maynard-Gibson defended Mr Christie insisting that despite the lack of key information during his address, he remained focused on acting in the best interest of Bahamians.

“Significant details were in fact given,” she told The Tribune following the morning Cabinet session. “We were uncompromising to advance the opportunity for thousands of employees to be paid and the list was given of what they would be paid. That’s a detail. So I do hope that people will recognise the truth is that very significant details were given.

“The negotiations with the government are ongoing and at the appropriate time the very same prime minister that those persons said they trusted will give the appropriate information. I would urge us all to stay focused (and) let us continue on the journey that we are on.

“As you can see that project is in very capable hands. The negotiations led by our prime minister have led to the wonderful outcome that we all hoped and expected to happen.”

Asked whether there was reason for Bahamians to be concerned, Mrs Maynard-Gibson said: “Our prime minister is someone who is a man who has stayed focused. This is a good day for the Bahamas and a good day for Bahamians.

“You look at his entire political history. Thank God he has been focused and assiduous in fighting for Bahamians and nothing has changed now.”

On Monday night, during a nationally televised address, Mr Christie confirmed speculation that an agreement had been reached between the government and the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China.

Under the terms of the agreement, Bahamian contractors still owed money will receive a significant portion, if not all, of their claims, while thousands of former Baha Mar employees will receive outstanding amounts due to them, he said.

Mr Christie said the deal had been had been approved by Justice Ian Winder of the Supreme Court around 5pm Monday.

“This agreement represents a signal achievement for the Bahamas and a milestone in the troubled history of Baha Mar,” Mr Christie said from the Cabinet room, flanked by members of his government and others on Monday night.

“For some 20 months, I have been continuously focused, day and night, on efforts to find a solution for the completion of the Baha Mar project. Throughout this period, the government has had three key objectives: firstly to ensure that construction at Baha Mar would be resumed as quickly as possible.

“Secondly, to make every effort to ensure that the casino and casino hotel, the convention centre and its hotel, and the golf course would open before the end of the 2016-2017 winter season and thirdly to ensure that payment of claims to Bahamian creditors and contractors, who previously had little or no prospect of recovering anything from Baha Mar.

“We have achieved all of these objectives,” Mr Christie stressed.

He said that under the heads of terms signed between the government and the EXIM Bank, “remobilisation at Baha Mar will commence immediately.”

“Construction at the site is expected to resume within a few weeks, during the month of September,” he added. “The bank has committed to fund all remaining construction costs to complete the project. China Construction (America) will finish the works, and will resolve outstanding claims with its suppliers and sub-contractors.”

The opening of the 2,000 plus room resort was scheduled for December 2014, but was delayed to March 2015 and again to May 2015.

Baha Mar’s developer Sarkis Izmirlian filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States on June 29, 2015; however the Supreme Court rejected the resort’s application for the matter to be recognised here.

A US judge later threw out the bankruptcy application for Baha Mar’s Bahamian companies, because it was made clear by the Bahamas court that the Delaware judgment would not be recognised. The prime minister claimed that to recognise a judgment of the Delaware court would have compromised the Bahamas’ sovereignty.

Joint provisional liquidators (JPLs) were appointed in September 2015 to protect and prevent the depletion of the resort’s assets before an expected full winding-up of the resort took place.

However, the resort was placed into receivership last October.

Mr Christie has contended that going the route of Chapter 11 proceedings in Delaware would have left Bahamian contractors with the prospects of being paid little to nothing.

Comments

John 3 years ago

Unfortunately the Christie government is the main reason Bah Mar was brought to s squeeching halt and so now they only fixing what they helped create. When Izlirimian was crying out to the government for help and trying to get them to see the problems he was having with the Chinese, Christie called him a crazy mad and sided with the Chinese in taking Bah Mar into receivership. And over the year of doing so everything the Bah Mar developer was complaining about was proven to be true: shoddy work, missed deadlines, failure of contractor to pay sub contractors and a strange and guarded relationship between the bank and the contractor.

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Honestman 3 years ago

Christie was "not specific regarding the development’s opening date, only saying that its doors were expected to open no later than the end of winter 2017."

Every Baha Mar timeline the Prime Minister has hitherto promised has proven to be unreliable and so Bahamians should treat this opening date "with a grain of salt". Even if a genuine World Class operator were to be secured, a year-end 2017 opening date seems ridiculously optimistic. So we wait on the revelation of this World Class owner / operator with wonderment in the knowledge that no such operator would purchase Baha Mar for anything less than a substantial discount on its book value. We also know that the Chinese are not prepared to accept anything less than 100 cents in the dollar. Therefore, my friends I ask the question: who will be making up the difference? You've guessed it: you and me and the generation to come. That's probably why the Prime Minister was looking so miserable in making the big announcement. He knows what he's had to give away and it ain't pretty. Or maybe I've just gotten too cynical in my old age. Maybe I should just trust the PM like the AG says. I can trust her too, right?

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Honestman 3 years ago

My sober assessment is that this whole exercise was a PLP political stunt timed to take the focus off the news of the rating downgrade and aimed at fooling the electorate that the resort is moving forward (just in time for the general election). In reality nothing has changed. The government (or we the people) are likely paying for construction to begin (in the form of current and future concessions) and the "World Class" operator has not yet been identified or, if they have, their credentials are suspect. I would so love to be wrong.

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glasshalffull 3 years ago

DOOM & GLOOM AS USUAL... LORD HAVE MERCY... PEOPLE SEE THE GLASS HALF FULL FOR ONCE ... GIVE THE GOVERNMENT THE BENEFIT OF THE DOUBT .......JUST ONCE... I AM SO VERY TIRED OF HEARING THE SAME OLD NEGATIVES DAY IN DAY OUT... JUST LIKE TO SAY TO PRIME MINISTER.......FULL SPEED AHEAD... CONGRATULATIONS TO THE TEAM RESPONSIBLE FOR THE DEAL.. MAY GOD CONTINUE TO BLESS YOU RICHLY...

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banker 2 years, 12 months ago

The Prime Minister is a liar and doesn't deserve the benefit of the doubt. Especially when he will not reveal the details. Unfortunately, naive, dyed-in-the-wool sycophants will sing his hosannas over this -- another lie. Willing to bet money that the project doesn't open for at least two years, if not ever.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years ago

General Allyson Maynard-Gibson, QC, said there is no need for concern, adding that Bahamians should “trust” that negotiations are being handled by the “capable hands” of Prime Minister Perry Christie.

I don't think they get it, the fact is we don't believe he's capable of developing or executing any strategy to lead the Bahamas into the future. Based on past experience, BTC, BAMSI, PHA, BOB, NHI, Blackbeard's Cay, Nygard Cay, Bahamar, gaming referendum, we believe we have been sold out once again.

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John 3 years ago

Perry did say the Bahamian sub-contractors, who were previously engaged on the project," will complete it. This would be a good thing because it will get money flowing through the shrinking Bahamian economy. Despite the lack of credibility of this government let's hope for the best for the sake of the Bahamian people.

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ThisIsOurs 3 years ago

I'm surprised at you. Amazing how people have forgotten the promise of a Bahamian jobs at the pointe.

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concernedcitizen 2 years, 12 months ago

Its going to be our money ,I bet the government has guaranteed the loan from the Chinese bank to finish it ..

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glasshalffull 2 years, 12 months ago

John... i agree with you 100% i understand some of the comments... but lets just wait and see .. like pregnancy this is not going it is coming for all to see and you all will have the opportunity to vote for Dr. Minnis if the Government is lying to you....

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 12 months ago

How long do we have to "wait and see"? There was Zero reason for the announcement to be made when it was made. They are the authors of confusion, literally. This was completely unnecessary. He could have made this announcement in September, when he "says" work will start

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gkeato 3 years ago

I think the hair dye they are using is getting to them!

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Sickened 3 years ago

And this lying nanny of a woman is our AG. Sickening!!

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sucteeth 2 years, 12 months ago

Bey u sure she ain't got one doggie i think she man!! she cud lie wit da rest a dem dogs!! The Bananas is done.. Cuba gunna destroy us take ma word fa dat..

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SP 2 years, 12 months ago

.................................. Wicked Witch Says Trust Dancing Clown? ......................................

Sarkis already went down that road, & we saw what happened to him!

NO THANKS WITCH!

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banker 2 years, 12 months ago

You can't pray a lie.

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/20...">http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin..." alt="Trust the capable hands of the Prime Minister -- yeah right. He is a known liar.">

http://thetribune.media.clients.ellin...">Trust the capable hands of the Prime Minister -- yeah right. He is a known liar. by banker

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 12 months ago

Try as you may, but you really can't make the Wicked Witch of the West any uglier than she truly is!

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Socrates 2 years, 12 months ago

Why listen to this woman who left town, put her buddy in charge and just coincidentally a Nolli is magically issued at the same time to get her clients off... Give me a break. Typical PLP response..believe it just coz I say so but don't expect me to produce any evidence to support what I say... Democracy PLP style...

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