Fnm: Why Hide Baha Mar Deal?

Loretta Butler-Turner

Loretta Butler-Turner


Deputy Chief Reporter


FREE National Movement Shadow Minister of Labour Loretta Butler-Turner castigated the Christie administration yesterday over the decision to seal the court documents relating to the new deal to open the shuttered $3.5bn Baha Mar resort, branding this as “deceptive” and “reprehensible” on all levels.

This, she said, only serves the selfish interests of Prime Minister Perry Christie and his government.

Also weighing in on the matter yesterday, FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis said the Official Opposition is “shocked and dismayed” the government sanctioned the decision to seal the documents, adding only dictatorial and corrupt governments carry out the work of the country in the “dark of night.”

Meanwhile, Mrs Butler-Turner also questioned the timing of the government’s Baha Mar announcement, insisting that it was a ploy to distract Bahamians from Moody’s Investor Service downgrading this country’s credit rating one notch to Baa3 from Baa2.

In an interview with The Tribune, the Long Island MP insisted that Bahamians were intelligent enough to recognise a “duplicitous and delusional” prime minister who was intent on playing “dinosaur games”.

Mrs Butler-Turner went on to warn that these games will not work in an information age where people are not interested in sealed documents and “secretive” dealings.

And while the government celebrates the “successful negotiations” the MP said she will not be impressed until she sees Bahamians physically working, in receipt of the money they are owed and with contracts in hand to move forward.

The reaction from the FNM came after it was revealed that the court documents related to the deal between the Export-Import Bank of China and the government regarding Baha Mar to remobilise construction at the West Bay Street Property have been sealed.

“What I found interesting to say the least is that for 20 months now we’ve been having this song and dance and you know the prime minister was heralding the names of big hoteliers such as (Sir Sol) Kerzner and Joe Lewis (as potential buyers) and others and none of that has come to fruition,” Mrs Butler-Turner said.

“Now he is once again unilaterally making an announcement, a good news pronouncement in the absence of the EXIM Bank or China Construction America being present.

“But what he has done this time was brought in a bunch of vulnerable, in my words, contractors, tenants and others to make believe that something was happening but none of them is empowered to do anything until such time that this project actually gets rolling.”

She added: “I think Christie is an absolutely delusional and duplicitous man. This is his MO (modus operandi). Every time there is some big announcement with regards to anything it is shrouded in secrecy, which clearly demonstrates to me that Christie has nothing to reveal.

“Tell Christie all those dinosaur games take them back to the cave. They don’t work anymore. This is the information age and people are not interested in anything sealed that is supposed to be in the public domain. This does not serve anybody’s interest except the selfish interests of Perry Christie and his government.”

Lack of trust

For his part, Dr Minnis said Mr Christie could not expect Bahamians to trust him when he is allowing pertinent information to be hidden from the public eye.

He said: “The prime minister calls on Bahamians to ‘trust him’ on securing the best deal yet (but) what has he done to earn that trust? Hiding the details of his secret deal, by sealing it through the courts does not earn trust. Time after time they have failed us. So Bahamians demand to know what did these secret meetings cost the Bahamian people?”

“As is typical from the PLP playbook, the prime minister said that the government would make details of the deal available soon. How will he do this if the documents are sealed by the courts? We’ve been down this road over and over throughout the entire Baha Mar debacle.

“It was the FNM that stood up for the Bahamian contractors, demanding they get paid over $100 million they are owed. It was the FNM that brought attention to the workers that were promised good jobs only to be laid off.

“It was the FNM that called on the PLP to account for the government supplying Baha Mar with power despite they were not paying their bills and owing over $26 million while many families and seniors struggled in the sweltering heat with power outages. The Bahamian people know that the FNM will stand vigilant to make sure this government is held accountable and follows through on helping Bahamians.”

On Monday night, during a nationally televised address, Mr Christie said an agreement had been reached between the government and the 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.

“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.

“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.”

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.

The property was placed into receivership last October.


bogart 3 years, 9 months ago

Excellent there is movement as 8,000 plus persons or even a fraction thereof need a job, other shops and services will enjoy perchases as employees shop, BAMSI can have one single other market to sell its green peppers, taxi drivers can get fares taking guests, uniforms can be purchased locally, the BAH MAR name will be on international Travel Offices and even if not selected some other local hotel may be, straw vendors and Bay st may enjoy some sales, persons employed may now rent and buy real estate requiring lawyers to draft documents, US currency will be entering country etcetcetc. Give the forward movement a chance, give the unemployed a chance and then require a COMMISSION of Inquiry to investigate the failure and offer recommendations. Curiously the politicians complaining do not mention any Commission as they probably fear when the other guys are on the other side they will also do the same to them. The COMMISSIONS are definitely needed for CLICO, GULF UNION, BAHAMASUPERMARKETS, BANK OF THE BAHAMAS, BEC and every public entity where millions of PUBLIC TAXPAYER FUNDS have been poured to stabilize or is needed.


glasshalffull 3 years, 9 months ago

my sentiments exactly...be thankful that people will start working again... mothers will be able to chip in and put the pot back on the fire.... be thankful for small mercies


TalRussell 3 years, 9 months ago

Comrades while I cannot support the current secretive Baha Mar things the PLP Cabinet is determined to keep hidden from you the public, for the embattled member of the Honourable House of Assembly for Long Island, to not also warn that a same public will not tolerate her deal making games played at convention upstairs in secretive meetings over her yet to be disclosed deal making with Minnis.
Loretta, doesn't care to talk anything about the finer points of her convention's upstairs deal making with Minnis and why it too will not work in an information age where people are not interested in sealed and “secretive” party upstairs secretive dealings?
Why the embattled member for Long Island, does not take the public humiliation and embarrassing rejection by her own 410 Red Movement's voting convention delegates as a clear sign that her MP and party member services are no longer in demand, does baffles the hell out of the 243,000 Bahamalanders, who will cast their respective votes come the 2017 General?


DDK 3 years, 9 months ago

Why don't you get off Ms. Butler-Turner's "embattled" back for a change? She is intelligent, intuitive, capable and well-spoken. She had a good handle on what is going on in this poor country of ours. Surely you do not speak for all of the 243,000 Bahamalander voters?


TalRussell 3 years, 9 months ago

Comrade DDK I once supported Loretta but never as anyone's PM to be. I didn't think she was PM material back then and I now even more damn sure she is not PM material today nor will she be qualified come any of the tomorrows, more so 2017.
Tis she who alone without even consulting a single one of the 410 delegates, gone slipped her arm through Duane's and whispered to her potential and only willing running-mate. Doctor Duane, 'I'll tell you what, if you join me, we will fight together as a forceful team to win the Red Movement's leadership at the July 27-29th, 2016 convention. You talkin like it's just me as a lone-wolf. What in the hell happened Loretta's having a good-handle on the 410 voting delegates?


crimestopper 3 years, 9 months ago

Stop calling people comrade, this is not Russia, you moron, every time you start a sentence is alway "Comrades" annoying as hell.


John 3 years, 9 months ago

If it is such a good deal why seal it up and lock it away. Bahamians need to know what is being given away (again). Government has put almost 1/3 of the value in Bah Mar and still Bahamians has no equity in the project. Except jobs and those connected to the government who got shop spaces and other bits of Bah Mar's candies.


TalRussell 3 years, 9 months ago

Comrades, there is way too much cheese in America, so the US Department of Agriculture is buying a massive 11 million pounds — worth roughly $20 million amount of it to give way for free. Likewise, in Bahamaland, didn't Papa Hubert's regime not allow Izmililian to build too damn much of an unfinished and walked away from opening for business $3.5 Billion resort and casino at Cable Beach, dock and all - and like the cheese - if you discount the offer floating in the media by Izmirlin, there is not one major resort buyer to be found across the entire globe for Baha Mar - except for the PLP Cabinet, who along with Papa Hubert's regime have done dumped some $1 Billion of state funds, lands and concessions into that white elephant sitting out there waterfront at Cable Beach - fancy long-ass dock included in the unfinished and empty of business $ 3.5 billion Baha Mar.
Comrades, out paychecks workers can't eat no damn cement, steel and wooden dock!
Let's not forget it was none other than Papa Hubert heself, who publicly acknowledged $3.5 Billion was far too much of a Baha Mar project to have attempted to construct and open in one shot.


Honestman 3 years, 9 months ago

Let's get a few things straight:

  1. China has no interest in the well being of The Bahamas.
  2. Left to its own devices, China would leave Baha Mar to rot just as it has done with many unfinished Chinese projects around the world and within its own country.
  3. The Christie administration has completely mismanaged the project allowing itself to become compromised to the Chinese.
  4. The one investor who had the vision and energy for this project and who had the heart for The Bahamas has been kicked off the job due to the duplicity of this PLP administration.
  5. The only way for the construction to be re-started is for the government to pay China to do so either directly or in concessions (immediate or long term)
  6. Bahamians will be saddled with the cost of 5. above and will likely have to pay this back over a generation.
  7. There is no "world class" buyer out there - let's get real. In the current economic climate, no "world class" operator would touch Baha Mar with a barge pole!
  8. If there is a potential buyer out there, it is likely to be a Chinese entity who will be offered various concessions both from China and the PLP.
  9. The government knows that it cannot release details of said prospective purchaser or the details of any deal because it would be the death knell for the PLP's election prospects.
  10. So everything is sealed in typical PLP fashion and the nation is asked to trust Christie!!!

Make no mistake, the PLP's mismanagement of the Baha Mar project has likely cost the country several BILLION dollars and it is ordinary, hard working Bahamians who will end up picking up the tab over the next 20 years. What a disgrace!


Well_mudda_take_sic 3 years, 9 months ago

Absolutely so Honestman. Christie remains at his most vulnerable even after selling us out to the Chinese. If Christie's Chinese friends told him to pee on the spot (or better still, pee on Fweddy Boy) he would have absolutely no choice but to do so. As for the Wicked Witch of the West (Allyson Maynard-Gibson)...well, let's just say she needs a good whacking with her China made broom!


jackbnimble 3 years, 9 months ago

"Meanwhile, Mrs Butler-Turner also questioned the timing of the government’s Baha Mar announcement, insisting that it was a ploy to distract Bahamians from Moody’s Investor Service downgrading this country’s credit rating one notch to Baa3 from Baa2".

I agree that this is the real reason for the announcement. Again to deflect. That's the real M.O. of this Government.

Guess the PM was expecting everyone to sing and dance at the latest of his many "soon come" announcements. I can't think of anyone who is happy or excited. He's been duping us for far too long. I guess he's now the proverbial "boy who cried wolf".


birdiestrachan 3 years, 9 months ago

I wondered myself why the agreement was not disclosed. I have learned that the agreement with the bank and the buyer is withheld., They are within their rights to do that. The Bahamas Government does not own the hotels and they are not the buyers. I suppose an announcement, will be made later when both parties are ready to do so. Never mind the wind blowers, they know better . but they are hoping the general public do not.


birdiestrachan 3 years, 9 months ago

"Delusional and duplicitous " Is Butler serious?? she should not even use those words unless she intends to change her name to delusional duplicitous, has she forgotten the FNM her party convention so soon . Well MS: delusion duplicitous we have not.


TalRussell 3 years, 9 months ago

Comrades! The embattled member for Long Island and Baha Mar's Izmirlian, are so alike. They knows how dream big things but not to hangs-on to them long enough to get see their dream babies born. Columbus had not yet discovered the island of San Salvador in The Bahamaland, when Izmirlian, did experience his first Baha Mar dream and with each night he dreamed - the Billions of dollars in costs grew. and grew to surpass the $2.5 Billions in borrowed Chinese moneys.
And there out at Cable Beach, does the Chinese' bank's UNPAID for $2.5 Billion white elephant of Baha Mar, sits an empty and unfinished of paying room guest tourists and gamblers - and that damn fancy dock and all.


banker 3 years, 9 months ago

Sigh, the PLP apologists here have lost all of their respect for the truth, and in that process, have lost all of their human decency. They know that they are lying and distorting, but they can't help it, because of the cognitive dissonance that it would create. They would have to admit that their lives are a lie, as well as their world-view, so the tenaciously cling to the core of their falsehoods. Look at my friend Tal, who can't comment on anything without using the words "Redshirts" and poor birdie belongs in a home for the delusional. Unfortunately it will take generations, if ever to wipe the scourge of the PLP off our country, and to restore common human decency amongst all people.


John 3 years, 9 months ago

The PM's own words at that they made an agreement with China ExIM bank to finish the project because investors did not want to purchase an in completed project. Yet he goes on to say that various sections of the project, golf course, will be up and running in due course. So if no buyer has been confirmed and there is no deal inked, who will be operating Bah Mar? It seems to get even stranger because of an investor can get China Bank to spend an additional $600 million and what can be close to or even more than $1 billion shouldn't there be some tangible commitment from the investor to ensure that he does not back out? In fact the deal should be so complete, so finalized, that the investor should be named and the 'For Sale' signs taken down. Bahamians are skeptical, very skeptical of this deal and they have the right to be, if only because of the track record of Perry Christie and his government and their bowing down and very secret stove relationship with the Chinrse.


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