Sidney Collie, the new FNM chairman.
By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
FREE National Movement Chairman Sidney Collie yesterday criticised his adversary Bradley Roberts for the latter’s defenc
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e of the “secret” Baha Mar deal.
In a statement released yesterday, Mr Collie charged that the Progressive Liberal Party chairman’s “insults and nonsensical statements” on the matter are just distractions to cover up the “true facts” of the controversial agreement.
His comments came a day after Mr Roberts held a press conference where he castigated FNM Leader Dr Hubert Minnis, saying his position on the Baha Mar issue, specifically the Supreme Court’s sealing of the documents relating to the new deal to open the resort, disqualified him from serious consideration to lead the country. He said this was a “slap in the face” to the country’s judiciary.
Mr Collie, in a statement, said Mr Roberts’s “delusional” comments on the matter reflect his attempts to “distract” the Bahamian people from the Christie administration’s “terrible handling” of the Baha Mar deal with the Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM), and on a larger scale the government’s “abysmal record of governance”.
Mr Roberts has frequently lashed out at Dr Minnis over his stance on Baha Mar.
Last Thursday, he challenged Dr Minnis to petition to the Supreme Court to have the documents unsealed if he “gave a damn” about the details. Mr Roberts also accused Dr Minnis of selfishly posturing for political gain, likening Dr Minnis to a “jumping jack” that flip-flopped on issues while never articulating a “sensible policy position”.
“How does one know that the prime minister and the PLP government are in trouble? They send out their delusional chairman, Bradley Roberts, to defend them,” Mr Collie said in response. “Typically launching a series of insults and nonsensical statements, ‘delusional’ Roberts never fails to deliver.
“It’s time for this PLP government to face facts. No one is shocked that the prime minister would strike a secret deal with the Chinese in the dark of the night, but what is shocking to Bahamians everywhere, is that the PLP thought they would simply shield the details of that secret deal from the public and insist that we don’t need to know the details.”
Mr Collie also questioned the government’s rationale for sealing the documents from the public, charging that the government’s argument about “protecting the deal” does “not hold water”.
Last week, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that a deal had been reached between the government and the Export-Import Bank of China to remobilize the stalled resort.
However, the highly anticipated address did not provide any clarity on a definitive buyer or sale price, or details on how unsecured creditors will be paid. Additionally, it was subsequently revealed that the court documents related to the deal have been sealed.
Mr Christie had insisted that lawyers have instructed him not to divulge relevant details because of the sensitivity of the matter and the amount of money being transacted among the parties.
The FNM has since railed against the secrecy surrounding the deal, however, citing mounting public distrust in the Christie-led government amid speculation over the concessions given to the Chinese by the government.