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Govt Admits Its Baha Mar Timetable ‘Over-Ambitious’

By LAMECH JOHNSON

Tribune Staff Reporter

ljohnson@tribunemedia.net

THE JUDGE presiding over the government’s winding-up petition of the stalled Baha Mar project was told yesterday that the initial two months granted to stakeholders to negotiate the property’s future was “over-ambitious” and unrealistic.

In what was to be a substantive hearing concerning the incomplete Cable Beach resort, Crown lawyer Loren Klein asked Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder for a second adjournment of the proceedings until May 2.

Mr Klein said notwithstanding a few new developments since the stalled Cable Beach mega resort went into receivership, namely the hosting of the upcoming Inter-American Development Bank conference at the resort’s convention centre, the government and interested parties had been “over-ambitious” with their expectations.

“I do believe we may have been a bit over-ambitious with the time line. The commercial reality is it’s going to take a while longer,” Mr Klein said.

Comparing Baha Mar to “a very large caravan”, Mr Klein added that “it takes some effort and initiative to get it moving again.”

“But we think, what we see are very positive signs, that there’s going to be forward trajectory which would take the project across the completion of that three per cent.”

Respective creditors and stakeholders in the project – China Export Import Bank, CCA Bahamas and various government agencies which are part of the proceedings – had no objection to the adjournment.

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

Baha Mar’s developer then filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States on June 29; 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.

Baha Mar’s developer Sarkis Izmirlian is at odds with its general contractor, CCA Bahamas, which it has blamed for numerous opening delays. However, CCA has placed the blame for the resort’s woes on Baha Mar executives, citing mismanagement as the reason the property is behind schedule. The developer filed a lawsuit against CCA in the UK.

Since the bankruptcy rejection by the Bahamas Supreme Court and the end of Chapter 11 proceedings in Delaware, joint provisional liquidators (JPLs) were appointed in September 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 in October and the status quo remains until otherwise asked for the by the parties or directed by the judge.

Despite the resort’s woes, Prime Minister Perry Christie has repeatedly expressed optimism about the property, and has said a number of international investors are interested in Baha Mar.

The Tribune reported yesterday that Mr Izmirlian challenged Prime Minister Christie to sit and meet with him if his government is serious about getting the $3.5 billion resort completed and opened?

Mr Izmirlian said he has not heard from the government since last October, or from the Prime Minister since the summer of last year, even though he has made proposals that would enable Baha Mar to be opened “and put Bahamians back to work.”

It was more than a decade ago that Mr Izmiralian was approached by Mr Christie to redevelop Cable Beach into Baha Mar.

Comments

DEDDIE 1 year, 4 months ago

No news here. Everyone and the grandpa knew that the resort was not going to open as projected.

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Mmantle7 1 year, 4 months ago

Five years from now 2,600 employees at Baha Mar will be counting their lucky STARS as well as counting their Tourist Dollars. Baha Mar will make a lot of people very happy with very secure employment. These people will also be the envy of the green eyed Caribbean. God Bless Sarkis Izmirlian.

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John 1 year, 4 months ago

Wasn't there a news story around December that the China Bank did not want the China Construction Company back on the project? Seems like smoke and mirrors that they are now saying this company is being mobilized to complete the work. But at least some work is better than no work at all.

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Economist 1 year, 4 months ago

Yes, but will they all be Chinese workers or will Bahamians get the lion's share?

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islandlad 1 year, 4 months ago

I'm sure I recall that specific story, it's always been reported that Sarkis didn't want CCA on the project if he was going to continue. Never heard the one about the Chinese bank not wanting the Chinese construction company.

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paul_vincent_zecchino 1 year, 4 months ago

Does your instinct tell you we'll be reading reports such as this for the foreseeable future, with no opening in sight?

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marrcus 1 year, 4 months ago

PLP forever........get used to it.

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sheeprunner12 1 year, 4 months ago

There is nothing wrong with being overambitious ............ but there is something wrong with being delusional ................ this is what the PLP is dealing with here in this case of Bahamar

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Economist 1 year, 4 months ago

They have no opening in sight because the China Export Bank won't write of $1 Billion.
Scotia has written off $200 million and the ball is in the Chinese court.

The Government has turned what was already a mess into a quagmire that will take a considerable amount of time to get out of.

We would have been much better off if the government had stayed out of it.

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BoopaDoop 1 year, 4 months ago

So if the government changes hands in 2017, does the new government inherit this mess?

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TruePeople 1 year, 4 months ago

the Chinese will inherit the new gov't, and will continue to impose THEIR will on OUR "leaders"

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sealice 1 year, 4 months ago

SO A FLAT OUT LIE TO THE PUBLIC IS NOW JUST "OVERAMBITIOUS"??

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John 1 year, 4 months ago

Well the landscape guys are back to work out there and they are all Bahamians. Ok one or two may be Haitian. But 50-60 people working.

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happyfly 1 year, 4 months ago

The quality of the work at Bahamar is so bad that the only person on earth that is going to accept and pay for it as-is the same fool they snatched the project away from. The stupid greedy Perry Chinese thought they grabbing a rose but all they get is thorns

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islandlad 1 year, 4 months ago

Really…..shocking, the delusional finally decided to join us in the real world. It would be very interesting to know if all certificates of occupancy, fire code verification and all appropriate insurance verified. The last function that was held in that Convention Center was the employee holiday party back in December 2014 and none of the afore mentioned was in place. If there has been no further construction, further who has done an analysis on any damage done and/or other issues from the down time. I’d be interested in knowing the results of the reported alleged “Audit” that the China Construction was going to do so as to report what they observed from the “Damage” of down time and how long it would take to complete the project? Several months ago we were lead to believe that the findings would be provided in 7 days, and yet no timetable or facts have been released of just such an analysis.

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