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‘No Concern’ Over Deadlock At Baha Mar For Conference

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Tribune Staff Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

LOCAL officials preparing for an upcoming Inter-American Development Bank conference at Baha Mar said they have no concerns about the resort’s ongoing deadlock overshadowing the $6m event which will see 5,000 international delegates enter the country.

State Minister of Finance Michael Halkitis explained that the government budgeted the $6m for the conference and expects to see significant economic return from the hefty investment.

Officials began planning for the conference three years ago.

The unopened resort is said to be 97 per cent complete.

Mr Halkitis admitted to having initial concerns about the convention centre being ready for the conference, but his worry vanished when he saw the facility on Monday.

He added the government intends to redeploy any equipment that it purchases for the four-day event into the public system. It is slated for April 7 - 10, 2016 and will also involve officials of the Inter-American Investment Corporation (IIC).

“When I had the opportunity to have a tour of the facility on Monday, my immediate response was just one of amazement as to the quality of the facility, the professionalism of the staff and how we were received,” Mr Halkitis said at a press conference at the Baha Mar convention centre.

“When I walked in, any iota of concern that I had vanished because as you can see its is 97, 98 or 99 (per cent complete) but the bulk of what I can see is for us (to do is) to put in the temporary offices and I’m very confident that we can get them ready. My feeling is one of being impressed with the facility.”

He added: “This process began approximately, I think it was three years ago and we have budgeted a total of approximately $6m over those three years to deal with anything from accommodations, the setting up, making sure that we have all of the offices set up and equipped furniture to IT.”

Janeen McCartney, project coordinator for the event, said only small tweaks are needed in the convention centre. She suggested that the ongoing Baha Mar impasse was “something else” that had nothing to do with the success of the IDB conference.

She said: “No, we’re not concerned. I think having you here today as you can see the property we were told is 98-99 per cent complete and it is a work in progress and it would be completing the little things and tweaks. As you use the facility you find things that work and doesn’t work.

“So this is our opportunity. We are meeting here now so we are using the infrastructure so that we can test all of the cabling, the other facilities and the bathrooms. So we are not concerned about the overshadowing. The Baha Mar story is something else. The Bahamas has committed to hosting this meeting and we’re going to deal with that aspect and provide for a successful conference.”

As none of the conference delegates can be housed at Baha Mar, they will be spread out across New Providence at major hotels including the Atlantis resort, the Melía Nassau Beach Hotel and Island House.

Baha Mar was initially expected to open in December 2014 but has faced numerous delays and setbacks. The resort’s developer filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a United States court in June 2015, however the cases for Baha Mar’s Bahamian companies were later thrown out of court.

The resort was placed into receivership last October at the request of the Export Import Bank of China.

Comments

TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrade State Minister of Finance Michael as one the most perceived be trusted members PLP Cabinet and PM's successor front-runner, would you be willing to post online (today) an itemized breakdown of everything taxpayers need to know when it comes to the; Who, What, Where, When and Why? (W.W.W.W.W) behind the spending of the "planned" $6 million taxpayers moneys?
Minister can you guarantee it will not exceed the $6 million? Will any of the $6 million be used for construction, remodeling of a Baha Mar property, a property not owned by taxpayers but by the Chinese Bank?
Minister if you cannot answer the questions, why the hell not?

Minister while i got's your attention, where in the hell is Paul Major's much promised and still delayed itemized audited statement on Carnival 2015's when he and his minister Obadiah and board members racked up spending $12 million or more of taxpayers moneys?
Minister, what of that other musical festival your government spent just under a million dollars taxpayers moneys, for something never held?

And Minister, in the meantimes, the poor getting poorer and da middle class disappearing from the scene!!

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MonkeeDoo 4 years, 2 months ago

Go Tal Go !!!! Now ya talking. Whaboutdadameddock ?

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TalRussell 4 years, 2 months ago

Comrade Economist, if taxpayers lose their respect for State Minister of Finance Michael - there's slim to no chance anyone can rescue the PLP party from the likes of many of the PLP cabinet faces you knows well...and if the PLP cabinet comes a asking for him, Slim says tell them, he and his cousin No Chance are off the island.

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John 4 years, 1 month ago

Can anyone guess the second event that will be held at the 97% complete and unopened Bah Mar Convention Center? #PLPconvention

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TruePeople 4 years, 1 month ago

$6mill more down a hole never to be seen again

$12mill more in borrowing to compensate

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