A Pointe-D Error

EDITOR, The Tribune

Your readers don’t need me to elaborate on the storms of controversy swirling around the unfinished towers of Baha Mar and its Chinese bankers and contractors. They can read for themselves the daily reports by you and our other journals about failure to disclose key warnings, refusal to negotiate with interested bidders, getting 500 work permits to build The Pointe, and even allegations of corruption and high spending for New Jersey homes and local drink and cigars.

I had hoped that this entertaining farrago would cool down to allow for co-operative hard work.

But no. The well-known Daniel Liu, local boss of Chinese contractor CCA, chose the other night to throw fuel on the fire. Speaking at the opening of the handsome Summer Palace restaurant to promote The Pointe, he got seriously off message by bad-mouthing Baha Mar (where he once ran the construction), calling it “some private development that tries to make it their own territory for their own ego (sic)” and excludes Bahamians.

An affable, hard-working engineer with US experience, Mr Liu lacks public relations savvy. Defaming a competitor is never a smart business strategy – and here it’s a very perverse one. Five years ago CCA and The Chinese Ex-Im Bank fought jointly to win the Baha Mar financing and construction business and knew its plans inside out. Now, the bank, as major creditor of the bankrupt project, would love to off-load it on a new owner while CCA knocks it as a badly planned tourist-only failure.

Both parties are owned by the Chinese state but are not acting much like friendly cousins reading from the same page. Maybe one knows Mandarin and the other Cantonese. Yuan Guisen, Ambassador of the People’s Republic here, should step in from his gleaming embassy to knock heads together and teach Mr Liu the art of diplomatic phrase-making.



March 5, 2016.


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