By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Baha Mar Claims Committee has issued about 200 cheques to Bahamian companies owed by the beleaguered resort, Committee Chairman James Smith said yesterday.
The pace at which companies have submitted their claims, however, remain slow.
“The response so far is approaching 50 per cent of what we expected,” Mr Smith said.
“We’ve made provisions where we are calling business people and they are coming in. We’re certifying submissions in terms of accuracy and comparing it to what the Baha Mar books show and we’re paying out. We’re on target for ending this process at the end of December. I can’t say companies are coming forward at the same pace as individual employees of Baha Mar did, however.”
Mr Smith previously said about 200 companies will likely receive a collective total of $8m - $10m.
The committee previously paid about 2,000 ex-employees of Baha Mar the outstanding salary, severance pay and other benefits owed to them.
Companies owed less than $500,000 were expected to recover all owed to them while those owed more than this amount would be able to negotiate to recover at least 50 per cent of what is owed to them.
However, if the trend continues whereby fewer companies come forward with claims, that increases the odds that every company could get what they are owed.
The Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM) made about $100 million available to pay former Baha Mar employees and creditors.
Regarding businesses that have yet to come forward with claims, Mr Smith said they may have absorbed the loss, written it off and moved on.
Mr Smith also warned that some businesses owed money may believe they are not required to submit documents to the committee to reclaim what’s owed to them because they submitted such documents to the Supreme Court after Baha Mar filed for bankruptcy last year.
However, he emphasised that the Claims Committee process is separate from that of the courts and the committee still needs to receive documents verifying that they are owed.