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Proposal Is Submitted By Baha Mar Buyer

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE government has received the highly anticipated Baha Mar proposals from prospective buyer Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE), including a list of operators that the Hong Kong-based conglomerate is eyeing to run the shuttered mega-resort’s casino - the largest in the Bahamas and the Caribbean.

Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe confirmed yesterday that the Gaming Board began its due diligence on the list of casino operators late last week.

“(CTFE) has submitted to the government of the Bahamas proposals for the hotel and the casino,” he said, “and the government of the Bahamas is now looking at what they have submitted. We got it in last week.

“(CTFE) they’re going to pretty much follow what they’ve done in other jurisdictions where they have major casino operators from veterans in the industry. We’re looking at all the components, we have to take a look at what they do now.

“They’ve given us a list of players that we’re doing due diligence on.”

CTFE announced in a press statement last month that it was in talks to acquire the beleaguered Cable Beach project.

The announcement was heavily criticised by the Official Opposition, namely its Montagu candidate Dionisio D’Aguilar, a former Baha Mar director and key ally of embattled developer Sarkis Izmirlian.

Mr D’Aguilar charged that CTFE was “unsuited to invest in the Bahamas,” citing an alleged “well-documented connection to organised crime in Asia.”

While he did not identify the connection, it likely refers to the Cheng family’s – owners of CTFE – link to billionaire Stanley Ho through its stake in Macau group STDM.

Mr Ho and his associates have reportedly been unsuccessful in attempts to expand gaming interests into Australia, Canada and other countries due to alleged associations with Chinese triad gangs in his Macau casinos.

Democratic National Alliance Leader Branville McCartney has also raised concerns over due diligence, and the proposed buyer’s alleged “deep rooted relationships to elements of organised crime.”

CTFE immediately refuted those assertions, and stated its commitment to integrity and good governance in business operations worldwide. The Hong Kong conglomerate pointed out that the Cheng family’s role in the Macau casino is strictly as an investor with no involvement in day-to-day management of the casino or oversight of the gaming industry in Macau. It further stated that there will be no affiliation on the Baha Mar project with STDM.

Under its original developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, the casino would have been operated under the Baha Mar brand with a management firm hired to run it.

Mr Wilchcombe has previously said that the due diligence process will take at least three weeks.

Comments

DDK 2 years, 8 months ago

Just what the Bahamas needs - Oriental Mafia!

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Honestman 2 years, 8 months ago

An organization with links to organized crime sounds like the perfect bedfellow for the PLP. The idea of Christie and his cabinet carrying out "due dilligence" would be comical were it not so serious for the country. And so the charade continues.......

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BahamaPundit 2 years, 8 months ago

I say go for it. Heads on beds. Get that project started for crying out loud. Enough talk. At this point, I don't care who buys it, so long as it stops pulling this country down with its ugly shadow over Cable Beach. So tired of looking at an abandoned, ghost town Baha Mar.

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Alex_Charles 2 years, 8 months ago

We are going back tour roots, from the UBP doing business with the Mafia and Nazi financiers, to the Pindling administration working with the coke boys and Now Christie is getting in bed with not just the Chinese Communist Party, but also Hong Kong's richest Family brand with ties to the mafia.

We clearly are attracting those that are just like us. Saris' deal is still on the table isn't it? Oh right the Chinese decides who buys it... Issue of Sovereignty my ass

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SP 2 years, 8 months ago

...... Bahamians Want Sarkis Proposal Submitted For "HIS" Baha Mar Development! ......

PLP government can go FOOK themselves!

Mr. Sarkis Izmirlian deserves "right of first refusal" with Baha Mar PERIOD!

PM Perry Christie has lost his FOOKEN mind if he thinks Bahamians will accept some Chinese FOOKER over Sarkis.

We will vote the PLP OUT, OUT, OUT, FOOKEN OUT for what they did to Sarkis Izmirlian, a proven friend to Bahamas and Bahamians!!

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alfalfa 2 years, 8 months ago

Maybe we will vote the PLP out, but it will be for a multitude of reasons. Sarkis was handed Cable Beach, which included the roads and a large portion on the land adjoining Skyline Drive, for PEANUTS. This debacle was approved first by Christie, and then fine tuned by Ingraham, and now is into round two with Christie. Sarkis is not, nor never was, a hotelier, and was given this gift by the governments during the recession. He did not even come up with the purchase price which, if my memory serves me correctly, was around 170 million, but obtained financing from Scotia Bank with the assistance of the government. After much finagling, he set up a deal with the State Bank of China, and the Chinese Construction Company to finance the whole project, and when time came to provide the land as security, he was unable to satisfy the Scotia Bank Advance. He was being coached by the master of flim flam and avoidance of paying Government bills, and was able to convince Scotia, with the help of the then PM to accept shares in his project as repayment for their loan. He got all of this property without putting up a penny. The State Bank of China are the legal owners of this property, as they advanced the funds to bring the development to the point where it is. If the Chinese or anyone else can come up with a proposal and the funds to purchase and complete this project, then Thank God. This Sarkis led fiasco has been an international disaster for our country for years, under the stewardship of this man Sarkis, and his protege, Sandy. Good riddance to him. Now if you want to vote the PLP out, as I do, do so on the basis of things that they did not do, and matters that are completely under their control.

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DontAssume 2 years, 8 months ago

Obviously; YOU--PLP buffoon did not read the 5th post in response to this story. As much as YOU and ALL the other PLP-mongers refuse to accept or come to terms with; this PLP government is on borrowed time. I at this point can care less about what was afforded Sarkis...what is atrocious and unforgiving is the PLP's callous actions and tactics negatively impacting Bahamians and the Bahamas as a Nation.

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Porcupine 2 years, 8 months ago

I agree with many of your points. However, if we abide by what our parents taught us and be careful about who you spend time with, my lot is with Sarkis. You don't have to be a hotelier, or anything else technical in today's world so long as you are a good leader and surround yourself with loyal, honest, hard-working, first class managers. By all accounts, what Sarkis was doing for the Bahamian people, in terms of making people feel they were part of a professional and world class organization was absolutely essential to help bring this country into the 21st century. Time will tell how well these new owners will do. I think the PLP is intimidated by anyone with an ounce of decency and honesty. Hence, the direction they are going now. Anyone surprised?

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alfalfa 2 years, 8 months ago

Norman, your points are well taken; however do not lose sight of the fact that it was Sarkis who brought the Chinese into the picture, and into this project, as he could not obtain financing elsewhere. I too, do not support criminal elements coming into the country, and the sad fact is that it appears that there are no other buyers, in spite of what the government says. The owners will do what they have to do, or this building will stay as it is.

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Alex_Charles 2 years, 8 months ago

We don't have the choice in this matter anymore, regardless. If memory serves we have hinged our economy on the spike in jobs the hotel is to create. Failure for it to launch and have an economic impact may very well tank us with another downgrade to junk. Looking at the budget and expenditures we are way over our heads and arguably in an untenable situation.

Notice the downgrade report came out just hours before the "Big Bahamar Announcement" from Mein Fuhrer Christie. Smoke and mirrors and we have to pay to keep the show going.

Damned if we do and damned if we don't, we've been shafted by Ingraham and Christie in the long run.

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banker 2 years, 8 months ago

If you want to see why Baha Mar will be a slum in a few years, you have to watch this youtube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9eXi...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o9eXi... It's called "Why EVERYTHING in China is falling apart". It is filmed in China, by expats who married Chinese women and live in China.

Building pieces of crap cheaply is a cultural thing. Everything that they build falls apart because they don't culturally care about quality in construction.

In the same series they have "Secrets About Chinese Hotels" -- https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chhi4...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Chhi4...

This is not going to end well.

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jus2cents 2 years, 8 months ago

All casinos in Asia have organized crime connections, and most major construction companies in Asia have too, anyone who thinks otherwise is naive.

Just ask Trump.

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