PLP Chairman Bradley Roberts.
By SANCHESKA DORSETT
Tribune Staff Reporter
PLP CHAIRMAN Bradley Roberts yesterday said Sarkis Izmirlian must “show us the money” if he is serious about purchasing the stalled $3.5 billion Baha Mar resort.
In a press statement, Mr Roberts said if Mr Izmirlian has an interest in purchasing the assets of Baha Mar and delivering a world class resort for the Bahamian people as he claims, he should offer a serious proposal and plan instead of “finger-pointing, weeping and wailing”.
On Tuesday, Mr Izmirlian criticised the transfer of Baha Mar’s assets to Perfect Luck Holdings Ltd, calling the sale to the special purpose vehicle created by the Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM) an “intricate fabrication”.
And nearly two weeks after making a “bona fide” offer to buy Baha Mar, Mr Izmirlian, CEO of BMD Holdings Ltd, said he found it “bizarre” that he has received no response to the “superior proposal”.
In fact, in a letter addressed to Liu Liange, vice-chairman and president of CEXIM, Mr Izmirlian said not only has the bank not acknowledged receipt of the proposal, but “nor has anyone associated with either the bank, the receivers, or Perfect Luck,” made contact with him.
Mr Izmirlian is the original developer of Baha Mar.
In a letter dated October 10, Mr Izmirlian made an offer to purchase the stalled $3.5 billion resort “at a price in excess” of the current undisclosed bid.
Mr Roberts said the record clearly shows that the developer was given many opportunities to retain control of his development but “was less than forthright in his dealings with the government of the Bahamas.”
“The developer asked the prime minister to intervene when he encountered difficulties only to lead Baha Mar into bankruptcy in Delaware without notice to the government and with the full knowledge that the prime minister was working diligently - day and night – and in good faith to negotiate a deal that was fair and a win-win for all stakeholders involved,” the statement said.
“During the bankruptcy hearings in Delaware, the developer was able to guarantee a mere $15 million of the estimated $600 million required to finish the project. As much as the developer talked about his love for the so-called ‘Baha Mar citizens,’ there was no allocation made available to pay the Baha Mar employees or the unsecured creditors. Further, the developer was clear that he intended to reduce the staff complement by 98 per cent to a mere 52-man skeleton crew...The developer was very dishonest with and disrespectful to the prime minister, the government and people of the Bahamas so much so that the immigration minister was forced to caution the developer from a public place against his tone and tenor in addressing the nation’s leader.”
For the past 18 months, Mr Roberts said Mr Izmirlian has “blamed everyone but himself” for the fate of Baha Mar.
“We again repeat the position of the Bahamas government, if Sarkis Izmirlian has an interest in purchasing the assets of Baha Mar and delivering a world class resort for the Bahamian people as he claims, he should offer a serious proposal and plan to the beneficial owner; in short just show them the money,” Mr Roberts said.
“All we have seen to date are sour grapes, finger-pointing, vitriol and much weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth. Bahamians fully understand if one secures a mortgage and default on payments the property will be repossessed by the mortgage holder, notwithstanding the size of the transaction. How can Sarkis Izmirlian after defaulting and foreclosure demand or presume to tell the mortgage holder whom they should sell to and insult them in the process? These media tirades are unhelpful to the developer and to our beautiful country.”
Earlier this month, the Office of the Prime Minister urged Mr Izmirlian to work with Perfect Luck Holdings Limited, if the resort developer is in a position to make a “credible proposal” to buy the property as he has suggested.