EDITOR, The Tribune
SINCE the worldwide financial crisis of 2006-2007, a new predatory animal in the financial world has surfaced - the “vulture fund”.
As the name suggests, vulture funds circle a distressed economic situation, waiting just for the right time to swoop in and feed off the carcass, in this case the debt unsecured creditors of Baha Mar hold.
These vultures wait for debt holders to be so desperate to monetise their debt that they then sell the debt to the vulture for a small fraction of the original value.
The vulture, who can afford to be patient with their debt, then turns around and sells the debt for more than it paid, ultimately realising an undeserved windfall profit at the expense of the debt holders.
Recently, countries and domains like Argentina and Puerto Rico, who have been victimised by these vultures, as well as members of the US Congress, have been railing against this predatory, speculative behaviour, which ends up simply diverting money from desperate people to wealthy financiers.
Sadly, this is what we now have here in the Bahamas, only much worse!
In this case, it is not speculative investors looking to make a quick buck, but a party that has been supported and endorsed by the Prime Minister and his government.
But, of course, as someone who has continually deceived his constituents, the Prime Minister and the Chinese do not want to call it a “vulture” fund so they have called it instead “The Baha Mar Claims Committee”, or its official name “Perfect Luck Claims Ltd” (one can only assume the Bank is referring to how lucky they are to get away with this one-sided deal).
Initially, the Prime Minister tried to disguise it in his August 22 announcement, saying that this so-called committee would be a venue for Bahamian creditors to submit their claims for monies owed them in connection with Baha Mar (better to use actual language/quote, if possible) and certainly through his words left the impression that all those Bahamians owed monies would be paid.
In other words, a lot of sweet-talking rhetoric but no real details.
Those details, however, have subsequently emerged through the government posting of two FAQs - apparently the first FAQ was deficient - and various comments by the PM’s own ministers.
What we have subsequently learned is that this committee is not going to pay all Bahamians owed monies.
In fact any party owed money by committee member CCA - good luck!
And those who do fill out the forms and supply the documentation the Committee requires, if they should have the “perfect luck” to receive any kind of payment, they should not expect to get all that they are owed, but instead some fraction of that amount!
So - through the Committee - the Chinese bank committee member buys the debt on the cheap and is in a position to reap an amount greater than that when it sells Baha Mar. That is a ‘Vulture”.
Make no mistake about it, Bahamians, it is my opinion that our government and PM are now “partners” in a vulture fund where the winner can only possibly be the Chinese bank.
SITTING AND NOT HOLDING MY BREATH
September 13, 2016