By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
DEPUTY Prime Minister Philip Davis said yesterday that construction at the shuttered Baha Mar resort is expected to start in the next two weeks.
Mr Davis, also the Minister of Works, said the new start comes after extensive meetings between himself and resort stakeholders “to ensure smooth collaboration going forward”.
Late last month, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that construction at Baha Mar was expected to resume in September in a move to have the $3.5 billion resort project open no later than the end of the 2016/2017 winter season.
However since his statement, no definitive timeline on construction had been given.
Yesterday Mr Davis also rejected claims levelled by the resort’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian against the quality of work executed by its general contractor China Construction America (CCA).
“It is not a correct statement that the construction was being done contrary to our building codes,” Mr Davis said. “That is an incorrect statement and we will continue to ensure that construction is done in accordance with our building codes.”
Speaking on the sidelines of a ceremony honouring straw vendors he added:
“The permits that they have are still valid and if there are any new permits that they require then they will have to apply.”
The remobilisation at the resort is part of an agreement reached between the government and the Export-Import (EXIM) Bank of China, Mr Christie said previously.
“Construction at the site is expected to resume within a few weeks, during the month of September,” the Prime Minister said last month. “The bank has committed to fund all remaining construction costs to complete the project. China Construction (America) will finish the works, and will resolve outstanding claims with its suppliers and sub-contractors.”
Meanwhile, former employees of the resort who were let go last year are set to receive outstanding payments owed to them next week.
Employees with last names beginning with the letters A through F will collect payments on September 27, those with last names beginning with the letters G through O will collect their cheques on September 28, and last names beginning with the letters P through Z will collect their cheques on September 29 from the Crystal Palace Training Hotel, Casino Entrance.