By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Chief Reporter
CHOW Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE) has received the full support of the government to complete and operate Baha Mar, according to resort President Graeme Davis, who yesterday flagged the parent company’s international status as “visionary business leaders”.
In a press statement, Mr Davis said the resort was on track to meet its goal of employing more than 5,000 Bahamians at the completion of its phased opening in 2018.
The resort president did not acknowledge the calls for a moratorium on the resort’s sale by former developer Sarkis Izmirlian’s BMD Holdings Ltd.
“Baha Mar and its parent company, CTFE, are extremely pleased with the government’s commitment to fully support our continued efforts in the completion and successful operations for the future of Baha Mar, and realise the full measure of its economic benefits to be released for the Bahamian people”, Mr Davis noted.
“The Cheng family and CTFE are recognised throughout the world as visionary business leaders and we are extremely excited about next phases for Baha Mar’s continued growth. Baha Mar has already distinguished itself internationally in recognised publications and as we continue to expand our offerings, we know that our reputation for exceptional experiences will continue to grow.”
He continued: “This is a very exciting time for both Baha Mar and the Bahamas as our destination resort continues to hire and train Bahamians for its hotels, existing-casino, recreation and restaurant offerings and in preparation for the opening of the SLS and Rosewood. We are rapidly adding to our complement of more than 2,000 Bahamian employees and are on track to meet our goal of employing more than 5,000 associates at the completion of the phased opening in 2018.
“Once we reach our stabilised business levels and (are) fully operational, we anticipate creating over 7,500 direct jobs for Bahamians, which will contribute more than $65 million in direct taxation annually and over $100 million annually in combined direct, indirect and induced annual tax revenues to the Bahamas. We are committed to the success of Baha Mar and the Bahamian people.”
The statement from Mr Izmirlian’s BMD Holdings on Sunday called for the investigation undertaken by the Gaming Board to grant CTFE’s casino licence to be reopened, and its findings made public; and further stated that BMD is now considering legal options against the parties involved in the heads of terms between the Export Import Bank of China (CEXIM), China State Construction and the government.
It also refers to the alleged “extensive, disturbing public record of potentially extensive criminal associations of Chow Tai Fook’s owners,” and suggested it was a factor that the previous administration “appears to have been intentionally and conveniently ignored.”
CTFE has repeatedly denied claims that its operations were linked to organised crime in Asia.
The resort’s statement yesterday, read: “With diversified, international interests across real estate, hospitality, retail and transportation industries, CTFE and the Cheng family have built their businesses with values based on integrity and good governance. CTFE and the Cheng family are proud of their strong reputation with business leaders and regulatory authorities and the strength of their financial reputation throughout the world.”