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Minnis Is Defensive On Baha Mar

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Deputy Chief Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

PRIME Minister Dr Hubert Minnis was on the defensive yesterday over his administration’s apparent change in tone regarding how it intends to handle Baha Mar moving forward.

This has placed the newly elected Minnis administration in the line of criticism because in March Dr Minnis, then in opposition, pledged to “engage and execute a real sale of Baha Mar to a qualified and respectable purchaser who believes in Bahamians; a purchaser who will utilise only Bahamian labour to complete the resort, and will put Bahamians back to work with real jobs as quickly as possible.”

However, since being elected to office, the government has seemed to step away from this position with Attorney General Carl Bethel, QC, last week stating that there was nothing in the newly unsealed Baha Mar documents that prompts renegotiation of the deal.

Asked about the criticism in this regard, Dr Minnis said: “I have been criticised for five years on many things so that’s nothing new. Thank you.”

Before this, he was asked to state the government’s stance on the beleaguered West Bay Street resort and appeared to be annoyed in his response.

“Listen I told you over and over,” he told a reporter. “I don’t know what about the English language you don’t understand. The government, just like the Bahamian people, we want to see Baha Mar functioning to provide jobs and opportunities for Bahamians and we’ll work towards that goal.”

Pressed further for his position on former Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian’s plea for a moratorium on the sale process, Dr Minnis said: “I have answered you. I told you our position. We would like to see Baha Mar opened and provide job opportunities for Bahamians.”

He did not respond to a question on whether he was going to review the hotel’s file.

This exchange with reporters followed the morning session of the House of Assembly, which has been adjourned to September 13.

The Nassau Guardian reported that earlier on Wednesday, Dr Minnis told that newspaper that he would not intervene in the Baha Mar sale. That newspaper also reported Mr Izmirlian reportedly met with Dr Minnis last week. When asked about this on Tuesday, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said he could not confirm reports that Dr Minnis had met with the former developer or his associates.

On Sunday, Mr Izmirlian called for a moratorium on the mega-resort’s sale to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd and a full investigation into the deal struck by the former government citing “unusual, one-sided” concessions and openly accusing the Christie administration of “self-dealing” and “state-sponsored discrimination.”

It came days after members of the new administration said it saw no cause to renegotiate the terms of the sale.

A statement from Mr Izmirlian’s BMD Holdings Ltd explained the demand for the sale process to be halted was motivated by a review of the recently released heads of terms between the Export Import Bank of China (CEXIM), China State Construction and the government.

The statement reiterated the former developer’s pledge that he is fully prepared to purchase the beleaguered resort, complete construction and operate it with a full Bahamian workforce and organisation.

It also notes that BMD is now considering legal options against the parties involved in the heads of terms.

However, on Tuesday, Mr Newbold said the government has no official response to Mr Izmirlian’s plea at this time.

He added that the situation is still being evaluated.

Mr Newbold stressed that the sale was a “very complicated situation” still under review by the government.

He said: “There has been no official reaction to the suggestion because the contracts and the entire situation is still being evaluated.

“I’m told it’s a very complex situation. Undoubtedly, I will say though, the Bahamian people have a vested interest in the success of that development and we believe that now is the time to ensure that any safeguards that need to be put in place, now is the time to do that in this process,” Mr Newbold said.

Comments

TalRussell 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Comrades! The Rt. Honourable Prime Minister Minister Minnis is but one of four red shirts who come off as acting all defensive whenever they're mentioned as being too alongside Izmirlian { You'd think there were no pictures taken up at Mount Fitzwilliam }.
Is there any wonder why the questions keep flying around them about their seriousness of - Is it really the Ordinary 'Bread Basket People's' Time?

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BahamasForBahamians 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Minnis is not a RT. Honorable. The RT only comes after 2 election victories as leader.

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Santina12002 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Sincere condolences from the Nottage family abroad. We will forever remember you all in our prayers. May God comfort you all in your deepest hours of need. May God bless you and give you his peace. Santina Nottage Browne Columbia South Carolina USA.

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CommonSense 5 months, 2 weeks ago

“Listen I told you over and over,” he told a reporter. “I don’t know what about the English language you don’t understand. The government, just like the Bahamian people, we want to see Baha Mar functioning to provide jobs and opportunities for Bahamians and we’ll work towards that goal.” - WOW! This is concerning. I'm having a bit of Buyer's remorse here. This was a major campaign promise and yet here you are, not fulfilling that promise and then you have the NERVE to be stink about it!

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BahamasForBahamians 5 months, 2 weeks ago

I'm here thinking the same thing. Is Minnis getting flustered with cameras ALREADY?

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Santina12002 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Sincere condolences to the Nottage family from your family abroad. We are praying for you may God bless you and may he give you his peace in your hours of need.. Santina Nottage Browne Columbia South Carolina USA.

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proudloudandfnm 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Nothing in the deal needs renegotiating? 1200 chinese laborers?!?!? In a depressed economy?!?!? Huh?????

Why would you allow the contractor that screwed up the original job to import more laborers? MAKE THEM SUB CONTRACT EVERYTHING TO BAHAMIANS! GROW SOME DAMNED BALLS AND MAKE THE RIGHT DEMANDS!!!

Screw the chinese if they don't like it...

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birdiestrachan 5 months, 2 weeks ago

roc wit doc lied about the Baha Mar situation this is only the beginning. he said what ever because he wanted to win the election at any cost. Bains Town is still waiting for their tax free zone and the Bahamian people will never see VAT taken off their electric bills. I say good for those who believed doc lies. I trust the man did not make any undisclosed donation to the FNM party like the Outspoken QC.

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sheeprunner12 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Bahamar brought down Perry ......... It may do the same to HAM ........ That ugly monstrosity must be imploded .......... It is a white elephant that will never succeed under the Fooks

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Well_mudda_take_sic 5 months, 2 weeks ago

If Minnis took money from corrupt Red Chinese officials and/or the racketeering numbers' bosses to fund the FNM general election win, then the long knives need to be unsheathed at his back much sooner rather than later. It's eerily odd that Minnis always refuses to outrightly refute and deny having taken campaign funding support from either of these two very corrupt groups who are hell bent on destroying what's left of the Bahamian way of life to satisfy their own causes (in the case of the Red Chinese) or insatiable financial greed and lascivious life style in the case of the likes of Sebas Bastian.

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jackbnimble 5 months, 2 weeks ago

It's easy to make a promise when you're on the outside looking in an haven't a clue as to what is going on behind the scenes. Now that he's in, I guess reality is a little different. Not to mention if the former PM had any smarts about him (and I think despite the constant shuffling he did) he and the Chinese would have created an airtight sale that nobody could undo especially after hearing the threats that it would be undone if the FNM assumed office.

Kinda reminds me of the BATELCO sale. Christie promised to undo it and to date it ain't been undone.

Should be a lesson to all opposition parties. Stop making promises just to score political brownie points without any knowledge of the facts. And even if you make them, attach a caveat. Say, "We will review the deal and if anything fishy is found we will make every effort to have it undone".

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licks2 5 months, 2 weeks ago

YALL SOUND JUST LIKE A BUNCHA OLD DAMN LADIES "TOTING NEWS" OVER THE BACK FENCE. . .ALL TALKING DUMB IGNORANT NONSENSE LIKE YINNA EEN BEEN TO NO SCHOOL THAT IS WORTH A TINKER'S DANG!

The National Review says he "SWING" Ismailian because he did not reneged on the deal met in place. . .one gotten from the court. . .now yinna saying he in bed with the Chinese because he will not do something STUPID like break the deal with the Chinese! Please tell me when the Bahamian people become this dumb. . .or is it just some of yinna on this site? Doc promised that if there is no sale "when" he win the government he will effect a "real" sale. . .so he met a "real" sale in place. . .one that he will be a fool to break. . .especially following behind idiotic advice given by mudder-sick, tal and birdie et al! The law is the law. . ."THIS IS A GOVERNMENT OF LAWS". . .is something yinna fail to grasps. It is a good thing that LBT them trained doc how to take cut hip from people and don't pay no attention to stupidity. . .jealous people. . .people who need to find something wrong to prove their point that he could not lead, talk, win an election, make any changes. . .now he making all of yinna ninnies look bad by thinking outta da box. I suggest that yinna hold ya peace and wait for him to make a "real" mistake instead of yall manufacturing one. . .yinna may very well have ya chance to say : "see. . .he made a dumb mistake". . .I am sure over time he will make mistakes for you who looking so hard for them that ya making-up them out of nothing! So for now. . .stop "ackin" like lil children them. . .picking on the popular child in the school yard to make him/her look bad to satisfy the low estimation you have of ya self!

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birdiestrachan 5 months, 1 week ago

He could not sell Baha Mar under any circumstance it did not belong to him and of course he is in bed with the Chinese and he had better make himself comfortable roc wit doc lied to the Bahamian people , now he has to live up to his promises.

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