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Unsealing Baha Mar Documents ‘Important’

Carl Bethel is sworn in as Attorney General by Governor General by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling.
Photo: Letisha Henderson/BIS

Carl Bethel is sworn in as Attorney General by Governor General by Governor General Dame Marguerite Pindling. Photo: Letisha Henderson/BIS

By KHRISNA VIRGIL

Deputy Chief Reporter

kvirgil@tribunemedia.net

NEWLY appointed Attorney General Carl Bethel said yesterday the Minnis administration regards the unsealing of the documents relating to Baha Mar’s sale as “very important,” but added that it is too early to reveal the avenue the government plans to take to have the deal made public.

Speaking to The Tribune on Monday, Mr Bethel said he had not yet seen or reviewed the file and that any decision in this regard is not expected until the file has been looked at and discussed with his team at the Office of the Attorney General.

After repeated calls from the Free National Movement while in opposition and critics to reveal what was detailed in the deal, former Prime Minister Perry Christie in January assured Bahamians that the documents would be made public. However this was never done.

“I am just getting my first touch of the issue,” Mr Bethel said during a telephone interview.

“I haven’t seen the file as yet, although I did have my first verbal briefing on it today (Monday).

“This is something that we do regard as very important. However, I have to review and then be briefed and we’ll go from there.”

On April 30, the former Christie administration released Baha Mar’s heads of agreement, which included several revelations, including a $4m annual bill for eight years by the government to help market the mega resort upon its opening.

The document, signed on April 25, also outlined a number of other concessions granted to the new buyer of the beleaguered resort, including value added tax (VAT) exemption for the project’s completion until the end of 2019 and write off of $10m in casino debts.

While stressing that there must at all times be “continued efforts” to maximise Bahamian employment at the resort, the government further allowed for the granting of up to 300 work permits for non-Bahamian workers in senior management positions, those with technical or specialty skills, including brand management, “where there is a demonstrable need and lack of qualified Bahamian applicants.”

The heads of agreement noted that after the first 18 months of operation of the resort and casino, work permit numbers are projected to drop to 200.

The resort also will be exempt from the payment of real property tax for 10 years “commencing on the date of opening for business of each facility within the project.”

The heads of agreement also committed the government to solving the long-standing issues plaguing the New Providence Landfill and addressing the issue of unreliable electricity supply in the capital by the end of this year.

The timing of the release of the heads of agreement coincided with the end of the government’s self-imposed deadline to push for the release of the sealed Supreme Court documents relating to the sale of the resort to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE).

However, those documents remain under the court ordered seal and as a result, the sales price and other conditions involved in the process are still unknown.

The non-government organisation Transparency in Governance has recently made a motion in court to have the documents released to the public.

Comments

TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Comrades! Ain't takes long for the procrastination bullshi@ to begins to flow down red stream....And, I thought Minnis and his gang - had the Baha Mar hidden from public documents - all figured out?

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DDK 1 year, 6 months ago

Why don't you just chill Comrade?

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banker 1 year, 6 months ago

Sit small Tal. Having your party humiliated is a bitter pill to swallow. But let me tell you, you will bend yourself into a pretzel trying to rationalise it when all of the criminal crap that your beloved PLP did to this country. And you won't be able to write anything without saying redshirts ten times.

I understand that if you swallow the bitter pill with Crown, not only does it go down better, but you might get a pleasant lil drug interaction. If I had more milk of human kindness flowing in me, I'd send you a case of crown, but you have already had your time at the public trough.

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by banker

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MassExodus 1 year, 6 months ago

Tal cool your ballsac. They only just had their first Ministerial meeting today... Give them at least 1 week. I mean we know you hate the FNM, but you have to calm down and be realistic like Mudda_Take_Reality KML

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alfalfa 1 year, 6 months ago

Not to worry TAL.The documents will be unsealed, and all will be able to digest the deal that saw the hotel open, but then stay closed. We will finally know if it was sold and to whom. I wonder if they are going to replace their VP Government Business. He has no more strings to pull, and the hotel WILL have to pay its taxes and bills. Ask BPL how much Bahamar is paying for service. Nadda. If they are indeed open, their income and expense statement reflects zero income, and mounting expenses from salaries, utilities, maintenance, etc. Not pretty. I am afraid many will be disappointed when all the details are revealed.

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hnhanna 1 year, 6 months ago

There is a process the government must follow to unseal this document. People who do not understand court matters should refrain themselves from making ridiculous statements

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 6 months ago

Justice Winder erred big time in having the documents sealed in the first place given their obvious great import to the public interest. Quite frankly he should be disrobed as part of the process of unsealing the documents. A judge like Winder who doesn't know better than to create his 'own' rule of law to serve his political masters and in so doing very deliberately subvert the very genuine interests of the public at large deserves to be shown the door.

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Truism 1 year, 6 months ago

Did he err in law or just in doing what you'd wish he would do. He made a ruling and like all judgements of the supreme court it could be appealed. If it wasn't, let's assume the principals in the matter would have been advised by their counsel that the judgment would stand on appeal.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 1 year, 6 months ago

Devious lawyers and judges alike all too often roll the dice on bad judgements because they know just how costly it is to appeal anything through the Bahamian courts these days.

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Comrades If Minnis, Carl and KP were sincerely serious about unsealing those Baha Mar documents - they could've and should've petition Justice Winder. Truth is - even back in December 2016 at the height of Reheasa's House MP's Coup - Carl was undecided if he was with Minnis or Reheasa. I am going to start a website just to keep track as to how long it will take MOF KP - beofre he borrows the red shirts first BILLION dollars - I say in less than 10 months from May 11, 2017

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MassExodus 1 year, 6 months ago

Tal we're not in Decemeber 2016 anymore. It is May 16th and many things have changed. Give the FNM a week. They only just today met as ministers to go through some sort of plan for the immediate future. We know you hate the FNM, and you want to unreasonably make them look weak and ineffective.

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Comrade, go ask for a copy Carl's take on Reheasa and her Coup, that aired on Thursday December 8, 2016, the Guardian's talk show, The Revolution. I still don't know what he meant when he said about the Coup; "It’s politics and all things are possible?"
I think he was also asked if he would accept a senate appointment from Coup Leader Reheasa?
Minnis better strap down for a rough ride with the bunch he won with. You want a quick count 10 of their names that even Papa Hubert would have trouble surviving around.

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MassExodus 1 year, 6 months ago

Tal I am saying to move forward. Give Minnis a chance. Nothing has happened yet. Why you so vex, trying to make a story out of nothing?

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banker 1 year, 6 months ago

Why you so vex, trying to make a story out of nothing?

Because they cannot stand being shown the truth, so have to vigorously defend their flawed loyalties otherwise every will see them for what they are, and it een a pretty sight. Happens all of the time. Look at what the Republicans do to justify Trump.

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killemwitdakno 1 year, 6 months ago

They can't look like their taking away the power of the Supreme Court.

Better find a Comey to call for the case to re-investigated.

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The_Oracle 1 year, 6 months ago

PLP's following the US democrat lead: Can't accept the results, attack attack, attack! Deny, Deny Deny. Invent Conspiracy theories ad hock, something will stick! Counter productive. Move on. Work with what you have until proven to be just as bad. Let's face it, the PLP is the poster child for how not to do anything!

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Comrade The_Oracle, has nothing to do with attack, attack. The Bahamaland became a a British Crown colony in 1718, when the British clamped down on piracy. Some of us think it's crucial to protect prime minister Minnis in his job - from some the red people he brought to power with him....cause the Bahamaland has lasted for 299 years. Now she could be done within the next five-years.
His red crown ministers are done talking in the "I" word! The Bahamaland is a "we da people" nation!

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banker 1 year, 6 months ago

Fook off. Your entire PLP government stole from Bahamians ever since Independence, and now you just decide to become a patriot? Your ingrained PLP trait of hypocrisy is undeniable.

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Emac 1 year, 6 months ago

I approve of this comment. I understand that Tal-Laura prefers to live under the dark corrupt government of the PLP, but now she just needs to go relax her coochy, because It's The People's Time!

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TalRussell 1 year, 6 months ago

Comrade Emac, thanks for warning me to wrap and strapped down the coochy.

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banker 1 year, 6 months ago

You don't have to worry around the brave one -- unless you Jamaican.

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baldbeardedbahamian 1 year, 6 months ago

SO GOOD TO SEE NO STUPID BIRDIE COMMENTS. THE TROLL HAS LOST ITS PAYCHECK MAYHAP?

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