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Sarkis Raises New Baha Mar Questions

Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian.

Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY General Carl Bethel, QC, revealed yesterday the government received a letter from Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian in response to questions from The Tribune over whether the government would investigate the issuance of a casino licence to the resort’s purchaser Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE).

The letter, said to be dated October 17, and sent to the Office of the Attorney General purportedly called on the Minnis administration to look into the previous government’s April 5, 2017, issuance of the licence, a source told The Tribune.

According to the source, the letter also referred to multiple agreements, records and documents outside of those, which were already made public regarding Baha Mar.

However, when this newspaper questioned to what the letter referred and its details, Mr Bethel would not say.

“The office received a letter from Mr Sarkis Izmirlian and I have forwarded it to my senior officials for their opinion on the matter,” he told The Tribune in a brief telephone interview.

Asked whether he could say when this letter was received, Mr Bethel said: “I don’t recall the details. It was I think early this week or late last week and as soon as I got it I forwarded for consideration.

“I received a letter from him. I am not at liberty to go into details of whatever he was asking. I forwarded it to officials for consideration. I’m not getting into any details about a letter like that.”

Mr Bethel is expected to make a complete report to Cabinet on Tuesday, a source informed this newspaper.

Back in June, Tribune Business reported Mr Izmirlian urged the Minnis administration to impose “a moratorium” on the completion of Baha Mar’s sale and warned he was considering legal action against the Christie administration’s “state sponsored discrimination.”

Baha Mar’s original developer launched a withering assault on the heads of terms for the $4.2 billion project’s construction completion, variously describing the multi-million-dollar tax incentives granted to the Chinese as “toxic,” “one-sided” and a “wholesale giveaway” that the Bahamas cannot afford given its precarious fiscal position.

He also demanded that the new government “reopen the investigation” into the casino licence granted to Baha Mar’s potential new owner, CTFE, and publicly disclose the Gaming Board’s assessment of its suitability.

Outlining his two key requests, Mr Izmirlian told the Minnis administration in June: “Place a moratorium on the completion of any sale of Baha Mar and other transactions under these agreements.”

This, he argued, would enable the new government and the Bahamian people to assess “the toxicity” of the former Christie administration’s dealings with the Chinese, “and how the best interests of Bahamians can be met.”

The Minnis administration’s position on Baha Mar including its apparent change in tone has placed the government in the line of criticism.

In March Prime Minister Dr Hubert 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 Mr Bethel at one point stating there was nothing in unsealed Baha Mar documents that prompts renegotiation of the deal.

Comments

sheeprunner12 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Someone please tell Minnis and KPT to GIVE the Freeport hotel (that they want the government to own) to Izzie ............ He is begging for a hotel ......... He needs to be given a consolation prize for what Perry did with Bahamar ................. smdh

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The Baha Mar development was wrongfully taken from Sarkis by the corrupt Christie-led PLP government in what was tantamount to a nationalization of the development for the benefit of Red China. But don't expect Carl Bethel to do anything towards righting the wrong of the previous government. It was Carl Bethel's mentor Hubert Ingraham who brought Red China to the Bahamas and Carl Bethel only has loving eyes for Red China!

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birdiestrachan 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The FNM Government promised they ,in fact PM Minnis promised he would sell the Bar Mar and he must have promised Mr. Sarkis something, There is nothing to Stop the FNM Government. They can take the hotel from the present owners ,close it down and sell it. they can remove VAT. They can close the web shops. those are promises they made to Bahamians . Also Bains Town Tax free zone. These promises helped them to win the election. So far they have promised and have not delivered on not one single one.

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DDK 10 months, 3 weeks ago

For once I agree with Birdie, more or less, lol!!!

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OldFort2012 10 months, 3 weeks ago

The good thing about Mudda's comments is that they are written in English (and not gibberish) so that at least I can understand them and analyze them for factualness and truth. Let us take his first sentence:

"The Baha Mar development was wrongfully taken from Sarkis by the corrupt Christie-led PLP government in what was tantamount to a nationalization of the development for the benefit of Red China."

"Wrongfully" implies that it was done without or against Court orders. Not so. Quite the contrary: every Court order was obeyed.

No argument that the "PLP government" was corrupt but they did not take anything away from anyone. It was the Courts, through due process of law. Now, if the argument is that the Bahamas is a banana republic without due process and that all judges are corrupt and just there to rubber-stamp the government's bidding, then he should say so and give some factual proof.

"Nationalisation" is the process by which property is transferred to the ownership of the nation. Was Baha Mar ever, even for a millisecond, in the ownership of the Bahamas? No, it was not.

"For the benefit of Red China": this would imply that the Chinese benefitted financially. In fact, when you take how much money they lent and subtract how much they recovered, they are down billions.

So we are actually left with: "Don't expect Carl Bethel to do anything." What a shocker! An AG who does nothing against the due process of law?! What is this world coming to?

Overall:

Entertainment value: B- Factualness: F. Must revise harder.

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banker 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Be ready for the Mudda doppelgangers to vilify you. I have lost count of how many names that he posts under.

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JohnDoe 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Agreed Banker. He is a paid special interest propagandist interested in perpetuating the historical status quo. The multiple accounts is his attempt to lend credibility to his posts. He is posting from a couple accounts in this same thread.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Are you really one of the very few silly enough to believe our judiciary was untouched by the wide spread and rampant corruption of the previous government? If so, you must have been impressed by the dazzling performances of the likes of Allyson Maynard-Gibson as AG, Gomez as Minister of Legal Affairs, Justice Winder and others under the guise of 'law'. Sarkis and his legal advisors were not nearly as impressed according to filings made in the UK High Court.

As for nationalization, for many corrupt third world governments it is simply the means to achieve a pre-determined end. Even corrupt greedy government officials often know their limitations in owning and managing certain types of nationalized assets to maintain and/or enhance value for their own pockets. It is therefore not uncommon for nationalized assets to end up in the hands of a pre-ordained buyer or operator either as an integral part of or shortly after the nationalization event. Such a pre-ordained buyer or operator is usually only too willing to engage in backroom deals of one kind or another with corrupt government officials, the end result being great unjust enrichment for all concerned except the original owner of the nationalized assets.

I believe we share pretty much the same opinion of Carl Bethel.

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Reality_Check 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Got the alert. He's just being cynical.

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Porcupine 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Excellent response mudda. Yours is a valuable voice in the mayhem of adolescence only too common here.

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TalRussell 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Comrades! He's back, again!
Ever get the feeling the red shirts cabinet keeps shoving batteries up ass Izmirlian, just enough tease him how they gon makes good on his daddy's $800,000… cause he's stubborn like an energizer bunny who doesn't give up?

Energizer Bunny - (Back Again)!

.........////https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lK2yanPus_0

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OldFort2012 10 months, 3 weeks ago

No, Mudda, you cannot get away so lightly with your reply, as it lacks intellectual rigour.

As I said in my comment above, and you seem to stress in your reply, your argument really is that this is a banana republic and that the judges are corrupt. I use the present tense because judges are appointed for life and do not change with political elections. If they were corrupt under Christie they remain corrupt under Minnis and probably were corrupt under Papa and Pindling before them, as Christie is far too stupid to have invented corruption. There can be no arguing with that fact. If that is truly so, then there is no hope for this country whatsoever. If that is what you mean, say so. Let us know where you stand.

That cannot possibly be the opinion of Sarkis, as he invested a lot of money here. Only an idiot or a clueless playboy toying with Daddy's money would invest in a country with no rule of law. Which do you think he is?

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JohnDoe 10 months, 3 weeks ago

You forgot to mention that it would also mean that judges in both the Bahamas and the USA are corrupt and that the Bahamian government had the capacity to pre-determine and influence the results of the US courts.

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BahamasForBahamians 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Can everyone just ignore 'mudda' and his other accounts?... He takes away from the conversation in the commentary here at the tribune.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Ahhh, and here we see yet another ardent anti-Sarkis PLP supporter.

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OldFort2012 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Nothing to do with political affiliation. I have never voted for the PLP in my life. I look at facts and all the facts point to Sarkis being an imbecile who managed to fuck things up all by himself, without any help from any politician.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Sarkis and his father gambled on a 'banana republic' Bahamas in much the same way that his father did many years ago in Gabon with the family's peanuts and other nuts empire. You win some and you lose some. But that fact in no way justifies the wrongful de facto nationalization event that was undertaken by the corrupt Christie-led PLP government for the benefit of Red China with big time kickbacks flowing to crooked senior Bahamian officials at the highest levels of government. Sarkis and his father will have their day in court - the UK High Court.

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OldFort2012 10 months, 3 weeks ago

Nothing wrong with that. If the UK Court establishes different facts, I will believe them. No argument there.

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Peanut 10 months, 2 weeks ago

Er, Gambia actually, not Gabon. Or maybe they're the same place :)

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