Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar. Photo: Terrel W. Carey/Tribune Staff
By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
TOURISM Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar says his position on Baha Mar and its importance to the country has changed since being appoint to his post.
Speaking outside Cabinet yesterday, the former Baha Mar board member praised the resort’s continued expansion, insisting his past views had been influenced by his relationship with Baha Mar’s original developer, Sarkis Izmirlian.
“Let’s say that my position has changed from when I offered those views,” he said. “I was the director of a company that was ran by the initial investor, and I was supportive of those views.”
However, Mr D’Aguilar added: “Now, I am the Minister of Tourism and I am… looking out for all Bahamians. An asset has been built, concessions have been given; it is now time to, no matter what my feelings were, to get that hotel open and Bahamians employed.”
“That’s my primary focus, and that’s the primary focus of this government. Previous views not withstanding.”
Baha Mar, which now has a staff complement of more than 4,000, yesterday saw its third and final property, the Rosewood, execute its long-awaited opening.
The resort has hired around 400 staff to service the 200-plus room property.
Addressing the latest opening, Mr D’Aguilar added: “It has been a long journey.”
He added: “It is wonderful news. It’s a five-star product. The top of the line. So we are very excited today, the final piece of the Baha Mar cake is falling into place; many billions and many years later.”
The statement echoed sentiments he shared last month to commemorate Baha Mar’s one year anniversary.
In a statement of its own last month, Baha Mar noted: “(Our) opening year has greatly contributed to growth of the economy in The Bahamas.”