Roker: Izmirlian has no regard for PM

Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian.

Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian.


Tribune Staff Reporter


BAHA Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian has blatantly disrespected this country because he has no regard for Prime Minister Perry Christie whom he views as a “weak” leader, former Immigration Minister Loftus Roker said yesterday.

According to Mr Roker, had Mr Izmirlian acted in contempt of this country and its leadership when he served as minister in the Pindling administration, the resort developer would have been kicked out of the country and banned from returning.

Mr Roker also said that the harsh words Mr Izmirlian has had for the government may be an indication of further “conflict” behind the scenes.

“I take the view that as a Bahamian in The Bahamas, any and all foreigners must respect me,” Mr Roker said when contacted by The Tribune. “I think he (Mr Izmirlian) sees Mr Christie as weak and I bet he knows the prime minister better than you or I. So I think with reason, he has made the statements he has made and acted the way he has because he sees Christie as weak.”

He added: “To have acted the way he has and to do it publicly he would have been made to leave right away. No question about that. But it’s a different story when people think they can say what they want to you and treat you how they want to treat you.

“One of these days when we stop looking at everything politically, we will find that Baha Mar is more complicated than we think. There is a lot of conflict between the leadership and that might be why Mr Izmirlian has said and done certain things.”

Last week, Foreign Affairs and Immigration Minister Fred Mitchell said Mr Izmirlian would have been thrown out of the country had he made scathing remarks about the government under previous leaders such as Mr Roker.

“He would not have lasted a day within the borders of the Bahamas,” Mr Mitchell said, adding that these are different times and kinder gentler days.

Baha Mar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a US court on June 29. It is a move that Mr Christie has said came without notice to the government.

Since then, Baha Mar criticised the Christie administration when it delayed paying resort workers whose salaries Mr Izmirlian had attempted to protect under the Chapter 11 filing.

Baha Mar accused the government of “concocting a sideshow for its own purposes.”

Baha Mar also questioned why the Christie administration is not supporting Mr Izmirlian, who, it said, has been “victimised” by the resort’s general contractor, China Construction America. Baha Mar also said the government’s actions have “sown doubt” about the project’s future.

This led Mr Christie to fire back with questions of Mr Izmirlian’s mental health. In a statement, Mr Christie said cool heads and rationality ought to prevail. However, he said, he had “grave concerns for the state of Mr Izmirlian’s mind”.

However, there were signs of a strained relationship between the government and Mr Izmirlian earlier this year.

During a Chamber of Commerce summit at the Melia resort, Mr Izmirlian criticised successive governments for “unfulfilled promises” and suggested the Christie administration seek “outside help” on crime prevention and education for the country to succeed.

Meanwhile, new talks between the government, Baha Mar, the Export-Import Bank of China and China State Construction were expected to wrap up yesterday in Beijing.

The government hopes stakeholders can settle the crisis out of court and have the resort opened later this year.


crabman 8 years, 12 months ago

Loftus "Former Minister of Immigration" and never asked back by the PLP Roker, is a tired washed up bitter tyrant. His way of thinking has cost this country plenty, Stay on the BACK BENCH, drink your rum and play dominoes, that is where you belong.

TalRussell 8 years, 12 months ago

Comrade there is no way hell Chinese will make any deal Izmirlian, so he might as well start a packing making his exit, off premises Baha Mar. Will the Chinese stay in futuristic financing involved with Baha Mar, highly likely but will have see. Baha Mar should be sold off as individual resorts., and never again will any government foolishly approve another mega project our Bahamaland.
Doubtful, our supreme court will play with Izmirlian. So much Papa's influence.

Well_mudda_take_sic 8 years, 12 months ago

Loftus Roker is the father of every Bahamian today who enjoys a D- report card and very sub-standard public education! This man's legacy is the destruction of our public educational system by pulling overnight the work permits of hardworking, qualified and devoted foreign teachers (many of them Brits), creating many teaching positions for unqualified Bahamians. Roker was just too stupid to realize that all Ping really wanted was future generations of uneducated Bahamian voters who could be easily manipulated by him and his cohorts. Sean McWeeney, having already received his quality education from the foreign teachers booted out of the Bahamas by Roker, was only too happy to push with Roker for the premature Bahamianization of the teaching profession under the misguided belief that this would somehow help give Bahamian students a sense of national identity and preserve their Bahamian culture. But McWeeney, like Roker, was used as a political pawn by Ping to help Ping assume and maintain the Moses-like status he so very much desired to achieve over future generations of uneducated voters. Yes, the seeds of the average Bahamian's ruination were long ago planted by a most unwise and selfish few with Ping, Roker and McWeeney being chief amongst them! Ingraham and Christie have simply perpetuated the D- educated electorate, because this is the only means for their political survival that they will ever know.

TheMadHatter 8 years, 12 months ago

And to top it off, there were very few Bahamian teachers added to the workforce. Most were imported from Guyana, Jamaica, Barbados, and other southern Caribbean countries.

Prior to that, there were Brits here as you say, but also a lot from Australia, New Zealand, and Canada. They supplied high tech firms in Freeport, like Syntex, Borco, Franklyn Chemicals with educated tech staff and helped produce some of the older computer gurus that we have left in the Bahamas today.

The idea of the Ping govt was simply to replace WHITE teachers with darker-skinned teachers. Bahamianization was a nice sounding word, to allow them to bring in a host of teachers from the southern Caribbean most of whom our students could not understand the dialect of.

So basically we cut of our nose to spite our face, and the cost has hardly even begun to be paid yet.


paul_vincent_zecchino 8 years, 12 months ago

Vivid recollections of that era, even when as a teenager, competent Brits and others who'd come to the Bahamas and who occupied many positions of responsibility were ousted as part of 'Bahamianization'.

They were replaced with Bahamians who'd had no training in the post. This was cruel to both the ousted parties and the Bahamians. PLP during that corrosive late 60s thru the 80s era, was viewed with concern by many who saw the deterioration immediately.

The destructive actions paralleled the stupid, destructive, arrested-development left wing chicanery which ran rampant in America during the late 60s thru the 70s. At the bottom of it were the same old dark activities of money laundering, drug smuggling, and leftist subversion.

The damage done in both countries, as you note in the case of the Bahamas, was permanent, enduring to the present.

Present day conditions come sharply into focus when one goes back thirty years, perhaps another ten or twenty beyond that, and projects the lines forward.

asiseeit 8 years, 12 months ago

So what about the majority of Bahamians that have no respect for our lousy P.M., you going to kick them out as well? Typical PLP idiot!

realfreethinker 8 years, 12 months ago

This is typical of the knee jerk reaction of the plps. They have no decorum. Fred and Perry all over the place catching feelings like a woman with pms. can't take a little chiding.

lionfish 8 years, 12 months ago

That's not fair to women!

Chucky 8 years, 12 months ago

Doesn't a PM have to actually earn his respect? Or is the PM owed respect? Last I checked, a PM is elected, based on what he says he will do for the country. Being elected PM, (or MP etc), is an impressive display of society's approval and respect, but that approval and initial respect lasts only as long as a PM remains true to his words from the election platform. Should a PM be dishonest, or dishonest and completely useless (and any other they public official for that matter) they do not qualify to retain any "respect".

Additionally, the use of the word "honourable" before the name and title of most public figures most often is a complete farce, might more aptly be considered an oxymoron, most certainly abuse of the language. The "honourable" has value when applied honestly and used in appropriate circumstance. The prefix "honourable" has be lavished more often on our most disgusting, not distinguished citizens; who happen to somehow be in public office.

Some of these politicians spout off with a dialect similar to that used by degenerate criminals, less the four letter words perhaps; their verbal diarrhea as ejected during their tantrum rants amounts to the most disgraceful image of the Bahamas ever painted!

The fact that one might call for automatic respect, should clearly illustrate how disillusioned and arrogant one really is. Truth be told, most Bahamians are completely fed up with, and hold complete disdain for these disgusting lowlife thieving scumbags public officials (elected or not). These same officials, have essentially proven to be unworthy of even the food they eat!

If there was a simple avenue to recall public officials, elected or not, how many of these goons would still hold an office?

One thing is for certain, no public official is willing to be accountable to the people, despite the efforts spent creating that illusion. And therefore, no public official will ever allow for the creation of a simple avenue of recall, lest he/she cut off his own head!

Greentea 8 years, 12 months ago

I am no Christie fan but we should not support Izzy showing disrespect for the PM. The office should always be respected even when he or she who occupies it make you want to holler. This thing was poorly managed from the beginning and Izzy has no one to blame but himself. When you want be in charge you have to take responsibility for f-ups and failures. The PM got his own-plenty- and unfortunately for him his stinking pile will include Izzy's mess. But Izzy have to own up to his poor management. Why is he in the hotel business anyway? Has he ever even managed as much as an inn?

GrassRoot 8 years, 12 months ago

I agree, Izzy should not disrespect this PM, he should disregard him. This PM is a non-event, and if anything a liability for this country. Cant wait until he gets his own bronze statue. May be next to Mao and the current PM of PR of China, how about on top of Baha Mar, in a size that the good people of Miami can see it on the horizon?

My2cents 8 years, 12 months ago

Xenophobic? Another classic and dramatic misuse of the word. But the rest of your comments are valid.

GrassRoot 8 years, 12 months ago

correct, not xenophobic, it is actually financial racism. that is the word to use. This government and many more look at any resident as a bag of full of money walking down the streets. Open Season. Despicable.

My2cents 8 years, 12 months ago

Xenophobia is an irrational fear or hatred of strangers or foreigners...and you clearly misused it.

This party's only solution to economic shortfalls is to promote tourism, i.e encourage foreigners to visit, invest or live. The Bahamas, has always been for sale to foreigners who could afford it and they have always been sought after by both parties. Are the Chinese not foreign?

The issue at hand is clearly financial.

Cas0072 8 years, 12 months ago

If the government can cast their "xenophobic approach to governance" aside for the love of money, it is difficult to see how xenophobia is even applicable in the first place. If the government can change a fundamental belief at will, be it right or wrong, it shows only that they are immoral, that they lack conviction, and are sellouts of the highest order, as many already suspect.

The comments by members of the PLP shows that they are incapable of running a real democracy where people can speak freely against the government without threats of ejection, or whatever ace card they believe they have. This deep rooted system of retaliation and petty politics affects Bahamians and non-Bahamians alike. Christie himself condemned Bahamians to hell if they disagree with him, he also expressed hoped that his loyal followers are rewarded for their patronage, and that is only what he had the gall to say publicly. Such abuse of power will not go away until politicians from the bygone era, and their former apprentices, are replaced by politicians who respect the democratic process.

newcitizen 8 years, 12 months ago

These are the comments of a man who believes we live in a dictatorship. This is a democracy, respect and regard are earned by your actions not you station.

GrassRoot 8 years, 12 months ago

Its not. it is a Westminster dictatorship combined with leaders lacking education and political grace, humbleness and greatness. How many people wanted PLP in charge again? And why do they have the majority in the house?

TalRussell 8 years, 12 months ago

Thousands of Chinese trying to escape an unrelenting heat wave on Wednesday cram into indoor pool to escape scorching heat.


ThisIsOurs 8 years, 12 months ago

Unfortunately, the PM has no regard for the office of the PM.

Chucky 8 years, 12 months ago

Our ignorant people and government are treating and talking about foreigners sot bad it's as if we feel so entitled that the foreigners should just get off their planes in Miami and send their money to us "just because were bahamians in the bahamas"

I suggest everyone wake up a bit, our islands are dog ugly on a regional scale, flat baron land with only imported palms. Sure we have beaches, but most are on the less developed or almost undeveloped islands. Go to any island in the Caribbean and you will find mountains, rain forests, volcanos, actual good looking forts to look, friendly people, many affordable places to eat and have a drink, live bands with caribbean music , etc etc

We offer rude immigration, rude taxi drivers, junk old beater taxis, rude hotel staff, expensive rooms, expensive food that is quite often not good at all, and poor service.

I one can set their fake pride aside long enough to have an objective look as us, you can surely wonder why people come here, and realize that we should be very thankful, and feel lucky that were in the tourist game at all.

On the plus side, we still have a chance to turn it around, but it will require much humbling of the people of the mediocre nation.

DEDDIE 8 years, 12 months ago

Ironically, Fred Mitchel was a thorn in Mr. Rokers side.

asiseeit 8 years, 12 months ago

So if I had an extra billion I wanted to invest, I would come running to the Bahamas? Somehow I think that ship has sailed. I forecast rough waters and shoals galore for FDI in The Bahamas. Great job, we should give these guys a raise!

realfreethinker 8 years, 12 months ago

We should kick them in their ass and turn the boot sideways

Chucky 8 years, 12 months ago

I can't believe anyone would call out Izmirlian for disrespecting the PM. I can't imagine there being many people who actually can respect Christie; what has he done to earn anyones respect?

Perhaps we can pick on Izmirlian for being rude with our government, but we can't say he should respect the non respectable. Perhaps he could treat the douche bags cordially and keep his opinions and comments to himself, but it's not as though he's letting out secrets. After all anyone who knows anything about our country knows plenty about how bad our governments are and have been.

Maybe we should wonder just how it is that Izmirlian actually got sucked in to the point that he's spending years of his life, and nearly a billion dollars here?

Perhaps Izi is now questioning his own sanity?

Chucky 8 years, 12 months ago

just for fun, lets all try and name a politician that we think is respectable?

I got nothing, anyone else out there come up with any names?

Greentea 8 years, 12 months ago

Well Chucky the silence says it all. Walk good.

SP 8 years, 12 months ago

42 years of PLP & FNM good old boys cronyism is way too much, enough is enough. NEXT?

My2cents 8 years, 12 months ago

Lkalikl - You absolutely did misuse "xenophobic" and I will not refrain from telling you so. And you have not demonstrated an understanding of the word at all. Your endless paragraphs cannot change that fact.

You made a lot of assumptions about if they could, they would...fact is they can't and they don't. For a party that supposedly fears foreigners they have certainly made it impossible for Bahamians to succeed or even receive a decent education at home. How xenophobic can they be when they ensure that the Bahamas cannot provide the most basic necessities without foreign imports? Many educated Bahamians stay away, because of lack of opportunities, inability to effectively challenge our PLP or FNM governments and the uphill battle in changing the FNM/PLP mind sets that support this rotation of sameness.

We all know "Bahamians First" is empty rhetoric! Even if money is the neutralizing factor to their so called xenophobic tendencies, the fact remains, there is no irrational fear of foreigners, by the PLP. The only irrational fear of the PLP and FNM is an informed electorate and proactive Bahamians.

newcitizen 8 years, 12 months ago

Just because the government is treating Bahamian citizens badly does not mean they are not xenophobic.

Seems like you read one poorly informed article by PolitiCole and now are an expert on the term.

My2cents 8 years, 12 months ago

I never said "just because" anything, therefore....!

I posted my observation and opinion that the PLP is pro foreign, and not xenophobic.

You are poorly informed of the word, and of me. I think Fred Smith's liberal use of the word, made it ok for misuse by the multitude of sheep that are incapable of original thought. I have always disagreed with the misuse of this word, and took every opportunity to disagree with its application with regard to immigration, from Fred Smith, to Zhivago Laing and others..look at my prior comments as My2cents, and ispeakthetruth...these came well before Nicole's timely and informed article.

a2z 8 years, 12 months ago

I think newcitizen is xenophobic. Don't bother arguing, because he/she obviously won't get it while his/her head is stuck on 'stupid'.

GO BACK HOME newcitizen, if you think Bahamians hate you, and read some dictionaries on the flight (or the boat?) back.

xtreme2x 8 years, 12 months ago

Mr Roker, You need to talk to the PLP and have them change their weak leader.

A leader must earn respect, not because he is a leader you must respect him/her as leader, when they are not leading.

a2z 8 years, 12 months ago

Who knows what the PLP has already extorted from this man. Those facts will never come to light because there are no investigative journalists in this country. Everyone is scared of everyone else..losing their jobs, losing their pay..these days losing their lives, because you tell the truth. But mark my word, the PLP politicians have their hands deep in Izmirlian's pockets and are deeply tied to the incorporation of Bahamar. Go do the research Tribune, and find out who owns the myriad companies. Then you'll know why they are really breaking their necks to save a failure.

asiseeit 8 years, 12 months ago

One wonders if the company that got the contract to build the pools (but did not build the pools) got paid? I hear the fella that owns it now is in the roofing business.

sadindeed 8 years, 11 months ago

Sarkis is a very smart business man...that is why he is so rich...yet he finds himself surrounding by morons who have their hand up his butt trying to squeeze everything they can get out of him...this country is truly being run by idiots! Very dumb idiots!

Chucky 8 years, 11 months ago

I'm gonna go out on a limb and suggest we as a nation must be on the verge of financial ruin, bankruptcy or something; what else could drive such nonsensical attacks against and investor?

We must need this online now, and without it we can't make our debt payments? Why else would they attack an investor, as if we drive one investor of this caliber away, we will never get another one.

One thing our political fools are not considering is how well the worlds elite stick together. Izmerilain can lead a charge to crush our nation if we're not careful!

I'm not even gonna mention or suggest what it's possible for him to do or have done to the leader themselves..............I'm sure many people are worrying about this!

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