Things haven’t been easy going for the Bahamian government regarding its handling of the $3.5 billion Baha Mar project, and according to local media reports, it’s taking heat from its main opposition.
On Monday, the Christie Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) was blasted by Shadow Minister of Labour and National Insurance and Free National Movement (FNM) Long Island MP Loretta Butler-Turner saying it “dramatically failed to monitor the construction of Baha Mar” which “proved disastrously negligent,” as reported by The Nassau Guardian. Butler-Turner called for the urgent implementation of “an imaginative and aggressive strategy” regarding Baha Mar.
Development of Baha Mar came to a screeching halt following a heated battle last June between the project’s contractor, state-owned Export-Import Bank of China, and the resort’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian. According to the Global Construction Review, it is estimated that the resort is already 97 percent complete.
In the press release, Butler-Turner also said, Mr. Sarkis Izmirlian, the developer of the megaresort, continues to express interest in opening the resort and reaching a satisfactory arrangement with creditors,” and that “his ideas should be reviewed and given a fair hearing by various parties. Mr. Izmirlian clearly continues to have a great interest in the project and a continued interest in The Bahamas.” She also said that in order to resolve the Baha Mar matter, it will require “intense and unrelenting diplomatic efforts with the government of the People’s Republic of China, with which The Bahamas enjoys a good relationship.”
She argued that options other than the liquidation process could have been taken by Christie and that “when good and steady judgment was required, the Christie administration made a colossal mistake for which the country is paying a terrible price.” Butler-Turner attacked Christie’s judgement in the release, saying that had the administration not acted “so unwisely and precipitously,” it was “highly likely” that the situation would have been resolved. She said that numerous stakeholders including “thousands of Bahamian workers and their families” are ready for a resolution. The MP called for a collaborative, mature effort between the government and the Official Opposition to work towards the opening of Baha Mar, which the consequences are great for the Bahamas medium and long-term prospects.
Currently, Deloitte & Touche is handling the project and have now hired Colliers International of Toronto, in an attempt to locate a buyer for the unfinished venue. The Bahamas Supreme Court signed off on the appointment with the goal being to find someone to take the property from the China Export-Import Bank, the principal creditor of the project.