Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie and his administration had been under tremendous pressure for not being able to complete the stalled $3.5 billion Baha Mar Casino Resort. Christie had continued to promise the people of the Bahamas that the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM), the secured creditor for the project was looking to find a new buyer but that buyer was never finalized.
Christie held a press conference this week and confirmed that his government and the EXIM bank had signed an agreement where EXIM will proceed to complete the Baha Mar Casino resort and then sell the property to a world class casino and hotel operator. The agreement was approved by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas.
The Prime Minister pointed out that for the last twenty months his administration was trying to find a solution that would solve three specific objectives. The first was to ensure that construction of the Baha Mar Casino resort would commence without further delay, the second was make sure that the casino and the casino hotel, convention center and hotel, golf course would be opened before the end of the 2016-2017 winter and the third was to that all Bahamian contractors and creditors would get their claims settled and receive payment. Christie pointed out that the new agreement will now ensure that all these three objectives are met.
A number of different parties came together to negotiate the deal and work out the final agreement. A technical team from the office of the Prime Minister and Ministry of Finance, the attorney general, Christie’s senior policy advisor, Grant Lyon, Liquidation Claims Advisor, legal advisors from the Office of the Attorney General and Ministry of Legal Affairs and the Chinese Ambassador to the Bahamas were some of the key parties involved in the negotiations.
In a statement, Christie said “I am especially pleased to announce, therefore, that the thousands of former Bahamian employees of Baha Mar will receive the following outstanding amounts due to them: unpaid salaries, severance pay, accrued vacation pay, and notice payments due to termination. Additionally, sums deducted from employees and former employees’ salaries and pension contributions will be repaid”
The Prime Minister stated that if his government accepted the Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in a Delaware Court, the people of the Bahamas would have suffered as they would have had a very slim chance of recovering their funds. This new agreement will make it possible for local creditors to be paid and for local contractors to continue their contract and complete the Baha Mar casino resort.
Christie confirmed that construction work on the project will commence in early September but did not reveal any specific information regarding the sale price of the Baha Mar casino resort, the names of the prospective buyers for the casino resort or the definitive guarantees in place for local creditors to receive their payments. The Prime Minister has promised to reveal specific details of the agreement in the coming days.