The $3.5 billion Baha Mar Casino resort in the Bahamas was a very important project for the country as it was expected to create thousands of jobs, generate millions in gambling taxes for the government and boost tourism numbers. The project flopped after developer Sarkis Izmirlian filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in a U.S court.
The government in the Bahamas filed a petition with the U.S court in Delaware as it wanted the property to be put in liquidation. Prime Minister Perry Christie backed this move and promised to find a new buyer for the stalled Bahar Mar casino resort. Back in July, the Prime Minister stated that the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM), the secured creditor for the project, was currently negotiating with a new buyer. Christie promised to announce the name of the buyer shortly, but more than a month has passed since then and Christie is yet to make the announcement.
A recent report stated that the stalled casino had caused the Bahamas to lose out on $315 million in revenue during the last 18 months and Christie received a lot of criticism, especially from Members of Parliament and ex-Baha Mar director Dionisio D’Aguilar. Prime Minister Christie’s government was accused of favoring Chinese providers and placing the interests of the Bahamas second, an allegation that the government immediately denied.
In a statement, D’Aguilar said “It was a tactical error and the Bahamian people are suffering as a result of that decision. They just need to acknowledge that they made a mistake and let’s try and make it right but they are so prideful. Now they’re stuck dealing with the Chinese and the Chinese don’t care about Bahamians or The Bahamas. They will wait the government out until they get what they want. That is why you will never hear what the agreement is. They know that when that gets out that it’s going to be embarrassing for them.”
Christie has stated that EXIM will only be able to shortlist a buyer who is able to prove that they have the financial capability to raise $2.5 billion to complete the remainder of the Baha Mar casino resort. Earlier this week, the Prime Minister once again confirmed that things were progressing and that better days are ahead for the shuttered casino resort.
The opposition party has also lashed out at the Christie administration and stated that they were delusional and incompetent in handling the failed project. The opposition party wants a thorough investigation to be launched to find out the absolute truth. Ray Winder, managing partner of Deloitte & Touche and Baha Mar’s receiver-manager stated that there were no new updates to the project as of now.