Government of The Bahamas and the Export Import Bank of China (EXIM) have formed a committee to administer claims of past employees of Baha Mar and other of the company.
According to reports, members of the Committee are liquidation claims advisor to the government James Smith, representative of the EXIM Bank Grant Lyon, representative of Deloitte Yanping Mo, Norbert Chan and representative of CCA Tiger Wu.
But the move did not sit well with Sarkis Izmirlian’s company BMD Holdings, who criticized the government yesterday for the formulation of a committee which had members of the EXIM to administer claims of past employees of Baha Mar and other creditors of the Baha Mar group of companies
BMD Holdings in a press released questioned how the “best interest of unsecured creditors” could be aided if the committee included members of the Chinese construction company CCA and its executive Mr. Wu.
“This is the same CCA and Tiger Wu who failed to meet construction deadlines causing Baha Mar to not be completed and to not open,” the release said.
Disgruntled former staff of Baha Mar in an open letter to Prime Minister Perry Christie requested the prime minister to not allow China Construction America (CCA) to be the general contractor nor “eventual owner of Baha Mar”.
Past employees of the Cable Beach mega resort said that there are Bahamians who are willing to complete construction on the resort and The Bahamas does not need to become a “de facto colony of the Chinese.
“It is the same Tiger Wu who has engaged in documented questionable behavior in The Bahamas.”
“It is the same CCA that created a Baha Mar creditor situation in the first place. It is the same CCA that opposed the Chapter 11 filing and helped to stop the developer’s reorganization plan to pay Bahamians in full and complete Baha Mar with Bahamian contractors.”
Last Monday, Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that the remobilization of Baha Mar would start up soon and all former employees of the resort would receive 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 government is hopeful that employee claims will be settled no later than September 30 and all other claims will be dealt with on or before December 31.
“This is the same CCA and leadership which have been sued in various legal proceedings for failing to pay parties to whom CCA owes monies for its non-performance.”
While the prime minister did not announce the name of the buyer, he indicated that it is a world class hotel and casino operator.
The press release further went on to say that “CCA has proven itself to be a serial deceiver of the Prime Minister of the Bahamas and the Bahamian people. The unsecured creditors of Baha Mar have every reason to be wary and concerned about the credibility of this committee and its agenda.”
The government has made it clear that all claims will be paid with “monies which have been made available by the Bank, as the Baha Mar companies in liquidation have no assets from which to pay creditors.”
The resort, which was originally slated to open in December 2014, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a US Bankruptcy Court on June 29, 2015.
However, in September, a US judge threw out the Chapter 11 cases for Baha Mar’s Bahamian companies.
On September 4, 2015 Edmund Rahming of KRyS Global, Mark Nicholas Cropper and Alastair Beveridge of AlixPartners Services UK were appointed as joint provisional liquidators and given the task of overseeing the company.
In October, they received approval from the Supreme Court to make 2,020 Baha Mar employees redundant due to the resort’s insolvency.
The entire saga surrounding the Baha Mar ordeal, made for constant screaming match from the various political parties throughout the country, something Mr. Christie said he would not engage in this time around.
The EXIM Bank will deposit the funds to assist the the Committee to settle the Bahamian employees’ related claims and to administer and pay the claims of Bahamian creditors, according to the process which has been indicated.
Further announcements on the specific details of the process will come from the Committee.