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Baha Mar Deal Unsealed – – -1,200 Work Permits Granted to China Construction

Hubert Minnis - Budget Debate

Hubert Minnis - Budget DebatePrime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said the government has unsealed the Baha Mar deal and pursuant to an application made by the Office of the Attorney General, the Supreme Court has granted its sanction and approval for the disclosure and release of the Heads of Terms.

“I now have the honour and pleasure to table in this honourable house the following document, the Heads of Terms dated August 22, 2016, which I shall herein after refer to as the Agreement for Convenience, as well as a short amendment made to it by a side letter dated April 25, 2017,” Dr. Minnis said as he concluded the 2017/2018 Budget Communication debate in the House Assembly.

He further stated that the previous administration did not specifically make an application to the court for the sealing of any of the Baha Mar documents.

“The heads were requested to be linked to an affidavit and suite of documents which were ordered sealed on an application made by lawyers for the CEXIM Bank,” Dr. Minnis said.

“Those documents contained sensitive commercial material relating to the process for the advertising, bidding and sale of the Baha Mar assets, and remain sealed.”

The prime minister also laid on the table the agreement made on April 25, 2017, between government of the Bahamas, CTF BM Holdings Ltd and CTF BM Operations Ltd.

Although he did not disclose some of the provisions made in the House of Assembly, the communication passed along contained them.

“The agreement provided, among other things, for the following: a commitment by the CEXIM Bank to the immediate resumption and completion of construction of the resort, a commitment from CEXIM to fund the remaining construction costs; the establishment of a voluntary fund of $101.5 million to pay the majority of unsecured creditors, including government utility corporations; the establishment of a claims committee to oversee the payment process for unsecured creditors; and it set deadlines for the commencement of construction, and the completion of various steps needed to accomplish the completion, opening and sale of the resort,” Dr. Minnis said.

The provisions also revealed that contained in a separate Hotels Encouragement Act (HEA) Agreement annexed to the heads, “exemptions from VAT and import taxes for importation of goods and services for the completed work and the remaining work of the whole project. The grant of up to 1,200 work permits to be issued to China Construction of the Americas and the grant of 30 additional work permits for all necessary staff of the Asset SPV, including its agents and staff required to supervise and carry out the project.”

He further noted that now that the Baha Mar deal has been unsealed, the general public can too come to their own conclusions and form their own opinions about the long debated agreements.

“However, our purpose in releasing this agreement is based upon our fundamental belief that it is profoundly important that any agreement or deal that involves the grant of valuable public concessions, including the foregoing of significant public revenue, should not be shrouded in a veil of secrecy and shielded from public scrutiny,” he said.

“This is especially so when the deal is being done with foreign entities under the direct or indirect control of another state.”

After numerous setbacks from bankruptcy to liquidation to renegotiation, phase one of the mega resort opened on April 21 of this year.

SLS Brand is expected to open this October followed by its Rosewood branch in March 2018.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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