Categorized | Featured, National News

Bethel: Portions of Baha Mar Deal Remain Sealed

Carl Bethel - Senate

Carl Bethel - SenateAfter promising to unseal the Baha Mar deal, followed up by an announcement last Tuesday that it happened, Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Carl Bethel announced in the Senate last Friday that certain portions of the deal will remain sealed.

“Madam President, we are cognizant that there remain other commercially sensitive documents which were sealed at the request of the private parties to the Baha Mar matter, and which remain sealed pursuant to the court’s order. After careful review and discussion with the other parties, we are of the view that those documents should remain sealed for the time being, for the legal reasons which have been given by the judge,” Mr. Bethel said.

“Those reasons were that the documents should remain sealed to preserve the integrity of the sales process, which remains a commercially live issue.”

The attorney general went on to explain that the Free National Movement’s (FNM) push to unseal and reveal Baha Mar’s documents had nothing to do with the contents.

Rather, it was the mere fact that the previous administration kept it such a secret, according to Mr. Bethel.

“Let me be very clear, our issue during the campaign was not the terms of the agreement (we did not know what they were). Our issue was the fact of secrecy.  The fact that a document, which inevitable, would contain tax concessions (which we now know to be the case), such a document was being kept secret and hidden from public scrutiny,” he said.

“Such conduct is the very opposite of what people are entitled to expect in terms of good governance.”

Mr. Bethel said while the FNM would have done some things differently, it will not deny the importance of Baha Mar’s completion for the benefit of the local economy and the lives of thousands of Bahamians.

“Even though we may have disapproved of the way in which certain legal and other matters were handled by the former government, as a responsible government, we will do everything we can to facilitate the sale, the completion of the project and the full opening,” he said.

“So that the full measure of its potential economic benefits can be realized for all the Bahamian people.”

Baha Mar’s first phase opened on April 21, 2017.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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