Categorized | National News

Baha Mar CEO Offends Mitchell

Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell said he is offended by a recent letter Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian sent to his employees addressing them as “Baha Mar Citizens” and suggesting that the resort’s debacle is the Bahamian government’s fault.

“Let me get this straight. There are only citizens of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas. That is the country to whom we owe loyalty,” Mitchell said yesterday, as he addressed the congregation at St. Agnes Church in Miami, Florida.

Mitchell was in Miami to participate in the country’s 42nd Independence Celebrations, where he discussed the challenges of Baha Mar and how he is offended by the actions of the resort’s developer, Izmirlian.

According to Mitchell, Baha Mar is a commercial entity, which was designed for the profit of the developer.

“The developer cannot buy the young people of The Bahamas as it is seeking to do and they should not succumb to it,” Mitchell warned.

“You cannot have some rich man who thinks that because he has money he can buy influence in our country, speak to our leaders in any which way or fashion and then seek to manipulate our young people to work against us.”

Mitchell also expressed his concern over the statement issued by Baha Mar, which sought to attack the prime minister and accuse him of telling “untruths” following his national address last week.

“This is extraordinary. You have already seen the words of Loftus Roker, one of the founders of the country, who backed up my assertion made in Exuma on July 8 at the independence services; the assertion that had he been in the seat, the developer would have found his plane ticket out the next day,” Mitchell said.

“I agree with him.”

On Friday, Baha Mar issued a statement in response to the prime minister’s announcement that the government has filed a winding up petition in the Bahamas Supreme Court against the 14 entities that filed for Chapter 11 protection in the United States.

According to the statement, “the Bahamian government’s decision to seek a winding up of Baha Mar is both unnecessary and reactionary, puts Baha Mar’s staff and assets at severe risk and significantly jeopardizes the future of the resort.”

Bah Mar also claimed that some of the prime minister’s statements were misleading.

According to the statement, there was no agreement in June as the prime minister indicated.

“There was not a finalized understanding discussed by Baha Mar and The Export-Import Bank of China to which China State Construction and CCA had not agreed. Indeed, there was no construction timeline or cost to complete from the general contractor or terms received from the lender,” the statement read.

Baha Mar also urged the government not to seize private party assets and to allow the private parties in what is after all a commercial enterprise to come to an agreement that would allow for the completion and opening of Baha Mar as soon as possible.

However, Prime Minister Perry Christie also issued a statement on the same day in response to Baha Mar’s claims, where he dismissed as “absolute nonsense” Baha Mar’s suggestion that the government’s initiation of winding-up proceedings amounts to a seizure of private assets.

Christie said, “It was disappointing that the principals of Baha Mar would not only utter such untruths but that they would do so in a way transparently calculated to damage the economic interests of The Bahamas.”

He explained that “the nationalization of private property is not only unconstitutional; it is completely repugnant to my personal political philosophy and ethos of governance and that of my government. I therefore reject, in the strongest possible terms, any suggestion to the contrary.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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