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Baha Mar Lawyer Says Provisional Liquidator Unnecessary

Baha Mar’s legal counsel said there is no need to bring a provisional liquidator into the Baha Mar debacle.

The argument was made by Baha Mar’s attorney James Corbett, QC, last Friday, during his second day of arguments in the Supreme Court before Justice Ian Winder.

He explained that the petitioners, the Bahamian government, documented that the purpose of appointing a provisional liquidator was primarily to act as a neutral party promoting compromise between the parties involved.

Corbett added that the documented purpose of the provisional liquidator is contrary to the definition which lists the appointees as parties in charge of the winding up of a company.

However, should the courts decide to go forward with provisional liquidation he asked Justice Winder to approach the appointment with caution as there is currently no documentation in place to specify what the provisional liquidator will do.

Until there is clarity on that aspect, he said the provisional liquidation would be a “staged process.”

During the morning session, he continued has argument from the day before, lamenting that the original petition ought to remain, citing that filing for a company to be wound up under the grounds of public interest, is unjust and not equitable according to Bahamian law.

He continued that there is no basis in Bahamian law that says winding up proceedings can be filed based on public interest.

In his response to Baha Mar’s assertions, QC Peter Knox, representing the Bahamian government, said the arguments made by Mr. Corbett were “not that great.”

He added that it was necessary for the liquidator to assume control of the company to ensure neutrality in the midst of compromise between the parties and ensure an opening as quickly as is possible.

Also, according to Mr. Knox, liquidation must take place because the seven remaining Baha Mar-affiliated companies are “definitely insolvent” and the costs of keeping the resort operation without income, is causing expenditures to stack up.

Last month Prime Minister Perry Christie explained that the purpose of the provisional liquidation is to enable the appointment of a neutral party to take control of the process and to work with the key stakeholders under the supervision of the Bahamian court, to prepare a strategic and workable roadmap for the completion and opening of the resort.

“Such a solution will recognize and respect the rights and legitimate interests of the key parties, including Baha Mar and the Bahamian people,” Christie said.

“While it is true that there are still major obstacles to be overcome, I remain extremely optimistic about the end result, one that will not only ensure the employment of thousands of Bahamians, but the emergence as well of a resort destined for great success in the tourism industry of The Bahamas and of the region,” Christie said.

A few weeks ago, the government’s petition to wind up was brought to a halt after it was revealed that Baha Mar’s contractor, China Construction America (CCA) had reservations about the team appointed to serve as liquidators from PriceWaterhouseCoopers citing a conflict of interest. Since then, the government has approached other prospects including Ernst and Young (Bahamas).

On Thursday Ernst and Young (Bahamas) was accused by Baha Mar’s legal counsel of having a conflict of interest in relation to Baha Mar. However, Megan Taylor, who appeared on behalf of the firm, dismissed that claim, which she referred to as “erroneous.”

“In the circumstances, Ernst and Young would like to ensure the court that neither Ernst and Young neither its independent parties has any potential conflict of interest.”

Both parties ended their arguments Friday afternoon with Justice Winder adjourning court until September 4 at 10:00 a.m., when he hopes to be able to give his decision on the matter.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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