Categorized | Featured, National News

Gov’t Moves To Wind Up Baha Mar

Prime Minister Perry Christie announced last night that the government has decided to bring the Baha Mar project under the control of the Bahamas Supreme Court.

During his address to the nation, the prime minister said on the advice of the country’s lawyers in The Bahamas, the United Kingdom and the United States, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson yesterday filed a winding up petition in the Bahamas Supreme Court against the 14 entities that filed for Chapter 11 protection in the United States at the end of June.

Christie explained that these compulsory or involuntary winding up proceedings are designed to work in very similar terms as a Chapter 11, but with the stark difference that they will be controlled by provisional liquidators under the supervision of the Bahamian courts rather than being controlled by Baha Mar’s CEO Sarkis Izmirlian.

“These liquidators, if appointed by the court, will be neutral and impartial professionals of the highest quality and of impeccable credentials,” he added.

“Importantly, the role of the liquidators will be to expedite the resolution of the matter and to prepare a plan for the restructuring of Baha Mar, that will result in the earliest possible completion and opening of the project.”

In June, Baha Mar made the decision to file for bankruptcy protection in a U.S. court in Delaware and according to the prime minister, “the papers filed in the U.S. suggest that if Baha Mar’s strategy in the U.S. was allowed to continue, there would not only be a substantial delay in the completion of the project, but there would also be great uncertainty as to whether the developer would ever be in a position to complete the project at all.”

He explained that if the processes were to continue in the U.S., the fate of the Baha Mar project, the Bahamian employees and the international reputation of the sovereign nation of The Bahamas would be in jeopardy.

Christie also announced that the attorney general is challenging Baha Mar’s application to the Supreme Court of The Bahamas to recognize and accept the jurisdiction of the Delaware Court in The Bahamas.

“This is not just a matter of national sovereignty. There should be a Bahamian solution to this Bahamian issue and the majority of the key parties in this matter recognize and support that position,” he said.

However, the prime minister explained that the actions taken by the attorney general are not designed to punish Baha Mar or to destroy the project.

He said 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.

The prime minister assured Bahamians that with the government’s decision, the country is on the right path which will lead to the completion and opening of Baha Mar in the near future.

“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.

During his address, he also announced that the government has arranged for a second payment of salaries to Baha Mar’s Bahamian employees.

He said this will be done with a view of such payments being recovered in due course, which will not place any additional strain on the Bahamian taxpayer.

Earlier this month the government paid the salaries of more than 2,000 Baha Mar employees who were prejudiced by the resort’s bankruptcy.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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