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Gov’t Strikes Baha Mar Deal


TOP PHOTOWith over 2,000 jobs made redundant and over $300 million lost in tax revenue, the stalled multi-billion dollar Baha Mar Resort is set to be remobilized.

Prime Minister Perry Christie announced that the Government of The Bahamas and the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM) signed an agreement under which the Cable Beach resort will be completed.

While the prime minister did not announce the name of the buyer, he indicated that it is a world class hotel and casino operator.

“This agreement represents a signal achievement for The Bahamas, and a milestone in the troubled history of Baha Mar. For some 20 months, I have been continuously focused, day and night, on efforts to find a solution for the completion of the Baha Mar Project,” Mr. Christie said.

The prime minister outlined the three key objectives his administration had in completing the project and ensuring that it got back on stream.

“Firstly to ensure the construction at Baha Mar would be resumed as quickly as possible; secondly to make every effort to ensure that the casino and casino hotel, the convention centre and its hotel, and the golf course, would open before the end of the 2016-2017 winter season.

“Thirdly, to ensure the payment of claims to Bahamian creditors and contractors, who previously had little or no prospect of recovering anything. Under the Heads of Terms signed today by the government and The Bank, the remobilization at Baha Mar will commence immediately,”Mr. Christie said.

He added that under the terms of the agreement, the EXIM Bank has committed to funding the costs to finish the project and the resort’s general contractor, China Construction America (CCA) Bahamas, will complete outstanding work.

The prime minister said CCA will also resolve outstanding claims with its suppliers and contractors.

The resort, which was originally slated to open in December 2014, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in a US Bankruptcy Court on June 29, 2015.

However, in September, a US judge threw out the Chapter 11 cases for Baha Mar’s Bahamian companies.


On September 4, 2015 Edmund Rahming of KRyS Global, Mark Nicholas Cropper and Alastair Beveridge of AlixPartners Services UK were appointed as joint provisional liquidators and given the task of overseeing the company.


In October, they received approval from the Supreme Court to make 2,020 Baha Mar employees redundant due to the resort’s insolvency.


The entire saga surrounding the Baha Mar ordeal, made for constant screaming match from the various political parties throughout the country, something Mr. Christie said he would not engage in this time around.


“My fellow Bahamians, there has been much gossip, and speculation, and downright false allegations made about the whole history and progress of the Baha Mar dispute. In such a sensitive negotiation, the government thought it wise not to offer a running commentary on the discussions, not to say anything that might put the future of the project in jeopardy.


“It is a shame that others were not so prudent, and that so many uninformed views were promoted in the media.


“The last few weeks have involved a Herculean effort by many, many people. This has been made all-the-more strenuous by having to deal with partners in vastly different time zones, often working through translators. I am enormously grateful to and proud of everyone, who in these last days did what it took to dive across the finish line,” Mr. Christie said.


Mr. Christie added that although there is still a lot to be resolved this is a banner day for Bahamians everywhere.


“There is still a raft of paperwork to be completed in order to implement this agreement, the difficulties of a project this size have hit our economy hard, but we will recover. Over the coming months, economic opportunities will be felt in more and more homes, the government will redouble its efforts to continue the programme of modernization that we began four years ago, my entire public and political life has been dedicated to fighting for Bahamians.


“I give God thanks and praise that we have been blessed with this outcome.  This is a good day for The Bahamas; this is a great day for Bahamians,” Mr. Christie said.


Baha Mar’s original developer Sarkis Izmirlian in May of this year declined to enter the formal Baha Mar sales process, in a letter issued to the Deloitte & Touche receivership team just as the deadline to submit bids to acquire the project expired.

He said it “makes no sense” for him to enter the process.

Mr. Izmirlian again blasted the sales process, and argued that it could undermine the “legal rights” enjoyed by himself and his bid vehicle, BMD Holdings.


He raised concerns that his offer might not receive due consideration, the Lyford Cay resident said he was unsure how bids submitted via the sales process would be evaluated, and whether a buyer would even be selected.


Mr. Christie added the construction at the resort is expected to resume sometime next month.




Written by Jones Bahamas

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