Categorized | Featured, National News

Labour Minister Surprised by Baha Mar Delay

Labour Minister Shane Gibson said he was shocked to learn that the multi-billion dollar Baha Mar project had to delay its winter grand opening to next year and added that during a meeting with the hotel’s executives that announcement was never made.

For weeks there had been much speculation that the resort, which is still undergoing major construction, would not meet its December 8, 2014 deadline, but on Friday Senior VP of External Affairs Robert “Sandy” Sands made the announcement.

On Tuesday, Minister Gibson said the news took him by surprise when he learned of it in the media.

“They delayed the opening to the spring of next year, that’s a surprise to me because when I met with them last week, I requested information on how it’s going in terms of opening on the December 8, and Robert Sands’ word to me was that it would not be on December 8 but in December and so I guess they must have had a change of heart when they met with me last week and whenever they made the announcement,” he said.

Last week a letter from Baha Mar President Tom Dunlap and emailed to its employees informing them of the delay was leaked to the media.

The resort is set to hire up to 5,000 Bahamians once it is completed.

However, Minister Gibson said despite the setback, once the resort opens it will have positive effects for employment in the country.

“When you look at what’s happening on the property, you wouldn’t think that they have those large numbers of Bahamians working there, Bahamians who they recruited from all over the world, so it looks very good, very promising, the fact that they hired large numbers already and the fact that they anticipate hiring between 4,000 to 5,000 employees when that project is up and fully running,” he added.

Minister of State for Investments Khaalis Rolle told reporters outside Cabinet yesterday that despite the recent announcement by Baha Mar officials that the resort’s winter 2014 opening has been pushed back to late spring 2015, investment opportunities in the country remain secure.

He added that the government has not received any negative feedback from investors since the news of the delay broke.

However, he did admit that given the magnitude of the entire project, many speculated that there would be a delay for some months prior to Baha Mar’s big announcement.

“The investment community understands this, in fact some of the vendors and retail space occupiers understand what’s taking place and in fact, they in the build out of their area, are experiencing some mild delay also,” he said.

“So I think the project as a whole, I don’t think there is any negative impact, it’s a very large project, it’s a project that’s very good for The Bahamas and when it’s fully built and completed we expect big things happening for the destination.”

When asked if the government will continue to support the multi-billion dollar project in the event its big day is again delayed, the minister shared this much on the issue.

“I don’t even want to talk about not being ready, a project of this magnitude will always have the support of any government because it is good for the country in terms of building our tourism offering and it’s also good for the country because it allows us to secure quality employment and entrepreneurial opportunities for Bahamians,” he said.

Baha Mar’s President Tom Dunlap previously said the company is working through the details with its partners and expects to know more by October, however, it is expected that the resort will host previews in December.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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