Categorized | National News

PM Fires Back At Ingraham Over Baha Mar

Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham does not need to apologise to the People’s Republic of China over the Christie administration’s handling of its agreement with Baha Mar for the reconfiguration of West Bay Street, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Mr. Christie was responding to comments made by Mr. Ingraham in a letter sent to the media.

In a 2011 agreement, the Ingraham administration promised to pay Baha Mar $48.1 million for what was expected to be a $90 million road.

The agreement also states that the government would pay 50 per cent if the roads cost less than $70 million to construct.

Baha Mar executives claim the road cost $118 million to build – putting the government’s bill at $58 million.

However, the government wants Baha Mar to prove that bill as it believes that less was spent for the roads.

In his letter, Mr. Ingraham said that the Christie administration’s actions are “vexatious and worrisome”.

“I submit that the harm the action portends for the Bahamian people and their economic prospects by the destruction of goodwill and trustworthiness that it represents may be unimaginable,” he said.

But Prime Minister Christie defended the government’s decision to analyse the bill.

“The former prime minister speaks about unimaginable harm that we are bringing about in this reality. If the minister of works is told by people who are engineers that, ‘Listen. Be careful minister, because what you are paying for is not what you got.’ He doesn’t say that’s right or wrong. He says ‘prove it to me’. So when he brings it to me this is the content as to what is being done. We have a relationship with Baha Mar and its beneficial owners,” he said.

“We are aware that the China Import-Export Bank financed the development. Therefore, we have a relationship with them. Unbeknown to Mr. Ingraham when we were having teething difficulties with understanding the development and determining whether or not more Bahamians should be employed, the minister of works sat in my office and spoke with the prime minister on several occasions and met with representatives of Baha Mar and the Chinese government from the Embassy to discuss these matters together at all material times. The former prime minister does not have to apologise to the Chinese government. The Chinese Government knows my government.”

He continued, “That’s what governments do. You sit with the source. You discuss with the source and we make in arrangements that are in the best interest of the country – no apologies. There is no unfamiliarity. There is no difficulty about this and the Chinese Government knows that if we have a difficulty or a question we will speak to them about it – one sovereign government to the next.”

Minister of Works Philip Davis said despite what Mr. Ingraham says the Christie administration is protecting the public treasury.

“Mr. Christie says ‘whatever you spend we will sit down as regular sensible people and say this is what I spent and this is what you didn’t spend. But Mr. Ingraham comes around and say ‘No, whatever you say you spent that should be it. That’s what he is arguing now. We are here because it is a contractual issue of interpretation because the second agreement is called a supplementary government,” he said.

“He is now attempting to paint the Christie administration as vexatious, worrisome. We have our technical team that is advising us and I have been meeting on regular basis – the representatives of Baha Mar and we have been making progress. I just trust that this intervention by this person would not derail what we are doing.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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