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Bahamas PM feels reassured Baha Mar project will be completed

Published:Thursday | September 24, 2015 | 12:00 AMCMC
Perry Christie, Prime Minister of The Bahamas.

Bahamas Prime Minister Perry Christie says he has been reassured that the Baha Mar project will be completed after talks with executives of China Construction America (CCA).

"China Construction has been involved in public infrastructure and private commercial construction in The Bahamas, including the Baha Mar mega resort project, the largest investment of its kind in the region," Prime Minister Christie said, while addressing the CCA's 30th Anniversary Client Appreciation Reception in New York.

"Despite the delays which have occurred with its opening, I have been reassured today, as a result of very positive discussions, of the commitment of the chairman of China State Construction Company to his full co-operation to ensure its early completion and opening," he added.

Christie said he met with both chairman of the state-owned China Construction and Engineering Corporation, Guan Qing, and president of China Construction America, Yuan Ning and expressed his administration's "sincere appreciation for their commitment to partnership and investment in The Bahamas".

The completion of the US$3.8 billion Baha Mar project was put in doubt after the Baha Mar Group filed for bankruptcy protection in the United States.

"The Chapter 11 process provides the appropriate venue to create a viable financial structure that places Baha Mar's interests foremost," the group said.

The Baha Mar development includes four hotels with 2,200 rooms, 284 private residences, a 100,000-square-foot casino and a golf course designed by Jack Nicklaus, among other amenities.

Christie has said in the past that he is confident that Baha Mar, which he described as a major revenue earner for the country, would open for business soon.

He told the CCA meeting that while the Bahamas is a relatively small and young country, it has achieved notable success in tourism, financial services, international residential and business real estate development and international shipping, albeit with "tremendous infrastructural, social and economic challenges, given our topography and extensive archipelago".

"We aim to further grow and diversify these industries through both local and foreign direct investment within a vibrant and conducive business environment, underpinned by stable government and a skilled population," Prime Minister Christie said.

He said the close relationship with China has been "progressive and strong" based on trust and cooperation between the two nations as well as mutual respect for our cultural differences.

"Although we differ in size and stature, we share the common objective of all developing nations of striving in earnest to improve the living conditions and livelihoods of our country's nationals," he said.

"China has been and continues to be a friend to The Bahamas, and the Caribbean, having stepped up to the plate to assist Caribbean countries on a major scale at a critical time of global economic turmoil."