Bahamas PM reports progress on Baha Mar project
The Bahamas government is reporting "considerable progress" one month after it announced an agreement had been reached on the remobilisation, completion, sale and opening of the Baha Mar mega resort.
Prime Minister Perry Christie says The Bahamas and the Export-Import Bank of China have signed off on the terms to get the US$3.5 billion project restarted.
Baha Mar Limited filed for bankruptcy in the United States in June 2015 amid missed deadlines for completion.
"The Exim bank is meeting its commitment in funding remaining construction costs to complete the project, and a contract has been executed for China Construction to complete the project," Prime Minister Christie told reporters late Monday. "Remobilisation is well under way and construction works have commenced. China Construction is also in the process of resolving outstanding amounts owing its suppliers and contractors," he said.
"As I have said before, these arrangements, which have been approved by the Supreme Court of The Bahamas in a sealed order as is customary in commercial matters of this kind, represent a signal achievement for The Bahamas and a milestone in the troubled history of Baha Mar," Prime Minister Christie told reporters late Monday.
Christie has ignored calls for disclosure of the terms of the agreement to restart the resort project, which is expected to feature a Las Vegas-style casino and more than 2,000 hotel rooms.
A claims committee headed by Ambassador James Smith is overseeing payment by Exim bank to thousands of former Bahamian employees of Baha Mar, who are owed unpaid salaries, severance pay, accrued vacation pay and notice payments due to termination. Pension contributions are also being repaid, and the committee is also settling claims against Baha Mar of Bahamian unsecured creditors, including contractors and suppliers.
"Exim bank has provided the funding and Bahamian unsecured creditors are asked to closely conform with the notices and procedures being published by the Claims Committee," the prime minister said.
Meantime, Christie says a prospective buyer for Baha Mar has been meeting with his government.
"I am not at liberty at this stage to formally disclose the name of the ultimate purchaser. Suffice it to say that their principals have met with the government and discussed their vision for the property. They meet the government's requirements of a well-recognised, world-class resort developer with all the necessary resources for a successful operation," he said.
"It is expected that the name of the purchaser will be formally announced shortly."
He adds that disclosures about the agreement on the project will become a regular event once the Supreme Court unsealed its order.