Bahamian Prime Minister seeks to bring Baha Mar project under control of local authorities

by Jane Kitchen | 20 Jul 2015

In the ongoing saga of the delayed opening of the US$3.5bn (€2.7bn, £2.2bn) Baha Mar resort, Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie said last week that “completion of the resort is a matter of utmost national importance” and he hopes to bring the project under the control and supervision of the Bahamian Supreme Court.

This comes just weeks after the resort’s developer, Baha Mar Ltd, filed a petition for US Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

Addressing the island nation last week, Prime Minister Christie said: “Were the process to continue in the US, the fate of this Bahamian project, its Bahamian employees and the international reputation of the sovereign nation of The Bahamas would be in jeopardy.”

The mega resort has “enormous economic and employment implications for The Bahamas,” said Prime Minister Christie. It is slated to feature 2,200 luxury guest rooms across four hotels – Baha Mar Casino & Hotel, Rosewood at Baha Mar, Grand Hyatt at Baha Mar and SLS LUX at Baha Mar – alongside a 100,000sq ft (9,290sq m) casino, a Jack Nicklaus-designed golf course and an ESPA spa.

The project is 97 per cent completed, according to “informed estimates,” said the Prime Minister, but has missed two opening dates.

Baha Mar Ltd issued a statement in response, saying the Prime Minister’s decision is “both unnecessary and reactionary, puts Baha Mar’s staff and assets at severe risk, and significantly jeopardises the future of the resort.”

Prime Minister Christie argues that moving the development project under the control and supervision of the Bahamian Supreme Court would mean similar protection to what US Chapter 11 provides, “but with the stark difference that they will be controlled by provisional liquidators under the supervision of the Bahamian Courts rather than being controlled by (Baha Mar CEO) Sarkis Izmirlian.”

The role of the liquidators, said Christie, will be to expedite a resolution and prepare a plan for the restructuring of the resort that will result in the “earliest possible completion and opening of the project.”

Baha Mar Ltd said the Izmirlian family has invested more than US$900m (€829m, £578m) in the project, and that it is “evaluating its alternatives with respect to addressing the government’s precipitous action and will continue to move forward with its ongoing appropriate efforts to position the resort to be properly completed and opened successfully as soon as possible.”

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In the ongoing saga of the delayed opening of the US$3.5bn (€2.7bn, £2.2bn) Baha Mar resort, Bahamian Prime Minister Perry Christie said last week that “completion of the resort is a matter of utmost national importance” and he hopes to bring the project under the control and supervision of the Bahamian Supreme Court. This comes just weeks after the resort’s developer, Baha Mar Ltd, filed a petition for US Chapter
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Bahamian Prime Minister Christie said 'completion of the Baha Mar resort is a matter of the utmost national importance' / Baha Mar
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