Bahamas – BMD slams concessions given to sell Baha MarBy Phil - 27 June 2017
BMD Holdings, the original developer of Baha Mar, the casino resort in the Bahamas, wants the government to place a moratorium on the completion of any sale of Baha Mar and reopen the casino investigation case into the venue’s owners Chow Tai Fook.
BMD said it had reviewed the Heads of Terms regarding concessions agreed upon by the previous Government of The Bahamas, the China EXIM Bank, and China State Construction with respect to the yet to be completed sale of Baha Mar to Chow Tai Fook.
“These documents confirm the nation’s fears that the previous administration had engaged in the wholesale giveaway of hundreds of millions of dollars in tax waivers and concessions that the country could not afford and that rightfully should have been earmarked for The Bahamian people, solely to facilitate a charade of a sale in the lead up to the general election last May,” it said. “The agreement also clearly raises the concern about the potential of corruption and self-dealing by members of the previous Government, even beyond the now public self-dealing by the former Attorney General.
“The giveaways laid out in the Heads of Terms by the Christie administration to China EXIM Bank and Chow Tai Fook are egregious and an insult to the Bahamian people,” it added. “What else did the former administration do in its desperation to get any kind of a deal to announce related to the sale of Baha Mar to try to win reelection and feather the economic nest of its members? The Heads of Terms is only one document of many about the former government’s secret dealings on Baha Mar and the only document made public thus far. It is a bread crumb trail to many other referenced documents that must be vetted to determine the extent of the improper giveaways; the individual benefits to have been received by former PLP administration officials in return; and the longer term economic and social destruction implications to The Bahamas of the so-called sale of Baha Mar.
The company added that it was ‘outrageous’ that the Christie administration would agree to grant 1,200 new Chinese work permits to CCA when Bahamian workers could, and should, finish this resort.
“At a conservative estimate, with the cost of completion standing at $600m, these sums would have been a welcome boost to the local construction industry,” it explained. “These permits literally take food out of the mouths of Bahamians to reward the same Chinese construction company that had failed to meet multiple opening dates that it had set. It is unthinkable that a Government that claimed it was working in the best interests of the Bahamian people would have agreed to such terms.
“This is state-sponsored discrimination, contrary to the laws and constitution of The Bahamas, and sets an awful precedent for foreign investment in The Bahamas. Accordingly, BMD is considering its legal options against the parties involved in constructing these highly questionable agreements.”