Look What Papa Did to FNM COUNTRY – Grand Bahama

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After this editorial today PAPA suspended his Cabinet Meeting schedule today.

Cable: PM put GB economy in jeopardy

JUAN McCARTNEY
NG Senior Reporter
juan@nasguard.com

Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham’s decision not to renew the work permit of former Grand Bahama Port Authority (GBPA) Chairman Hannes Babak at the end of 2009 placed Freeport’s economy in “jeopardy” and possibly stalled several major projects planned for Grand Bahama, claimed a classified diplomatic cable obtained by The Nassau Guardian through WikiLeaks.

Babak’s work permit was not renewed after it expired on December 31, 2009.

Ingraham publicly announced the decision about Babak’s work permit earlier that December.

According to the cable, which was classified on December 18, 2009, Babak asked the U.S. Embassy to help change the prime minister’s mind about the work permit.

The embassy official Babak reportedly spoke to remained “noncommittal”, according to the cable.

The GBPA was the subject of a bitter, protracted ownership dispute between Sir Jack Hayward and the family of the late Edward St. George.

In December 2009, Babak was in negotiations to sell Sir Jack’s significant stake in the GBPA to Mid-Atlantic Projects (a U.S. company).

The cable stated that the embassy felt that Babak’s ultimate departure, “…could result in further delays in Grand Bahama’s development just as the expected sale to Mid-Atlantic had sought to jump-start progress.”

THE CHEIF IS A LEAK! Committed another BACKSIDE RAPE on the Bahamian people. When will the Guardian find the gumption to ask PAPA about its Cable revelations?

The Mid-Atlantic deal fell apart in April 2010.

The embassy official claimed that the refusal to allow Babak to continue to legally work in the country was, “likely made out of anger at Babak’s move not to obtain Ingraham’s blessing before moving forward with the Mid-Atlantic deal as well as a not-so-discreet desire to increase Chinese involvement in Grand Bahama’s development plans through Hutchison-Whampoa (a Chinese company with major business interests in Freeport).”

During the time Babak was seeking renewal of his work permit, he was in the midst of brokering several deals with major U.S. companies intended to help alleviate Grand Bahama’s economic woes.

The embassy official said Babak’s removal, “(put) into jeopardy ongoing negotiations with major U.S. firms to bring liquid natural gas (LNG) re-gasification facilities and other badly needed commercial ventures to the country’s second largest city, which suffers from nearly 15 percent unemployment.”

There were also several other deals reportedly in the works with U.S. entities — including energy and medical care companies — that Babak was overseeing at the time.

One deal under negotiation involved the establishment of an offshore, ship-based Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) re-gasification plant and on-shore LNG storage facilities operated by Texas-based Excelerate Energy and Virginia-based AES, the cable noted.

“The arrangement would enable electricity delivery services via underwater cable to Florida Light and Power as well as Bahamas Electricity Corporation (BEC),” justified the cable, which also cited possible savings for BEC if the deal was to go through.

The status of that deal is unclear.

The cable further stated that Babak was negotiating with a U.S. hospital construction company to build a facility in Grand Bahama that could have been worth up to $100 million.

Reported renewal conditions

The cable said Babak was called to a meeting with then Minister of State for Immigration Branville McCartney at the Office of the Prime Minister sometime in June 2009, shortly after Babak’s work permit was submitted for renewal.

The cable further claimed that McCartney explained that the government was only prepared to renew Babak’s work permit past that December if he met four conditions: settle the ongoing GBPA ownership dispute; treat Bahamians fairly; compete fairly with Bahamian companies and not stand in the way of the construction of a cruise port terminal in Williams Town.

In a January 2010 interview with The Nassau Guardian, the prime minister acknowledged that McCartney was sent to meet with Babak and tell him the conditions under which his work permit would be renewed.

Ingraham did not disclose those conditions. He said he was surprised that some people were surprised by his announcement about Babak’s work permit.

Babak told an embassy official that Ingraham was in favor of Chinese company Hutchison-Whampoa purchasing all of Sir Jack and the St. Georges’ shares but told him “any legitimate buyer was fine,” according to the cable.

The GBPA remains unsold to this day, though there is talk that a foreign entity is interested in purchasing it.

The cable said Babak interpreted one of the conditions the government placed on renewing his work permit at the end of 2009 as “a demand to promote [the relative of a high-ranking government official] to [a senior post in] the Port Authority,”

The embassy official claimed Babak refused to promote the person, who he claimed was “not qualified for the position.”

As far as the third reported condition, the cable claimed Babak said the government had an “inaccurate” perception that he was involved in a conflict of interest as far as the granting of contracts from GBPA to a company to which he had previous financial ties was concerned.

The embassy claimed Babak said McCartney appeared “uninterested” in seeing any proof to the contrary.

Austrian-born Babak told The Freeport News in December 2009 that he owned no businesses in Grand Bahama and was in the process of trying to sell his shares in the Freeport Concrete Company.

As far as the Williams Town port is concerned, the cable said that Babak had “publically advocated for the terminal to be located (there) because no reef existed there.”

Even though the U.S. Embassy refused to get involved, the official characterized Babak as a “long-time supporter of U.S. commercial interests in The Bahamas (who) would continue to do so if he stayed in his current role.”

In his interview with the Freeport News not long after Ingraham’s announcement, Babak said it was his hope that the prime minister reverses his decision, but would continue to do what he thinks is best for Grand Bahama no matter what happened.

“I like to live in Freeport,” Babak said a year-and-a-half ago. “I am a Grand Bahamian resident.  I have a house here that was the house of my dad and after he passed away it became my house.  It would be my wish to live and work here.”

Numerous attempts to reach Babak were unsuccessful.  The prime minister did not return a request for comment up to press time.

  • What GB needs is real leadership in all sectors, we don’t seem to have the brightest of minds in tourism, and private sector, the hotels are all failing and by the way run by foreigners. The PLP nor FNM did anything for GBI because they just don’t know what to do,GB is like a thorn in their sides. I agree Babak will not make a difference, but we have allowed foreigners to rape this island, more so than any other island, we worship them because we don’t have the guts to tell them their ideas are stupid and will not benefit GB in the long run. They come here with nothing and soon they have a big house, pool, children go to the best schools, they are put on various boards and make our ideas look stupid, no let me take that back, we think their stupid ideas are great….I marvel every time and yes they are not interested in training any real Bahamians cause they don’t want to go back home. We give them the american dream in The Bahamas..if only we would do the background checks we would really see what kind of success they had before coming here. We follow them around like dogs looking for a bone, wake up people, education is the key. But seriously let’s see which government will be the first to let these people know Bahamians first, the only person who has done this is the late L.O. Pindling God rest his soul. The few Bahamians that have made it to the top in GBI have quickly been shot down, and I shudder to think what will eventually happen to those who have the token positions now. So what are we going to do Grand Bahamians…….Education is the key. What have these rapers contributed to our economy, not even a decent hospital we have a 3rd world hospital on an island where there are millions of dollars in leakages, how can this be???? Can’t these people at least give the island a state of the art hospital. I cry rape rape rape! Let;s see which government will address these critical issues. I AM TIRED OF THE CRUMBS!

  • Didn’t the Cable say it was Bran, who hammered Mr. Babak. But anyway who cares what Mr. Babak does, he is a foreigner and we hate foreigners right, my wonderful PLP\BP peoples. You know, it should all be about Bahamianization, getting rid of the government’s use of these unwanted foreign nationals. Thats why the name is Foreign National Movement (FNM). Since when in the Bahamas do we need a foreigner to make our Country better, we know the Bahamas better than anyone else. We have ran our own government since 1967, why is it that Freeport needs foreigners to rape it dry, make millions of dollars for the Port and at the end of the day, Freeport is still a hot mess….

  • Intellectual people like myself did not need no leak to convince the senses that it’s so true, Mr.Hayward and Babaks is Europeans,and both were about to bring in “billions” from their kind,simple.Now the question is, who or what other people or continent is willing to create jobs for my people in GB?I am a born and bread GB who would like to see changes in the authorities on GB,but not from the central government,especially from the Ingraham Government, we really do need change, Yahweh keep the wonderful people of GB in your loving care,hope is still alive…

    • what was he about to do open another construction company and hire more foreigners to steal the bigger jobs like he’s doing now. Get real all this bullshit needs to stop. He came to the bahamas because he saw an opportunity for himself not Bahamians. Tourism plays a vital role in our economy, however, after the Indians in south florida open their casinos it devastated our tourism product in GB that depended heavily on the junket gamblers from florida and other states. Recognize that there are only so many tourist that wants to come to the Bahamas and nassau gets the bulk, Bimini and Abaco do very well also considering their population. The key is to get some of that money outta Nassau, Bimini, Abaco and other Islands to inject into GB’s economy. Here is the plan, rather than the government subsidising this foreign casino and not collecting it taxes, allow a Bahamian corporation to take it over and give GB a three year incentive to be the only casino in the Bahamas to allow bahamian gambling. This would influence local tourism from Nassau and the surrounding islands. hotel rooms, restaurants and the Bahamian own casino will all benefit this translate to jobs for bahamians. This worked in the desert and it can work here.

  • Why am I not surprised. People say that Perry is do nothing Leading. But, honestly, a do nothing PM makes a lot more sense than a grubby hands in everything hoarder. Especially since, smarter people no doubt could have told him better, but because of his my way or Brent way attitude, we’re falling deeper into a hole. like how the Deputy Prime Minister agreed with the UN’s devil sponsored Gay agenda bill without reading the conditions. therefore, if the UN says we have no right to call homosexuality wrong, then our police would have to arrest and charge anyone who who calls it wrong. Brent is being sure we’re screwed when he steps back and makes his money on the side from the road projects and Cable and wireless. BP, find out who owns the treasury building. Cause knowing Brent, he probably is making a hell of a lot more than we think he’s making from his illegal gains (according to the constitution, no member of government can make a dime from any government project or deal)
    And whom ever said Cable and Wireless is bringing 4G is being rather silly, Engineers from BTC had already admitted that they had the means to put in 4G, but the boss hog and his cohorts wouldn’t allow them. So stop that.

    • Whether you want to admit it or not, it will C&W that will usher in change for this country, where our own have failed. We can blame Ingraham, we can blame the FNM, but the last time I checked the intention was to sell BTC from at least 1999. We have had three governments since then (including the FNM Administration during that period). Time was on the side of the workers, the unions and other interested groups…

  • BTC I am a very Happy BTC born baby. My Aunt and my Dad got their letters to leave and they both together will be taking away almost 3/4 of a million dollars from BTC when they accept their package so all yall who talkin don’t know how happy alot of BTC workers are about the package they got. i have a first hand acct, not rumors. I read the letter!!!!!

  • Hey BP, why haven’t you posted the recent announcement by C&W that they will be lowering rates and introducing 4G capabilities in New Providence by years end. This must be coming.

    • media

      We will believe it when we see it. What we do know thought is this SOME 700 persons are going home before the end of the year. We reported that months ago. Have you heard CWC make reference of this yet? NO!

      BP

  • The time this all started with Babak, I have been asking questions that I cannot get an answer to, like, how is it that people belive that not having one particular man in a position at GBPA can make such a differance when he was only there for less than a year if I remember correct. And as Kevin Evans said, this did not just come around for GB, this island has been in a decline for years before. Also, we were here before Babak, so unless he was going to be bringing billions of dollars in himself, I do not see him making any differance. The GBPA itself is the strangle hold on the island right now. It had its time where it was good for the island but now its the noose around the neck of the island.

  • Bp after all these months I’ve finally found out the problem the Bahamas is facing, and this is it:

    Am convinced the Chinese “cloning experts” has cloned our Prime Minister (PM), and has given us an imposter to run our country.
    I noticed the PM looked a lot different over the last 4 years, the Chinese did not do a good job with his physical makeover, but they came pretty close. I want the real HI back….an am dead serious!

  • if the fnm ever wins this election plenty of us will be eating are peas twice. ing-rum need to be tested for drugs b/c no human could be so cold we bahamians allow this man to bring us down to are knees how could we let this sick ass monster run this country to the ground. some people hurting so bad and these the ones this monster will take advantage off. i say to ion fist ing-rum you don’t believe in god but he still on the throne.

  • BP, weren’t you just saying to not trust these cables. The foreign power has hidden motives for why they say all these things and so on, again
    I say to you, its either all are legit or none, but not both. By the way Papa was contacted this time and has a right not to comment….

  • I have stated before that Freeport’s economy had taken a turn for the worse after the completion of the Our Lucaya Resort and Casino in 2000,or thereabouts.The Al Qaida attacks on America in September of 2001 coupled with the two devastating hurricanes in Grand Bahama in 2004 only worsened our situation.I don’t think that you can blame Mr Ingraham for our sorry dilemma in GB.To say that Mr Ingraham’s refusal to renew Mr Babak’s work permit is the blame for GB’s economic woes is just too simplistic.Babak may have attracted one or two investors to the island.But let us not forgot that the reason why this island continues to struggle is that the Port overcharges the airliners and cruiseships to land and dock at the harbor and at the airport. This is our major issue here in GB.We have been complaining about this now since time immemorial, yet no one seems to be willing to address this major issue. Until the powers-that-be address this issue, we here in GB will continue to suffer financial hardship.

  • Its all coming out. If the FNM would leave the Port alone and let them attract foreign investment as they are mandated under the Hawksbill Creek Agreement Grand Bahamians would have more than enough jobs. The PM chooses to interfere in things which he does not understand and thats a problem not only for Freeport but the entire Bahamas. i wonder if his minions Grant and Laing agreed to the declining of Mr Babaks work permit?

    • media

      Who is the relative or sweetheart of a high-ranking official who was not promoted at the Port?

      ADDITIONALLY, why is it Cable 12 reporters could find commentary from everyone in the Wikileaks articles and cannot get one commentary from PAPA? WHY IS THAT?

      BP

      • I heard from a credible sauce who works with Barbak; he said they think that our black politicians are monkeys. just saying.

        • media

          Perhaps he was referring to PAPA directly. Only a money behaves the way he does. ERRATIC!

          BP

        • They are…. Just a bunch of lying, dishonest,profiling,arrogant, elitist,jive talking monkey boys….

    • Didn’t the Cable say it was Bran, who hammered Mr. Babak. But anyway who cares what Mr. Babak does, he is a foreigner and we hate foreigners right, my wonderful PLP\BP peoples. You know, it should all be about Bahamianization, getting rid of the government’s use of these unwanted foreign nationals. Thats why the name is Foreign National Movement (FNM). Since when in the Bahamas do we need a foreigner to make our Country better, we know the Bahamas better than anyone else. We have ran our own government since 1967, why is it that Freeport needs foreigners to rape it dry, make millions of dollars for the Port and at the end of the day, Freeport is still a hot mess.