PRESS STATEMENT: If the PM’s apparent big accomplishment from his trip to China was increasing Bahamian participation in the Baha Mar project from $200 million to $400 million, then he in essence admitted that his recent trip to China was futile, a failure and a waste of public funds.
This revelation in his press conference today is deceptive and misleading at best. It is common knowledge that Bahamians were initially assured major participation in phase 1 of the project, specifically the road works, new buildings and infrastructure development which equated to approximately $200 million. Additionally, Bahamians were also assured some participation throughout the entire project as evidenced by the labour charts prepared by the Baha Mar Company where a maximum of 3300 Bahamian workers would be employed during the core phase of the project. The record will show that Bahamian participation was always substantially greater than $200 million so the PM broke no new ground on this.
Notwithstanding the PM’s public pronouncement that he did not agree with the large number of work permits required for this project, the numbers he affirmed today remain at a maximum of 8,150 permits over the scope of the project. The PM is yet to explain how the number ballooned from 5,000 to more than 8,000.
It was also reported in the press that the PM wanted a new deal, but all indications are that the same terms and conditions exist to date. This begs the question of what did the PM accomplish on this trip on behalf of the Bahamian people?