PM Christie updates The House on the Baha Mar Project

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Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie
Prime Minister Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie
Nassau, Bahamas – The following is the Communication to the House of Assembly by the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie:

Mr. Speaker,

Having regard to the national importance of the Baha Mar resort project and its delayed opening resulting from the financial difficulties of the Developer and the ensuing litigation both here and in the United States, it is appropriate that I should now report to Parliament on the latest developments in this matter.

Mr Speaker,

On the 16thJuly, 2015 when I addressed the nation on this subject,Iindicated that while we remained open to negotiations, my Government had taken the decision to seek to bring the Baha Mar development project under the supervision of the Bahamas Supreme Court within the legal framework of a provisional liquidation.It should be noted that this decision was important for the completion and opening of the Baha Mar resort and to protect the sovereignty of the Commonwealth of The Bahamas and its courts.

As a result of the litigation that then ensued, independent provisional liquidators were appointed by the Supreme Court with a view to their taking control of the project and working withthe relevant parties, through negotiations or other appropriate legal measures, to complete the projectas soon as possible. Happily, that process is now well in hand under the control and direction of the independent provisional liquidators appointed by the Bahamas Supreme Court.

Mr. Speaker,

It is significant to note that the government’s course of action in pursuing the appointment of provisional liquidators was supported just yesterday by the decision of the Bankruptcy Court in Delaware which dismissed the U.S. Chapter 11Bankruptcy cases brought by Baha Mar group of companies.

The Government is pleased that the Bankruptcy Court in Delaware shares the Government’s view that the future of the Baha Mar resort should be determined not in or by a court in Delaware but rather here in The Bahamas by our own Supreme Court, especially now that the court here has appointed provisional liquidators.

Mr. Speaker,

The Government’s principal objective throughout this process has been, and continues to be, the completion of the Baha Mar Resort such that it can open for business with a full complement of Bahamian workers as soon as humanly possible. This is of vital importance to the continued growth of our national economy. My government therefore continues to regard the early completion and opening of the Baha Mar resort as a matter of the highest national priority.

The Delaware Bankruptcy Court’s decision advances the government’s objective in the foregoing regard considerably. It recognizes that the interests of the Baha Mar entities and their creditors will be best served if the issues between them are litigated in the courts of The Bahamas and/or are resolved by negotiations between them.Also, the Delaware Bankruptcy Court agreed with the Bahamas Supreme Court when it stated that “…many stakeholders in the Project would expect that any insolvency proceedings would take place in The Bahamas, the location of this major development Project”. One of the reasons that the investment climate in The Bahamas remains strong is that investors, be they Bahamian or Non Bahamian implicitly and explicitly repose confidence in the independence and competence of our Courts, which have for decades resolved complex commercial litigation and the decisions of which have been upheld by the Privy Council, the highest court of The Bahamas.

In the circumstances, I am pleased that both the decision of The Bahamas Supreme Court appointing the provisional liquidators and the decision of the Delaware court yesterday dismissing the Ch 11 proceedings have vindicated the course of action foreshadowed in my July 16 National Address and proven that we were right to proceed in the way that we did.

It will be recalled, Mr Speaker, that in making that earlier address, I said the following:

“I am absolutely convinced that we are on the right path,one that will lead to the completion and opening ofBahaMar in the near future. While it is true that there are still major obstacles to be overcome, I remain extremely optimistic about the end-result, one that will not only ensure the employment of thousands of Bahamians but the emergence as well of a resort destined for great success in the tourism industry of The Bahamas and of the region.”

My optimism today for that successful outcome is, I am happy to say, infinitely greater in the wake of the court rulings both here in The Bahamas and now in Delaware as well.

My Government therefore looks forward with confidence and in optimism to the prompt resumption of negotiationsbetween interested parties who will, I am sure, co-operate to the fullest with the provisional liquidators so that an early resolution of this matter in the interests of the Bahamian people and all stakeholders can be achieved as quickly as possible.