Statement from the Prime Minister: Supreme Court Adjournment

 

There is no question that the best thing for the country and for Bahamian people is for Baha Mar to open successfully and swiftly, so that we can all benefit from the economic activity and jobs that it will contribute to our country.

For this reason, the Government supported the adjournment petition brought forth by Baha Mar today during Supreme Court proceedings, but with one singular condition: that all parties reconvene negotiations on an urgent basis and develop a way forward that would see construction resume immediately. The judge approved the petition and adjourned hearings until July 20th, 2015. The judge also required a status hearing on July 14th.

It has always been in the best interest of all involved to negotiate a solution outside of the courts, which is what the Government has been supporting over the last several weeks. Despite the happenings of the past eight days, I have accepted the request by all parties to mediate continued negotiation sessions.

I have just been informed that China State Construction as well as China Export-Import Bank have agreed to participate in mediated negotiations. I have set a date of this weekend for this to occur at a location agreeable to all parties. I exhort Baha Mar to agree immediately to the same and I await the developer’s confirmation.

I was dismayed by the decision by Baha Mar to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in the United States, while other parties as well as the Government were engaging in good faith negotiations. However, in the spirit of working in the best interest of The Bahamas, I have, and I want all involved to put aside the antics of the past several days and meet a clean slate and with cool heads. The meetings must result in an intact and formally signed agreement on an action plan for the completion of the project, similar to the agreement discussed prior to Baha Mar filing for Chapter 11. This in my view is not optional.

The Government will continue to be transparent with citizens of The Bahamas on this matter.

Again, an agreement between all parties on finishing the project is not optional, and as mediator, I will continue to be neutral – that is, I am not on the side of the developer, the contractor or the lender – the Government is, and as Prime Minister I, am firmly on the side of the Bahamian people. And the Bahamian people deserve a swift resolution to this matter.

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