Baha Mar developer accused of dodging debt and holding Bahamians hostage

And National Chairman of Bahamas’ ruling Progressive Liberal Party Bradley Roberts has further suggested that Sarkis Izmirlian could easily pay the contractor to complete the last three per cent of the $35 million project and have it open by the winter season.

The Baha Mar CEO has started Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings in the United States – which, if successful, would shield him from legal action by creditors –, claiming that the general contractor on the job, China Construction, had repeatedly missed construction deadlines, causing sizeable delay costs and forcing the resort to postpone its opening. Izmirlian claims that, as a result, there is not enough revenue to continue.

But in a statement addressing the issue, Roberts disclosed that China Construction has demonstrated its commitment to completing the project by agreeing to a six-figure penalty for daily delays and a seven-figure sum for delays beyond a further agreed completion date.

Additionally, the contract stipulates that in the event of cost overruns, the developer is to fund the completion of the project and seek legal redress after the fact. The contract was deliberately structured in this matter to avoid unnecessary delays to the completion and opening of the resort,” pointed out Roberts, who also noted that Izmirlian had personally signed the contract and government was satisfied that his billionaire family could afford to pay to complete the project.

bradley-roberts.-33“It is patently clear that he is obstructing the completion and opening of the project and is after his own gain. He declared bankruptcy without notice because he is anti-Bahamian. How else can he explain his decision, knowing that the consequence of his bankruptcy filing is to allow him to walk away from the more than $100 million in debt owed to Bahamian creditors and the Bahamian government and the legal contractual obligations to his partners?”

“It is only a matter of time before the 2,500 Baha Mar employees pose these very same questions to him,” he added.

Roberts challenged Izmirlian to pay the contractor and get the resort opened to prove that he is “pro-Bahamian” and cares for the welfare of his employees.

“Mr. Izmirlian must not hold Bahamians hostage while he fights his battle with the contractor and tries to dodge paying his loan to the bank,” the PLP chairman contended.

Earlier this week, in a letter to employees, Izmirlian charged that the Perry Christie administration was fighting him on the bankruptcy application and applying to the local court for a liquidator to take over, for “political reasons”.

But Roberts insisted that the government’s only objective was to get the Baha Mar resort completed and opened as soon as possible.

“Every policy decision and action taken by the government supports this expressed singular objective,” he said.

“If he can’t or won’t get Baha Mar finished and opened, an independent provisional liquidator under the supervision of the independent Bahamian court can get the Baha Mar finished and opened and if urgently appointed, can do so this year. That is the government’s plan – pure and simple!”

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