Final Baha Mar road payment still in dispute
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Oct 11, 2013
While the government has made some payments to Baha Mar to cover its portion of costs for roadwork associated with the development, the two parties still have “genuine differences” and could still be headed to arbitration, Deputy Prime Minister Philip Brave Davis said yesterday.
“Wherever there are disputes in these types of contractual matters you hope to be able to resolve [them] in the most expeditious and cost effective way and arbitration is one of those means and so that is still on the table,” Davis told reporters yesterday on the sidelines of the opening of the Airport Gateway Project.
“We have engaged the process, but we are not in arbitration yet.”
The Christie administration has reportedly paid the developers of Baha Mar more than $30 million over the past year to cover the government’s portion of costs for the roadworks.
However, when asked about this yesterday, Davis would not reveal how much the government has paid.
But he did confirm that some funds have been issued.
“On the basis of our technical advice, we paid out a sum that we thought was reasonable for the purpose of demonstrating that our discussions are being held in good faith,” he said. “We were able to arrive at a number that is not in dispute.
“In other words, head items which we could identify as funds being spent, we were able to accept them and we paid on account of those headline items to demonstrate our good faith efforts.”
Asked how much longer he expects negotiations to continue, he said it is difficult to say.
“ I thought I was very close two months ago and here we are two months later. So I don't know,” he said.
“... It’s an issue where we have genuine differences that we are trying to work through.”
Robert Sands, Baha Mar’s senior vice president of administration and external affairs, told The Guardian last month that the Christie administration has paid more than 50 percent of the $48.3 million owed.
“The reality is that there is an obligation to [pay] a finite amount but amounts have been paid on [the] account for over a year,” Sands said.
“The government has made in excess of 50 percent payment on that outstanding [amount].”