McCartney: Baha Mar VAT concession an appalling giveaway
Senior Business Reporter
Published: Jan 06, 2017
The Bahamian people will have to shoulder the economic giveaway that is the value-added tax concession granted by the government to China Construction America (CCA) in a closed-door deal, Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney said to Guardian Business yesterday.
McCartney branded the decision of the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration to waive VAT for CCA, the mega resort’s lead contractor, as an “appalling giveaway” of Bahamian economic interest that underscores the need for Prime Minister Perry Christie and his “cronies” to be voted out of office.
He contended that the PLP seems to have done “anything” to appease the Chinese, adding that Christie has now made them the “economic masters of The Bahamas”.
In this most recent revelation of the sealed Baha Mar deal, McCartney said the prime minister is having the Bahamian people shoulder the economic burden that this government has agreed to, to facilitate movement on Baha Mar just ahead of the general election.
McCartney said clearly in the prime minister’s mind, The Bahamas must be incredibly wealthy to waive stamp tax, VAT, casino fees, worker permit fees and “God knows what else” in order to continue to prop up what is clearly a “toxic deal” that they have orchestrated with their “Chinese masters”.
“Bahamians not only have a right to know all the details of this mythical deal with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE), they also have a right to reverse it,” he said.
“Any government that comes into office has a duty to cancel this deal on the basis that it is clearly not in the best interest of The Bahamas.
“Decisions of this nature clearly cannot be allowed to sit unchallenged. We have a duty to the sovereignty of this country to protect it from the clutches of this PLP crew.”
Leader of the Free National Movement Dr. Hubert Minnis took a similar stance regarding the deal struck by government with CTFE.
According to McCartney, Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson’s pointing to the creation of jobs as a reason for “generous concessions” is further proof of the “beggar’s mentality” that this administration has when it comes to dealing with the Beijing government.
“We all heard how V. Alfred Gray spoke about the land proposal they were pushing with the Chinese for Andros,” he said.
“Based on what we have seen and heard thus far, from the terms that have been agreed on this Baha Mar deal, it is clear that Christie and his crew are incapable of standing up to the Chinese to protect the interest of Bahamians.
“If he did, the government would have engaged the offer of the project’s original developer, Sarkis Izmirlian, who not only offered to pay more than CTFE for the project, but also proposed utilizing only Bahamian labor to finish it. That would have been nearly $1 billion injected into the local construction economy, which would have meant instead of over 1,000 Chinese workers out there, there would have been Bahamians working on that project.
“That type of capital injection in this country could have possibly staved off our most recent S&P downgrade. But obviously, this PLP administration doesn’t care about Bahamians. They had to do this deal with the Chinese, and the people need to be asking why. What is it that made this deal so sweet for them to push this down the people’s throat?
“It’s interesting that the Chinese entity that in effect bought the assets from the bank was called Perfect Luck. Perfect Luck for whom? Certainly not for Bahamians, most assuredly for the Chinese and most probably for Christie and his cronies.”