Minnis: FNM govt would sell Baha Mar
JAYME C. PINDER
Guardian Staff Reporter
Published: Mar 13, 2017
Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis has pledged to execute a “real sale” of Baha Mar to a purchaser that has the Bahamian people’s interests at heart, should the FNM win the general election.
“Your Free National Movement government will engage and execute a real sale of Baha Mar to a qualified and respectable purchaser who believes in Bahamians; a purchaser who will utilize only Bahamian labor to complete the resort, and will put Bahamians back to work with real jobs as quickly as possible,” said Minnis without making any specific reference to Hong Kong conglomerate Chow Tai Fook, which is in the process of closing on its purchase of the Cable Beach resort.
Minnis’ statement — posted to his Facebook page yesterday — seemed to suggest the FNM government would eye a purchaser other than the current purchaser.
In December, the prime minister confirmed that Baha Mar was being sold to Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE).
Last month, Graeme Davis, CTFE (Bahamas) president, confirmed that Baha Mar will open without its sale being completed.
In his statement yesterday, Minnis said, “Despite the many pronouncements from this PLP government, the sad reality remains that Baha Mar is not completed, still not opened, and there remains much uncertainty as to if or when this will occur.
“The reality my dear friends is that the resort, sadly, remains unsold, despite the many, many pronouncements by our delusional prime minister to the contrary.
“Yet, the government, in the lead up to the general election continues in its charade.”
Minnis appeared to suggest that CTFE does not “believe in Bahamians”.
He said, “[Last] week, it was revealed that the new alleged purchaser of the resort had only hired 650 of their promised 1,500 Bahamian employees, with little over a month to go before its soft opening on April 21.
“We remind the public that there has been no marketing of this resort or room inventory being brought online for this soft opening, which only confirms the true political motives behind this opening date, just weeks ahead of what will be our general election.
“The PLP should be ashamed of themselves, but they have no shame. This is a government that proclaimed they believed in Bahamians, but operates in secret, and counter to the best interests of this country.”
In addition to pledging to execute a “real sale” of Baha Mar, Minnis said an FNM government would make public all deals the Christie administration entered with the Chinese with respect to this and any other “secret deal” this administration may have entered into.
Minnis said an FNM government would ensure that all applicable taxes are paid to the treasury on the Baha Mar sale, including value-added taxes, stamp tax and casino license fees.
“In keeping with our mandate of accountability and transparency, your Free National Movement government will also make public all negotiations in this regard and have them tabled in Parliament,” he said.
“Due to the national interest of this asset, the Bahamian people deserve no less from their government. They deserve a government that works on their behalf, and not an administration that is more focused on their own self interest. The Bahamian people deserve a government that works for them.”