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Roberts: Minnis singing for political supper

Published: Mar 17, 2017

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Pointing to ongoing criticism of Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis over recent comments made about Baha Mar, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Chairman Bradley Roberts yesterday claimed Minnis was “singing for his political supper”.

Roberts called the statements ill-advised and reckless.

In a Facebook post on Sunday, Minnis pledged that should the FNM win the general election, it would execute a “real sale” of Baha Mar to a purchaser that has the Bahamian people’s interests at heart.

Minnis also said only Bahamian labor would be used to complete Baha Mar.

Speaking to a group of PLP supporters at a joint meeting for Garden Hills, Tall Pines and Golden Gates Constituencies at S.C. McPherson Jr. High School last night, Roberts said, “The fallout from the ill-advised and reckless comments by FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis continues.

“The [Nassau Guardian’s] National Review characterized his comments as hypocritical because on the 18th of November 2010, he voted yes on a House [of Assembly] resolution tabled by the FNM to hire over 8,000 Chinese laborers to construct Baha Mar,” Roberts said.

“He has now flip-flopped and has said that he would not only cancel the existing agreement with Chow Tai Fook Enterprises of Hong Kong, but will sell it to a purchaser who will only hire Bahamians.

“Zhivargo Laing (talk show host, former minister of state for finance and Nassau Guardian columnist) called this pandering.

“Businessman Franklyn Wilson said those comments were the most foolish he had ever heard from a Bahamian leader in our history.

“Even the Chamber of Commerce chief (Gowon Bowe) weighed in, cautioning Bahamians to ignore Minnis’ ill-advised and foolish remarks in the interest of political stability.

“So, Minnis was roundly condemned from all sides.

“He is unfit to lead this country.”

Minnis’ comments came amidst ongoing national discussion about the agreement to complete the project. That deal was sealed by a Supreme Court judge at the request of the Chinese, according to Prime Minister Perry Christie.

Christie subsequently announced 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 complete and Rosewood recently announced that its tower will open in spring of 2018.

Baha Mar will begin its phased opening on April 21 with a soft launch.

Roberts added: “My observation on this is that Minnis was forced to publicly sing for his political supper.

“That is, he had to assure (former Baha Mar developer) Sarkis Izmirlian that he would seize Baha Mar from its rightful owner and ensure that the property is returned to Sarkis.

“But in exchange for what? Whose interests is Minnis representing and who is he serving in public office?

“It certainly cannot be the Bahamian people’s interest.”

BMD Holdings Ltd., Izmirlian's holding company that was the original developer of Baha Mar, has recently said despite the lack of a response to its numerous purchase offers, it stands prepared to buy Baha Mar “today and complete it immediately with Bahamian workers and Bahamian contractors”.

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