1 – The now unemployed workers of Baha Mar are eligible for temporary unemployment benefits through NIB. Has the government of The Bahamas made all NIB payments for staff during the period it disbursed salaries with the millions it already previously owed to Baha Mar but had refused to pay to Baha Mar?
2 – When Baha Mar filed for Chapter 11 Debtor in Possession Bankruptcy Protection, part of that filing involved the payment of monies to Baha Mar’s creditors. The government blocked that plan. So what is the way forward now for all those creditors?
3 – Bahamian taxpayers, including the affected workers, are paying for the government’s provisional liquidators in the Baha Mar matter – and as it turned out, Bahamians who are now out of job have been made to pay these persons to ultimately put them out of a job. How much of our tax dollars has the government spent so far on damaging our lives and our economy through their court actions? Continue reading
It is with a very heavy heart that I write this article. Let me begin by expressing my deep sadness for all of the workers of Baha Mar, many of whom I have developed camaraderie with in the midst of this project’s upheaval.
Today, The Bahamas government’s provisional liquidators asked the Supreme Court to make Baha Mar’s 2,000 workers redundant and the Court approved the provisional liquidators’ request. Baha Mar did not terminate any workers. Baha Mar’s developers lost say in such a decision the day the Court gave the government what it sought from the Court – provisional liquidators over this private development. The provisional liquidators belong to the government’s court action, not Baha Mar. They only got into this because of the government’s court action against Baha Mar. The government asked for the provisional liquidators – the court gave it to them – and now the provisional liquidators have gotten the court’s permission to have all workers terminated as of Friday. Continue reading
In the Baha Mar Court case Friday, the Court struck down the Winding Up Petition filed by the AG in July, ruling that her petition did not comply with the law. The Judge also rejected her petition’s claim that winding up Baha Mar was in the public’s interest. Now, our Constitution says the AG is supposed to be acting in OUR interests. What answer does the Government of The Bahamas have for us after they have interfered in Baha Mar, added further threat and delay to the development, complicated the careers of thousands of Bahamians, threatened our economy, caused our credit to get downgraded – ALL WITH A PETITION THAT THE JUDGE SAYS DID NOT EVEN COMPLY WITH THE LAW OF THE BAHAMAS. The government MUST account to The Bahamian people for this.
THE SUPREME COURT TODAY THREW OUT THE GOVERNMENT’S WINDING UP PETITION FILED IN JULY, RULING THAT THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S PETITION DID NOT COMPLY WITH BAHAMIAN LAW. SINCE THE SUPREME COURT DECIDED NOT TO WIND UP (LIQUIDATE) BAHA MAR TODAY, and instead decided to adjourn the matter until the first week of November to give the sides time to make certain decisions – I have a question. Can we expect that between now and the first week of November (PLP Convention week), the government will announce that it is satisfied, after a review by its provisional liquidators (WHO THE COURT BLOCKED FROM BEING ABLE TO REMOVE IZMIRLIAN OR LIQUIDATE THE ASSETS), that the developers of Baha Mar will be able to complete the project and get it open “for the good of all Bahamians”, and that liquidation won’t be necessary anymore – hence an attempt to politically erase the gross error of their ways in this matter? #WeSeeYou #EpicFail
Regarding Baha Mar, in US Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, there is what is called a “discovery” process. This process is basically a disclosure and examination of all the matters that have led up to the financial position the debtor (in this case, Izmirlian) is in which led to the bankruptcy protection filing. This means all cards and evidence are supposed to be put before the Court and full accountability is supposed to take place about all that has taken place. And so you wonder why the government is mad about a filing that would involve a discovery process in US Courts? Could it be that there are things THEY DON’T WANT TO BE DISCOVERED?
I begin by stressing what all Bahamians need to understand about what is supposed to happen in free societies with a free enterprise economy – THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT SUPPOSED TO SUBVERT THE PRIVATE SECTOR OR A LAWFUL PRIVATE BUSINESS’ ABILITY TO FUNCTION OR EXIST. NOR IS IT SUPPOSED TO SEEK TO CARRY OUT OR FACILITATE HOSTILE-STYLE TAKEOVERS OF PRIVATE COMPANIES/BUSINESSES. That is what happens in dictatorships, banana republics or otherwise closed societies and economies. That is not supposed to happen in countries like The Bahamas which claims to be a free society whose economic system is free enterprise. With the Baha Mar matter becoming so heavily politicized, many of us are forgetting what is critical here – BAHA MAR IS A PRIVATE PROJECT, NOT A GOVERNMENT PROJECT – hence in a free society where free enterprise is supposed to exist, government seeking to use the Courts to stick its hands into a private company so as to determine how and if that company can function or exist IS NOT SUPPOSED TO HAPPEN. Should private entities fall into disputes, their recourse includes Courts of jurisdiction – not the government interfering and seeking to exert control over private enterprises to determine which party in a dispute “wins”. This kind of government action cuts to the very core of what The Bahamas is as a jurisdiction and place to do business. Continue reading
THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS HAS SIDED WITH CHINESE PRINCIPALS AND FILED A COURT PETITION TO LIQUIDATE BAHA MAR SO AS TO TAKE IT AWAY FROM THE PROJECT’S DEVELOPER SARKIS IZMIRLIAN – that is what the Prime Minister announced tonight. This means the government is asking the Court to bring Baha Mar as it exists today to an end (liquidation). The Prime Minister announced that China ExIm wanted Izmirlian to drop his court cases against them that allege sabotage, shoddy work and unjust accounting practices and that ChinaExIm did not want to agree for more time to negotiate with Izmirlian, the project’s developer. He also announced that China ExIm wanted Izmirlian to drop his Chapter 11 protection filing in the US (even though it did not oppose the filing in US Court as was its first right to do). Mr. Christie announced that the government agrees with and hence has sided with what China ExIm wants, and as such, the government has filed a motion in our Supreme Court to put the project into mandatory liquidation. WHAT THIS MEANS IS THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS, NOT SARKIS IZMIRLIAN, HAS TAKEN ACTION IN COURT TO KILL WHAT WE NOW KNOW AS BAHA MAR. Baha Mar’s Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection filing was to keep the company in existence while the company tries to re-organize. The government has now moved to bring the company as it exists to an end – THAT IS WHAT LIQUIDATION MEANS. Continue reading
The Attorney General’s role under the Constitution is to act on behalf of the Bahamian people. The Prime Minister announced tonight that the AG has filed a motion in our Supreme Court to put Baha Mar into mandatory liquidation stemming from specific desires expressed by China ExIm Bank in its dispute with Baha Mar’s developer. This means the AG has asked the Court to bring Baha Mar, as it currently exists, to an end (liquidation). But here is the major problem – in mandatory liquidation petitions, it is normally the company itself or the company’s creditors (the people a company owes) who make such a petition to the Court. BAHA MAR HAS NOT FILED TO LIQUIDATE ITS COMPANY. THE GOVERNMENT OF THE BAHAMAS IS NOT A BAHA MAR CREDITOR OR EQUITY STAKEHOLDER, NOR DID THE PM SAY THE AG WAS FILING ON BEHALF OF ANY BAHAMIAN CREDITORS. Why is the country’s AG, who is supposed to be acting for BAHAMIANS, filing a motion that is supposed to be filed by ChinaExIm Bank, the agency that is the lender for the Baha Mar project? So is the AG of The Bahamas now a de facto agent for a Chinese agency – an agency whose construction company is currently being sued by Baha Mar’s developers for alleged project sabotage and alleged unjust accounting practices in The Bahamas? It is not Sharon T who announced to the nation that our AG, acting due to the interests of a foreign creditor, has asked our Supreme Court to bring a company in The Bahamas to an end (liquidation) – THE PRIME MINISTER MADE THAT ANNOUNCEMENT. Baha Mar has not declared itself to be finished – the government, through its petition the PM’s says stems from a foreign agency’s interests – is seeking to have Baha Mar as it exists today, finished (liquidated).
These last almost two weeks of the Baha Mar saga have indeed displayed very many things about the way we see ourselves and the way we see others. We as Bahamians tend to have very curious and in many ways hypocritical positions about foreign nationals. We embrace some nationalities (and ethnic groups) while we despise others and in the case of Baha Mar, Sarkis Izmirlian as a foreign permanent resident – who ironically applied for Bahamian citizenship – was seemingly God’s gift to politicians banking on his development and his hundreds of millions in investment to give them keys and bragging rights to a sought-after political victory at the polls. The governing Party had even begun bragging about how it wanted to christen Baha Mar of sorts by being the first Party to hold its national convention there. Continue reading
The Bahamas government SENT A MEMBER OF THE CABINET with responsibility for the Courts to Court to represent the Crown and THAT CABINET MINISTER, ON BEHALF OF THE GOVERNMENT, JOINED WITH A FOREIGN COUNTRY’S AGENCY IN AN APPLICATION AGAINST A BAHAMIAN DEVELOPMENT – and people who ought to know better do not understand what the actual sovereignty issue is in this Baha Mar matter? The Crown has many lawyers that could have appeared for it. If the government wanted the appearance of propriety, it would not have sent a Member of the Executive with responsibilities for the Courts to appear in this matter. The government, seemingly in collusion with a country’s principals whose agents are alleged to have structurally impaired the project at Baha Mar, is also appearing to facilitate that foreign country seizing Cable Beach assets – a country that has already been given the Hilton and Bay Street. And people who ought to know better don’t understand what the actual sovereignty issue is in this Baha Mar matter?