Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : March 9th 2017 Contents BG20 | REGIONAL
BUSINESS GUARDIAN guardian.co.tt MARCH 9 • 2017
Bahamas govt defends
Baha Mar project
The Bahamas government
has described as "inaccu-
rate and unsubstantiated"
a recent statement by BMD
Holdings, the original de-
veloper of the multi-billion
dollar Baha Mar tourism project regarding
its completion and opening date.
In a statement, the Perry Christie govern-
ment said that "the inaccurate and unsub-
stantiated" statement represents "a persis-
tent and unpatriotic attempt by the failed
project developer to mislead Bahamians,
detract from the tremendous accomplish-
ments made by the stakeholders along with
Government in turning the project around,
and to conceal the fact that BMD Holdings
failed and then failed to recover from failure."
Last December, the Bahamas government
announced that the Baha Mar mega resort
had been sold to property developer and
business conglomerate, CTF BM Holdings
Ltd, a subsidiary of the Hong Kong con-
glomerate Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Ltd.
The announcement of the sale of the
US$3.5 billion project, which is expected to
feature a Las Vegas-style casino and more
than 2,000 hotel rooms, ended months of
calls by the main opposition Free National
Movement (FNM) for the government to
publicly declare the owners of the proper-
ty project which has been stalled for sever-
al months and missed at least two opening
deadlines, after running out of money.
Christie told legislators then that the ex-
ecuted sale and purchase agreement rep-
resents a significant achievement for the
Bahamas and a milestone in the troubled
history of the Baha Mar resort.
He said his government had taken steps
to "reach this successful outcome; begin-
ning with the Chapter 11 Bankruptcy filing,
the negotiations, the court interventions,
the bidding process, and culminating with
an overview of the purchaser, CTF, and its
vision for the Baha Mar resort.
But in its statement over the last week-
end, BMD Holdings said "the misleading,
and often illogical statements now being
made about progress at Baha Mar and its
opening have made Baha Mar into a Potem-
kin hotel-that is, using this still incomplete
property to deceive others into thinking the
situation is better than it is"
It said "Bahamians do not really know if
there is a final ownership deal firmly in place
for Baha Mar. Bahamians do not know what
promises and giveaways may have been made
to Chow Tai Fook, the alleged new owner, to
attach its name for now to the property. And,
for sure, the real future of the project still
sadly remains in the hands of CCA, which
has a long clear record of misleading and
failing on Baha Mar."
In its lengthy statement, BMD Holdings
outlined a number of factors it said showed
that the sale of the resort is not completed
adding "as Baha Mar's former developer,
we reiterate our position that, despite nev-
er having received a response to our many
purchase offers...we stand ready, willing and
able to buy Baha Mar today and complete
it immediately with Bahamian workers and
"The chronic delays created by CCA for
either self-interest or patent incompetence
must stop now. The Bahamas deserves bet-
ter," the original developer noted.
But the Government said the "BMD's
statement is misleading in many places and
factually inaccurate in others"
It said that the suggestion that there has
been misinformation or misleading infor-
mation by government with respect to the
progress made at Baha Mar or with respect
to any opening dates "is plainly false.
"The announcement of a soft opening date
in April 2017 for several of the major com-
ponents of the hotel...remains unchanged.
"The fact that independent operators
of other parts of the resort have suggested
deferred or staggered opening dates with
respect to their hotel brands does not in any
way detract from the extraordinary effort
and progress that has been made toward the
completion of construction and opening of
the resort, nor does its cast any doubt on
the target date for the soft opening of other
parts of the resort.
"It is simply a reflection of the commercial
realities that exist, due largely to the state
in which the hotel was left by the former
developer after filing for bankruptcy, and
the need by these brands to ensure that they
are in a position to meet the qualitative ex-
pectations of their clientele when they do
open," the government noted.
It said that to suggest that the Court ap-
pointed provisional liquidators should have
expended substantial sums of money and
risk in pursuing CCA in the English High
Court, which would undoubtedly have
been hotly contested and lengthy in dura-
tion, ignores the fact that the proceeds of
any litigation would have been payable to
CEXIM Bank under its security and not, as
BMD suggests, to Bahamian creditors. BMD
would be well aware of this.
"In circumstances where BMD cannot
state when the Baha Mar resort would have
opened (if at all) had the Chapter 11 process
continued, its estimates as to the likely job
losses and tax revenue losses are meaning-
less. BMD's proclamations and protestations
of delay do not reflect the reality on the
ground," the government added.
"The Government has worked tirelessly
with all of Baha Mar's key stakeholders to
ensure that it will be a success for the Baha-
mas and its people. The Government looks
forward to the opening of the resort in April,"
the statement added. CMC
St Lucia records
in stay over
St Lucia recorded a one per cent increase in stay-
over arrivals for 2016, but the tourism industry failed
to show growth in the cruise and yachting sectors,
contracting by 13 and one per cent respectively.
Figures released by the St Lucia Tourist Board
(STLB) Tuesday show that stay-over visitor arrivals
for last year was 347, 872. The figure showed that total
visitor spending last year was estimated at EC$709
million (EC$1 =US$0.37 cents).
While the cruise and yachting sectors contracted,
the figures show that both sectors fared better in the
final quarter of the year reporting double-digit growth
in the last four months.
Addressing a state of the industry news conference,
Tourism Minister Dominic Fedee and SLTB Executive
Chairperson Agnes Francis, spoke optimistically about
the island's performance for 2017.
"There are many strategic developments that will
be undertaken in the coming year including a stronger
airlift strategy that would improve airlift in the sum-
mer months where we typically struggle. Additionally,
the government is currently looking at a new tourism
incentives act that we hope will stimulate investment
across the board.
"We are also taking a very serious look at the devel-
opment of our airport in order to remain competitive
with our other jurisdictions who are moving ahead
with very modern state-of-the-art facilities," said
The United States market continued to grow in 2016,
with stay over arrivals increasing by five per cent.
The Caribbean market saw considerable growth
of seven per cent, surpassing the United Kingdom
market which shrunk by minus five per cent
But Francis, pointed to an encouraging performance
from the UK market in December with a 3.9 per cent
Canada continued to trail as the fourth largest
market, capturing 11 per cent of the market share.
Tourism officials said encouraging increases in Ca-
nadian arrivals were observed in the last eight months
of the year. The European market retained a minimal
share of the market, capturing five per cent of stay-
This year's performance was overshadowed by a
number of world events that had a significant effect
on travel including Britain's exit from the European
Union (Brexit), global security threats and the Zika
Total airlift to the island increased by three per cent
in 2016 with significant increases recorded from the
US and Caribbean markets, whilst decreases were
noted from Canada and the European markets.
Airlift from the US increased four per cent due
mainly to additional service on Delta from Atlanta,
and added United Airlines flights from New Jersey and
Chicago. Significant increases were also recorded in
airlift from the Caribbean market whilst the Canadian
and European markets struggled.
The yachting sector fared better in the latter half of
the year, than in the first. Arrivals by yacht from the
three main ports dropped one per cent from 2015 to
2016, although double digit increases were recorded
in the last six months of the year especially at the IGY
Rodney Bay Marina which recorded an eight per cent
Tourism officials estimate that cruise arrivals will
grow by 16 per cent in 2017 and additional airlift is
expected from the US and Canadian stay-over mar-
kets. Additionally, new properties and renovations
to existing properties will be adding more rooms
throughout the year and planned expansions in the
cruise and yachting sectors suggest a relative increase
in visitor arrivals for 2017.
Links Archive March 8th 2017 March 10th 2017 Navigation Previous Page Next Page