Thursday, March 23, 2017
Thursday, March 23, 2017
Here follows a communication by Perry Christie, Prime Minister and Member of Parliament For Centreville, to the House of Assembly on the Baha Mar Resort handover 22 March, 2017:
It gives me great pleasure to inform Parliament that yesterday, March 21, 2017 an important milestone of progress was realized towards the successful completion and opening of the mega Baha Mar Resort, with the handover of facilities by the general contractor China Construction to the new purchaser CTFBM Holdings Ltd.
The handover yesterday and the issuance of a Temporary Certificate of Occupancy will ensure adequate preparations for the smooth opening next month on 21 April, 2017 of the following components of this world class resort:
- The new 1800 room Grand Hyatt combining both the Convention and Casino Hotels
- The new 200,000 square foot Convention Centre, one of the largest such facilities in the Region, to be operated by Hyatt
- The new 95,000 square foot casino, the largest casino in the Region
- The new 18 hole Jack Nicklaus Golf Course
- The new luxurious spa, racquet club, enticing restaurants, and entertainment,
- attractive branded shops set in 60,000 square feet of retail space, and other amenities.
It is significant that in this handover, Baha Mar is being transferred to a world class company – one that successfully owns and manages prestigious hotels across the world. Apart from the more than four billion dollars already invested in the project, the new Purchaser has significantly increased their capital, marketing and pre-opening investment from $200 million to $250 million.
The progress leading up to the April 21 phased opening of the Baha Mar resort IS REAL. The project is abuzz with activity and excitement. New employees are coming in for training, things are moving forward all on course not only for the initial opening on April 21, but timely completion of other components of the project in phased openings by SLS and Rosewood in the ensuing months. These prestigious operators and brands will be joining Hyatt and CTF Enterprises with outstanding and impactful additions to our tourism product and the economy of The Bahamas.
Over one thousand (1,000) Bahamians have already been hired at Baha Mar and fifteen hundred (1,500) employees will be hired by the April 21 opening. Baha Mar, like Atlantis will then open in phases – with more job opportunities at every phase.
No one knows better than I do how these jobs will change lives – these new opportunities are going to bring meaningful change for a lot of Bahamian families. That is why we have worked so hard to make sure Baha Mar was delivered to successful and safe hands.
In my very detailed and extensive Communication to Parliament on Baha Mar last December I mentioned and I quote the following:
“Amidst the complex and arduous negotiations, my Government and I remained focuses on achieving three (3) main objectives:
(i) Firstly, ensuring immediate remobilization and resumption of construction, based on committed funding sufficient to complete construction and to open all parts of the Project;
(ii) Secondly, the opening of the Casino, Casino Hotel, Convention Centre, Convention Hotel and Golf Course prior to the end of the 2016-2017 winter season;
(iii) And thirdly, settlement and/or payment of all valid claims of contractors and subcontractors, suppliers and employees and other Baha Mar and CCA creditors.”
I am pleased to report Mr. Speaker, that my Government has with the cooperation of the stakeholders achieved these lofty objectives. Not only has funding been provided to fund all remaining construction costs to complete the project, but some $101.5 million has been injected into the Bahamian economy towards payment of employees and unsecured creditors. This sum represents an ex-gratia payment made by China Export Import Bank to unsecured creditors to accommodate the request of my Government.
Hundreds of former Bahamian employees of Baha Mar have received the outstanding amounts due to them: unpaid salaries, severance pay, accrued vacation pay, and notice payments due by termination. Sums deducted from employees and former employees’ salaries and pension contributions have been paid. Other Bahamian creditors and contractors have received a significant part and in many cases all of the value of their claims.
I have provided this update to Parliament on Baha Mar as I have been doing regularly, and will continue to do so as we move to the countdown of the April 21st opening. By God’s continued help and guidance we shall realize the achievement of this successful project for the benefit of the people of The Bahamas and the enjoyment of millions who will be attracted from around the world to experience that “IT IS BETTER IN THE BAHAMAS”.