Baha Mar allegations stir controversy in The Bahamas

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According to Caribbean News Now, Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) chairman and former foreign minister Fred Mitchell has labeled former Baha Mar developer Sarkis Izmirlian’s lawsuit against China Construction America (CCA) as “an act of revenge calculated to injure The Bahamas and its reputation and to cast aspersions on the PLP.” Travis Cartwright-Carroll writes that BML Properties Limited, owned by Izmirlian, filed a 268-page complaint in New York against CCA. BML claims that CCA deliberately tried to cause the failure of the Baha Mar project.

In a statement [former prime minister] Mitchell said, “The most egregious insult in the entire filing was the suggestion that the bankruptcy of his operation was somehow influenced by dealings by the government, then a PLP administration, which were secretive and suspect because the documents were sealed by the Supreme Court of the Bahamas. Why is this back in the public domain in official court documents? Reasonable minds can conclude that it is being done to cause injury to The Bahamas and to this important economic project in the Bahamas?”

In the court documents, Izmirlian asserts, “As the project moved into late 2014 and early 2015, CCA as well undertook to sabotage forward progress of the work, intentionally damage and disable life-safety, security and electrical supply systems to try to compel BML Properties and Baha Mar Ltd to accede to its demands on sham payment applications and on fraudulent commercial claims, stage labor walk-offs when it was critically delayed in delivering the project, intentionally slow down work at the project (a fact admitted by CCA’s executive at a meeting with the then prime minister of The Bahamas in April 2015), and divert equipment and executive and labor effort to its newly purchased competing project just a few miles from the front door of Baha Mar.

“Indeed, just 11 days before Baha Mar Ltd was forced to file bankruptcy protection due to CCA’s fraud and malicious conduct, CCA and the then-government of The Bahamas signed an agreement (undisclosed until early 2017), based on what later press accounts deemed collusions between CCA and the government, that ratified CCA’s movement of heavy equipment and Chinese laborers from the project and to CCA’s newly acquired competing Hilton project while CCA was still under contract to finish Baha Mar.”

Mitchell said [. . .], “The rescue of the project was carried out in an open and transparent fashion and, despite all the propaganda, the good results are there today for all to see.”

Source: article from the Nassau Guardian accessed via Caribbean News Now.

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