Nassau, Bahamas — Bahamas Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson was due to return to Beijing, China, at the weekend for the resumption of negotiations between bankrupt megaresort Baha Mar and its Chinese partners, Prime Minister Perry Christie said on Friday night.
In a statement, Christie said he is hopeful that the talks, with China Construction America (CCA) Bahamas, Baha Mar and the Export-Import Bank of China (EXIM), will lead to a successful conclusion.
He also pointed out that as top executives from all of the major stakeholders will be present in Beijing, it will be helpful for Baha Mar’s chief decision maker, CEO Sarkis Izmirlian, to be at the negotiating table.
“Should the parties reach an agreement, the parties can get back to the completion and opening of the resort without further litigation or other delay,” Christie said.
“If no agreement is reached, there will still be the option of a restructuring and re-launch of the project under the authority of a provisional liquidator and the supervision of our Supreme Court, if the court is minded to so order after hearing from all sides.
“The preferred solution, however, would obviously be an amicable out-of-court settlement between all the parties.”
Maynard-Gibson filed a winding up petition against Baha Mar last week, seeking to bring it under the jurisdiction of Bahamian courts.
The government is seeking the appointment of a provisional liquidator to manage Baha Mar’s affairs with a view to getting the stalled project completed and operational.
Justice Ian Winder said he will hear the petition on July 31.
Negotiations held between the parties last week failed after Izmirlian failed to commit to a cash guarantee to CCA or withdraw its Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings underway in Delaware and its lawsuit against China State Construction Engineering Corporation (CSCEC) in the United Kingdom.
Baha Mar reportedly asked the EXIM bank for an additional $600 million.
Izmirlian did not attend those negotiations.
Baha Mar President Tom Dunlap has represented the company in Beijing.
Christie said assuring the “prompt resumption, completion and opening of the development is fundamental to protecting our national interest”.
“The most effective way to preserve the livelihood of Baha Mar’s workers, protect investors and realize the project’s great economic promise for all The Bahamas is to ensure the completion and opening of Baha Mar as soon as possible,” he said.
Baha Mar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy in Delaware on June 29.
Attorney Roy Sweeting, who appeared for Baha Mar in the Bahamas Supreme Court on July 2, said it was essential that the court recognize the Chapter 11 proceedings in Delaware.
But Winder rejected that application on Wednesday.
On Thursday, American attorneys for Baha Mar reportedly told a US judge that Izmirlian is willing to commit up to $200 million to “jump start” the project.