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Ministry of Finance comments on Standard and Poor’s rating update
Submitted by BIS   
Friday, 03 July 2015 11:42

NASSAU, Bahamas -- The Ministry of Finance has noted the statement by Standard & Poor's on the sovereign ratings update for The Bahamas, in light of the Baha Mar bankruptcy protection filing in the United States courts. S&P analysts are scheduled to make their regular mission to The Bahamas later this month, at which time they will update their economic and fiscal assessment.

The Ministry of Finance welcomes the favorable review of progress made in improving the fiscal health of the Government, particularly through the gains from the introduction of the VAT and disciplined public expenditure. These reforms will continue, in order to anchor a medium-term reduction in the Government's debt burden.

As been emphasized in other official statements, the Government is committed to achieving a speedy resolution that would permit the works at Baha Mar to resume and the property to open without much further delay.

In the meantime, it should be noted that medium-term growth prospects for tourism are also grounded in capacity being added at other resorts in New Providence, Grand Bahama, Bimini, Abaco; and in significant investments other Family Islands. The quality and reputation of these resorts are anchored in international brands that will remain strong and continue to attract visitor growth.

 
DNA commentary: PLP Government Lost, as the Day is Long
Submitted by the DNA party   
Wednesday, 01 July 2015 12:55

We read with great interest the statement by the PLP government yesterday that the filing for Bankruptcy by Bahamar was unexpected…a surprise to the Government of the Bahamas. If the PLP government is truthful in this statement, it begs the question why was the government not aware? From all recent reports by this government, there was constant communication with the Prime Minister and Izmirilian and the Chinese. Indeed this government touted for the past three years that Bahamar was going to be the saviour of our economy and, hence, one would have believed that this government would have been intimately involved in every aspect of Bahamar’s development. At least this is what a sensible government would have done, knowing the ramifications if the project failed. Certainly with all the so-called governmental experience of our good Prime Minister this should have been a foregone conclusion.

This statement of the PLP government, not having any knowledge of Bahamar’s filing for Bankruptcy is reminiscent of the claim made by the Prime Minister and the PLP government a few months back that they were not aware of the signing of the six hundred and fifty million dollar Letter of Intent by Mr. Renward Wells, the then Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Works. It truly begs the question, if the statement is correct, does this PLP government truly have a handle on what is going on in this country. Can they be trusted to continue with the governance of the Bahamian people’s affairs? Or is the PLP government lost, as the day is long?

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DNA commentary: Bahamians duped on BTC!
Submitted by the DNA party   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 14:53

In the months after taking office, this Christie administration made a public spectacle of its efforts to reclaim “controlling interest” in BTC. Negotiations between the government and the principals of Cable and Wireless communications dragged on for months and at the conclusion of those talks, Mr. Christie and his cabinet boasted about the landmark deal which he promised would make the government an equal shareholder with Cable and Wireless and ultimately result in major benefits for Bahamians.

Unfortunately, WE HAVE BEEN DUPED! That new arrangement inked with Cable and Wireless was not worth the paper it was written on! When it was all said and done, the government was only able to reclaim 2% of non-voting shares that brought with it no actual decision making power; leaving the day to day management and long term decision making in the hands of BTC’s parent company.

Now, more than a year after that deal was struck, Bahamians are being confronted with just how meaningless the PM’s promises regarding the future of BTC and its employees really were.

Months of stalled negotiations and public wrangling between management and staff at BTC will culminate Tuesday in the termination of 140 hardworking Bahamians. These redundancies are particularly ill-timed considering the dire economic straits with which the country continues to grapple. A time when cost of living increases and an increased tax burden threaten to destroy the country’s middle class. Against the backdrop of these worsening conditions, these hardworking Bahamians will now be put out to pasture joining the thousands already on the unemployment line.

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DNA commentary: Bahamar’s new chapter
Info Editor   
Tuesday, 30 June 2015 14:33

After three separate delays, public wrangling with the lead contractor and a rumor mill, which has spawned weeks of media and public speculation and uncertainty, the future of the 3.5 billion dollar Bahamar property has been revealed. The highly touted developed tapped by this Christie administration as the savior of the country’s economy has found itself floundering amid rough economic seas of its own as hotel developer Sarkis Izmirlian announced plans to file for voluntary bankruptcy.

According to published reports, the company’s board of directors has determined that the Chapter 11 filing is the best path to provide the company with a viable capital structure to complete the project citing the financial consequences of the repeated delays by the general contractor, and the resulting loss of revenue as major factors in that decision.

The announcement though disturbing confirms the many rumors about the projects viability and further exposes the Christie cabinet as fundamentally dishonest. Following the initial delays PM Perry Christie, the country’s chief executive officer dismissed concerns about the reported financial troubles facing the property and instead continued to publicly tout the economic impact that the property would eventually have on the country. His confidence in the property’s viability would later turn to outright ignorance about the future of development. Then according to Mr. Christie he received what he said was encouraging news about the development even going so far as to suspend the budget debate. Could this have been the news Mr. Christie seemed so jubilant about?

The Democratic National Alliance finds it difficult to believe that the PM, who by his own admission has been intimately involved in the property’s ongoing development, was not also intimately aware of the financial troubles that now beset the company. That said, his decision not to honestly communicate those facts to the public is both callous and insensitive.

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Elcott Coleby: This week in The Bahamas (June 15-19)
Submitted by Elcott Coleby   
Saturday, 20 June 2015 07:13

This week in Parliament

The 2015/2016 budget debate was passed in the House early Thursday morning, around 4:30am.

The House proceedings were not without some drama where the government moved for closure of the debate under House rule 33 resulting in a standoff between government members, the Speaker and the member for Fort Charlotte who insisted on speaking. In the end the House Speaker permitted the member from Fort Charlotte to deliver his budget contribution and in the process the member for Fort Charlotte, Dr. Andre Rollins resigned from the Progressive Liberal Party.

Another important development was the revelation by the Prime Minister that he received goods from the China Import/Export Bank regarding the Baha Mar Resort project. PM Christie said he would meet with Baha Mar CEO Sarkis Izmirlian at the earliest convenience to discuss the way forward.

Below are some of the budget highlights from presentations by the Hon. Damian Gomez, State Minister for Legal Affairs; the Hon. D. Shane Gibson, Minister of Labour, National Insurance and the Public Service; and the Hon. Obie Wilchcombe, Minister of Tourism.

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