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Bahamas Opposition criticises government on tourism sector

Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis
NASSAU, Bahamas, Jul 13, CMC – The main opposition Free National Movement (FNM) Wednesday accused the Perry Christie government of doing little to safeguard the future of the tourism industry in the Bahamas.

“Empty rhetoric, broken promises lead to empty hotel rooms. The latest report from the Bank of The Bahamas revealed that key tourism indicators have declined for the first four months of 2016,’ FNM and Opposition Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis, said in a statement.

He said the report described the tourism sector’s performance as “relatively weak’, adding that with Bahamians out of work and struggling to get by they “don’t need another report to know that this government’s aversion to corruption and it’s failed leadership is crippling our economy.

“Their continuing failures…are all chasing tourists and their tourism dollars away. The failure of this government has resulted in a seven per cent year-over- year decline in peak winter room revenues,” Minnis said, adding that “this all added to the economic despair plaguing the country in the wake of the likelihood of a Moody’s downgrade, and the continuing debacle of the Baha Mar saga.”

Minnis said that if the multi-billion dollar Baha Mar project was open “our tourism industry would be thriving and another 5,000 Bahamians would be employed and the US$74 million would have been paid out to Bahamian contractors for the work already completed.

“Instead this…government is engaging in secret, backroom deals that seek to get Baha Mar open at any cost even if it means selling out Bahamian workers and contractors.”
The construction of Baha Mar, which is expected to feature a Las Vegas-style casino and more than 2,000 hotel rooms, has been stalled for months as the project missed December and March opening deadlines, after running out of money.

Last June, Baha Mar had to file for bankruptcy protection in Delaware, blaming the Chinese contractor, China Construction America (CCA) for the delays. The CCA stated that it wasn’t responsible for the delays and put it down to poor planning by the developer.

The bankruptcy filing was dismissed and provisional liquidators for the project were appointed last year. Deloitte & Touche was subsequently appointed as a receiver for the China Export-Import Bank. It has since hired Colliers International of Toronto in an attempt to locate a buyer.

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