Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette addressing the Groundbreaking Ceremony for the Baha Mar resort on Cable Beach held Monday, February 21, 2011. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)
Nassau, The Bahamas - The Government will
continue to work with Baha Mar to implement the agreement towards successful
development of the $2.6 billion resort on Cable Beach, the Deputy Prime
Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette said.
He was addressing the Groundbreaking Ceremony
for the project held Monday, February 21, 2011, on the beach side of the former
Nassau Beach Hotel.
“Cable Beach has long been an integral part of
The Bahamas’ tourism establishment. The ongoing commitment of Baha Mar to the
success of this project to redevelop this area is clear and certainly bodes
well for our collective efforts to ensure the dynamism, versatility and ongoing
success of our tourism industry,” Mr. Symonette said.
He said that the moment represented the
culmination of a “long, painstaking process and the rebirth of a critically
important part of the Bahamian tourism establishment.”
The project is the brainchild of Sarkis
Izmirlian, chairman and chief executive officer of Baha Mar Resorts Ltd., who
has partnered with the China Export Import Bank and the China State
Construction Engineering Corporation to build what is touted as the largest
luxury resort in the region.
A Groundbreaking Ceremony was held for the multi-billion-dollar Baha Mar project on Cable Beach, Monday, February 21, 2011. Pictured from left are Liu Jinzhang, CP China State Construction Engineering Company Ltd.; Li Ruogu, chairman and president, the Export-Import Bank of China; Sarkis Izmirlian, chairman and chief executive officer of Baha Mar Resorts Ltd; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette; and Hu Dingxian, Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)
“As we are aware, this project has faced
numerous challenges since the signing of the initial Heads of Agreement with
the government in April 2005,” Mr. Symonette said.
“These challenges have included the withdrawal
of the initial joint venture partners in the project, as well as the dramatic
and prolonged downturn in the global economy, which has had a major impact on
resort development in The Bahamas and other parts of the world.”
Conclusion of the financing agreement in March
2010 with the China Export Import Bank and the China State Construction and
Engineering Corporation, following additional negotiations, the government and
Baha Mar concluded all the necessary agreements on January 31, 2011.
And to accommodate the project, work has begun
on the re-routing of West Bay Street and the a new road corridor to link West
Bay Street to J F Kennedy Drive, Mr. Symonette said.
A Groundbreaking Ceremony was held for the multi-billion dollar Baha Mar project on Cable Beach, Monday, February 21, 2011. Pictured from left are Sarkis Izmirlian, chairman and chief executive officer of Baha Mar Resorts Ltd; Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs the Hon. Brent Symonette; and Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China, Hu Dingxian. (BIS Photo/Derek Smith)
“The details of the Baha Mar Cable Beach
Redevelopment Project have been painstakingly negotiated between the government
and Baha Mar to ensure a well-received and hence successful development for the
investors in and operators of Baha Mar.
“The government and its agencies will continue
to work with Baha Mar to achieve the implementation of the agreements concluded
and thus a successful development,” he said.
It has also been agreed that the value of
construction works be awarded to Bahamian contractors and sub-contractors
totalling $400 million.
The works will include but not limited to site
work, the convention centre, the Hyatt timeshare villas, restaurants, a casino,
a golf course, retail shops, bars, landscaping and irrigation, specialty walks
and pool decks amongst other amenities.
An estimated 4,500 Bahamians will be engaged on
the project during construction, which has already begun.
Mr. Izmirlian said the project is being launched
during the worst economic recession since the Great Depression, but that he
never lost sight of his dream. He encouraged Bahamians to take advantage of the
opportunities to continue to build their country.
His Excellency Hu Dingxian, Ambassador of the
People’s Republic of China thanked the government for assisting in this “golden
boy” to be born at the right time and with the right people.
“We should make every effort to make the pie of
the world economy bigger and share the benefits with each other, and we can
only develop and achieve win-win results through cooperation and partnership,”
Senator the Hon. Vincent Vanderpool-Wallace also
participated in the groundbreaking ceremony, as well as Li Ruogu, chairman and
president of the Export-Import Bank of China. The guests were treated to a
Chinese Lion Dance Performance and Junkanoo Rush-out.