Last updated: 10:44 AM ET, Thu July 30 2015

Bahamas Government to Pay Baha Mar Workers' Salaries

Destination & Tourism | Brian Major | July 03, 2015

Bahamas Government to Pay Baha Mar Workers' Salaries

Photo courtesy of Baha Mar

The Bahamas government will pay the salaries of more than 2,000 Baha Mar workers as negotiations continue to end the impasse that has kept the $3.5 billion mega-resort from opening.

The Bahamian government offered to pay the workers’ salaries after the country’s Supreme Court decided Thursday to adjourn until July 7 a hearing on Baha Mar’s application for recognition of the U.S. bankruptcy proceedings.

The adjournment was granted at the joint request of the Bahamas’ attorney general and The Export-Import Bank of China, the project’s lender. The mega-resort’s developers filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection Monday in an attempt to salvage the oft-delayed project.

“The Bahamian Supreme Court directed Baha Mar, at the request of the attorney general, to provide the government with information necessary to pay the salaries of the more than 2,200 Baha Mar employees for the period ending July 3, 2015,” said Baha Mar Ltd. officials in a statement issued Thursday.

While the developers are complying with the request, they said the government’s “unorthodox request appeared redundant in light of the U.S. Court yesterday granting Baha Mar its DIP (debtor-in-possession) financing and approving Baha Mar’s motion to operate and fund its payroll in the normal course.”

In addition, the developers are “extremely concerned and disappointed” with the adjournment, which they say will have “very troubling implications for both the Chapter 11 process and our efforts to position Baha Mar to complete construction and open successfully.”

Said officials, “This adjournment unfortunately makes it impossible at this time to act on the U.S. Court approvals we received yesterday, which would allow us, among other things, to pay salaries and benefits for Baha Mar citizens as well as pay ordinary course suppliers and vendors for goods and services.”

The developers characterized the adjournment as troubling due to time constraints. “As we have made clear all week, time is of the essence for Baha Mar,” said company officials. “Extensive efforts to reach a compromise with our lender and our contractor have been fruitless and if we are frustrated in taking advantage in the Bahamas of the U.S. Chapter 11 process for very much longer, drastic and regrettable steps, including substantial staff reductions, will have to be taken.”

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