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

Bahamas Government in Negotiations to Spark Stalled Baha Mar Project

Hotel & Resort | Brian Major | June 25, 2015

Bahamas Government in Negotiations to Spark Stalled Baha Mar Project

Photo: The Bahamas government is reportedly negotiating to end a key dispute tied to the stalled project.

A Bahamas government official said this week the country is working on an agreement to pay $21 million reportedly owed to the resort’s developers for road construction associated with the project. The proposed payment is viewed by Bahamas officials as a precursor to the resolution of issues that have stalled the $3.5 billion mega-resort’s opening.

The Bahamas Tribune reports a “well-placed government source” said the money will be paid “if Baha Mar can reach an agreement with China Export-Import Bank,” which is financing the resort’s construction. Baha Mar officials contacted by TravelPulse declined to comment on the Tribune report.

This week Philip “Brave” Davis, the Bahamas’ works minister and deputy prime minister said negotiations involving funds the government owes Baha Mar for the reconfiguration of West Bay Street are being handled by Perry Christie, the country’s prime minister.

“The office of the prime minister is dealing with that,” he told reporters this week. “A possible deal is in the works.”

Last week Christie told the Tribune he had received “encouraging” news about a possible impending resolution to the Baha Mar deadlock, reportedly in reference to the proposed payment. The funds would also be earmarked to pay “thousands of Bahamians currently on the resort’s payroll,” according to the Tribune source.

In addition to the developers’ dispute with the Bahamas government is a continuing row between the Baha Mar’s developers and the resort’s main contractor, China Construction America (CCA). Construction of the Cable Beach resort has since halted as two opening deadlines have been missed since. A new opening date has not been announced.

Behind the disputes stand hundreds of disgruntled travelers who held now-invalid bookings for Baha Mar vacations in 2015. Dozens have posted angry comments on the company’s Facebook page, complaining of cancelled bookings and thousands of dollars in lost vacation funds amidst scant information from the company. Indeed the Baha Mar officials have not posted comments or images to their Facebook page since April 22.

Meanwhile tour operators are largely hedging their bets as they await a firm opening date for the much-delayed project.

“As a firm opening date has yet to be announced, we are currently offering packages that include stays at all four Baha Mar properties for travel beginning January 4, 2016” said Tina Iglio, senior vice president, marketing and product development at MLT Vacations. “However, that date may shift forward pending the results of our product team’s site inspections.”

Pleasant Holidays, another tour operator, is currently accepting Baha Mar bookings and is targeting a Nov. 1 opening date. Conversely GOGO Vacations’ Jim Tedesco, said his company will wait for the mega-resort to open before booking guests.

A check of the Baha Mar website uncovered a link for bookings beginning Oct. 1, but when users attempt to book through the link, the booking page fails to load.

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