Deloitte and Touche (Bahamas) Managing Partner Raymond Winder (right) and attorney Brian Simms QC, who represent the receiver managers and the Export-Import Bank of China, exit court on Monday morning. Photo: Ahvia J. Campbell
By Travis Cartwright-Carroll
Nassau Guardian Staff Reporter
NASSAU, Bahamas -- Months after filing a petition to wind up bankrupt megaresort Baha Mar, The Bahamas government, through its attorney, asked a Supreme Court judge on Monday to hold off on the winding up as “positive” signs exist for a resolution to the crisis, but more time is needed to get to that point.
As a result, Supreme Court Justice Ian Winder adjourned the hearing to May 2. Monday was the second time the matter was adjourned.
Attorney Loren Klein admitted that the previous adjournment date was “overly ambitious”.
“It will take a little while longer for things to get moving,” he said in court.
“We are seeking a further adjournment of three months… and the reasons are the same.”
Klein said there have been several new important developments on the project since the last court hearing on November 25.
“There has been an agreement with the receiver managers and the government of The Bahamas for the use of the convention center to host a major international financial conference in March/April of this year,” he said, reading from an affidavit from Antoinette Bonamy, director of legal affairs in the Office of the Attorney General.
“The parties are actively proceeding with plans to push forward with completion of the convention center to accommodate this purpose.
“There have been positive ongoing discussions between the Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM) and China State Construction Engineering Company (CSCEC) with respect to the mobilization of construction and the resumption of work at the project.
“As an interested party and stakeholder, the government has been kept informed of these discussions and has used its good offices to facilitate discussions between parties.
“It, therefore, believes that these discussions will imminently result in a plan for remobilization of the Baha Mar project and pave the way for a detailed timetable to move the project toward completion and reopening in the shortest possible timeframe.”
Klein said the Baha Mar project is “akin to a large caravan”.
“When it stops, it takes some effort and initiative to get moving again,” he said.
“But we think what we see are very positive signs that there is going to be forward trajectory which will take the project across the three percent that was outstanding.”
Brian Simms, attorney for CEXIM and the receiver managers; Alfred Sears, attorney for the joint provisional liquidators (JPLs); Wayne Munroe, attorney for the Gaming Board; and attorney Vanessa Lee, who was holding brief for China Construction America (Bahamas), did not object to the adjournment.
Attorney Roy Sweeting, who appeared on behalf of the Baha Mar shareholders, did not object either.
Baha Mar filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy on June 29, 2015. A US judge has since dismissed the Chapter 11 cases.
On September 4, Winder approved the appointment of Edmund Rahming of KRyS Global, Mark Nicholas Cropper and Alastair Beveridge of AlixPartners Services UK as JPLs.
On October 30, three professionals from Deloitte and Touche, including Bahamian partner Raymond Winder, and two partners from its Beijing office, were appointed receivers.
The receivers are working with the JPLs to get the resort open.
Baha Mar laid off more than 2,000 workers in October 2015, but still employs a skeleton staff.
Republished with permission of the Nassau Guardian