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Baha Mar road negotiations stretch into August

Discussions between the government and Baha Mar over the money owed to the resort for the new West Bay Street continue to drag on, weeks after the government expected to conclude the matter.

The negotiations were expected to wrap up in mid-July, but Minister of Works and Urban Development Philip Brave Davis yesterday said the protracted discussions are due in part to the need to get technical advice from advisors before making a decision and queries over what the resort spent money on.

“Some of the key issues [are] what is admissible as far as the costs are concerned and what is not admissible. It’s not what was spent but what it was spent on and whether what it was spent on was necessary,” Davis told reporters shortly after a meeting with Baha Mar representatives.

It is unclear when negotiations will end.

Last month, Davis said the government was hoping to avoid bringing in an arbitrator to intercede if both sides could not reach a conclusion on the payout.

The government had agreed to pay Baha Mar just under $48 million to help cover the cost of the new road that runs along the resort’s campus.

However, after receiving advice from its technical experts, the government has reportedly determined it should pay Baha Mar less than $30 million.

Last month, Prime Minister Perry Christie defended the government’s decision to renegotiate the amount it will pay.

He said the government has an “obligation to the people of The Bahamas to jealously guard the revenue of the country and to ensure that we are spending the money wisely and properly”.

The government’s agreement with the developer states that the government is obligated to pay $47.8 million to Baha Mar if the cost of the reconfiguration of West Bay Street exceeded $70 million, Davis explained earlier this year.

If the figure is less than $70 million the government would only be obligated to pay 50 percent.

However government technical experts have reportedly assessed the value at around $58 million.

A Baha Mar official said the road works cost developers close to $118 million.

The government agreed to reimburse Baha Mar for its portion once the resort’s casino tower reached the 100-foot mark, which happened in February.

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