By Bradley B. Roberts
Progressive Liberal Party
25th June 2017
Not a peep from PM Minister Minnis, D’Aguilar nor Sarkis Izmirlian since AG Bethel all clear
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis knew at the time he tabled Heads of Terms on the completion, sale and opening of Baha Mar unsealed by the Bahamas Supreme Court that there was absolutely nothing unusual, wrong or illegal with the agreement but cowardly remained silent on this important matter that dominated the message of the FNM election campaign.
The FNM told the world that the PLP was selling 500 Bahamian citizenships; selling tens of thousands of acres of land in Andros and selling out the country to the Chinese in some secret deal yet not a peep from the Prime Minister. Dr. Minnis went as far as to say that the Christie administration illegally gave away Bahamian assets and the Bahamian patrimony with no evidence to support these false and deceitful claims. His reckless and dangerous claims that were all bold faced lies hurt the international reputation of The Bahamas and intentionally deceived thousands of Bahamians.
Instead of admitting his gross error and offer a contrite apology, Minnis instead directed Attorney General Carl Bethel to make the declaration.
His reasons and motivations for doing this raise justifiable suspicions?
From the 29th June 2016 Baha Mar Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Dr. Hubert Minnis and the FNM threw their full support behind developer Sarkis Izmirlian and his then fellow Baha Mar board director and demonstrably outspoken surrogate and willing mouthpiece Dionisio D’Aguilar who is now Minister of Tourism. They accused the Christie Government of interfering with the Delaware bankruptcy filing and Dr. Minnis specifically accused the Christie government falsely of a corrupt “under the table” secret deal, wrong doing and malfeasance:
“The Free National Movement is shocked and dismayed that the Christie led government has requested that the under the table secret deal that the Government made with the Chinese be sealed by the courts of The Bahamas. The Government must be aware that the agreement that they signed was signed by them on behalf of The Bahamian people and so the Government has a duty to make the agreement public. Only dictatorial and corrupt Governments do the peoples’ business in the dark of night and hope that they never see the light of day but we wish to put both the Government and the Chinese on notice that we will put the sunlight on the agreement and cancel any part that is not in the interest of The Bahamian people.”
“Sadly, Bahamians have seen secret deals such as this done before by this Government so it should come as no surprise to the Bahamian people that less than 24 hours after the Prime Minister struck his secret deal with the Chinese on Baha Mar they have now been forced to admit to sealing the documents relating to their secret deal. At every turn this Christie led PLP Government has proven itself to be one of the most corrupt governments in our history and they are at it again –shielding the details of the deals they struck with the Chinese from the Bahamian people. The Prime Minister calls on Bahamians to ‘trust him’ on securing the best deal yet what has he done to earn that trust? Hiding the details of his secret deal, by sealing it through the courts does not earn trust. Time after time they have failed us. So Bahamians demand to know what did these secret meetings cost the Bahamian people?”
I hasten to point out firstly that the details of the Heads of Terms were revealed by the former Prime Minister at a press conference at Baha Mar, in the House of Assembly and at various times, still Minnis and the FNM continued with their barrage of lies and distortions. Now that the Heads of Terms are in the public domain, what will Minnis say now? He has lost his arrogant bombast and I dare say his voice
I go further. The FNM’s position on Baha Mar was clearly outlined in its 2017 Manifesto. The PLP reminds all of the following:
The FNM promised that if it ever became the government it “will engage and execute a real sale of Baha Mar resort, to a qualified and respectable purchaser who believes in Bahamians, a purchaser who will utilize only Bahamian labour to complete the resort, and will put Bahamians back to work with real jobs.”
The shocking allegations and over the top statements by former Baha Mar Director, Sarkis surrogate and willing mouthpiece Dionisio D’Aguilar are all in the public domain. He said that CFE is unfit to own and operate Baha Mar because the organization has connections to the mob and organized crime.
The PLP is obliged ask why the Press has not sought comments from Dr. Minnis, D’Aguilar or Izmirlian since the candid disclose of AG Carl Bethel who also revealed that the substantive deal will “remain sealed for the time being” because of “market sensitivity.”
The FNM boasts of openness, transparency and accountability therefore the PLP dutifully demands Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis to come clean and disclose the terms of the full details of the deal between the FNM and Sarkis Izmirlian. Did the FNM receive financial contributions from Sarkis Izmirlian? What was promised to Sarkis in return for his support?
Finally, the FNM is strangely eerily silent on the status of the sale of the three hotel complex inclusive of a new casino operator in Freeport Grand Bahama. With all the hurting and suffering going on in Grand Bahama, conventional wisdom dictates that the expeditious completion of this agreement and getting these hotels open and operational should be a top priority for the Minnis government, but alas their silence is deafening.
That sales agreement is in the final stages of negotiations with the Canadian investment group headed by Steve Wynn where an agreement has been signed and a deposit made. Is Minnis seeking to dishonestly shaft the Wynn group and under the cloak of darkness and in an underhanded and devious manner double cross the Wynn investment group and steer that Freeport hotel deal into the waiting arms of their master Sarkis Izmirlian as an election payback?
Dr. Minnis must come clean and disabuse the general public of this view – what with the FNM government being this honest, accountable, transparent and open government that is about to table anti-corruption legislation in Parliament. Man Minnis should be snappy and jump at this opportunity to clear the proverbial air.
Certainly Minnis can’t have the PLP calling his government corrupt so chop – chop, hop to it Minnis.