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Brave Davis, the deputy leader of the PLP, is feebly trying to lift his profile. The only difficulty is he is trying to do so on issues that he and his party totally lack credibility. In his most recent letter to the press, he makes absurd claims.
He stated that Bahamians must be "scratching their heads and wondering how is it possible that Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, in his budget presentation in the House of Assembly last week, did not think that the country's escalating crime problem was important enough to be one of his government's top priorities." This of course is not true.
However, it does support what we in the FNM have long known -- the PLP mistakes words for action. The fact is that the crime fighting agencies of the country, that is, the Police, Defence Force and Prison have all received increases in the upcoming budget. They are receiving collectively $201 million which is $15.6 million more than they received last year and $34 million more than they received under the PLP in its last budget.
Next to education, crime fighting agencies will receive the second largest allocation among government agencies (13%) in the 2011/2012 Budget. This is more than the percentage allocated by the PLP in their last budget, notwithstanding that then Prime Minister Perry Christie said in his 2006/2007 Budget Communication, "We are putting in place ambitious but achievable programs and strategies to move aggressively to attack the problems of crime and illegal immigration which together constitute the greatest source of worry and anxiety for the Bahamian people."
Action, not words, is required.
The attorney general, judiciary and magistrate courts together will get $32.4 million, which is $6.7 million more than they were allocated last year and $3.3 million more than the PLP gave them in their last budget of 2006/2007 before they were kicked out of office. Action, not words is required.
Brave Davis says it was political expediency that made the FNM make job creation and training our main focus in the upcoming budget. He was clearly talking about the PLP under Perry Christie which had four years consecutively of double digit unemployment with as many as 19,000 Bahamians unemployed and did precious little to address the hardship over that period. Faced with the worse global economic crisis since The Great Depression, the FNM quickly moved to put in place an Unemployment Benefit Programme that has assisted 21,249 with some $32 million in payments as of April 30th, 2011; a six-month job program that gave more than 2,500 Bahamians work; and an infrastructure programme that created thousands of construction jobs for Bahamians. The PLP did none of this but only benefited from a more positive world economy and the third phase of Atlantis left behind by the FNM.
Brave Davis talked about using the people's money as a "campaign war chest". Is he serious? Just weeks before the general elections of 2007, the PLP hired many hundreds of persons in the government and signed more than $80 million worth of contracts that were not provided for in the budget. The criterion for getting a job was that you got your application from a PLP candidate. This is not the FNM way. If we wanted to use public funds for campaigning, we would not have announced publicly what we are doing for the Bahamian people, nor would we have provided constituency allowances to every MP, FNM and PLP, including some $250,000 in our budgets to be directed in their constituencies. We are not like them.
Mr. Davis says the training and hiring program should last 2 years and not 1 year. He says this is electioneering. Well, then why did the PLP hire the hundreds of workers as they did just before election for only six months? Why did they give out scores of employment letters to people to show up to government ministries and agencies, including NIB, without even properly providing for their funding or accommodations? Indeed, some such persons were still showing up to government offices days and weeks after the general elections in 2007. Why did they promote hundreds of police officers just days before election? Why did they promote scores of prison officers just days before elections, some of whom were not even qualified for the promotions? Electioneering is the PLP's forte. But we are not like them and what we do will be in keeping with our practice of transparency and accountability.
"Lil" Brave says Bahamians have short memories. However, we say, their memories are not so short that they have forgotten the scandalous, do nothing, indecisive, $800 million in additional borrowing and cannot account for it. This was the all-talk-no-action PLP government. They will not go backward. The Bahamian people will not forget those who agreed to sell BTC to a shell foreign company whose ownership remains in doubt. They will not forget how those who say they care failed to pay completely the Royal Oasis Workers, the Sea Hauler victims. They will not forget those who crushed Grand Bahama under the weight of their oppression, failing to provide proper relief when the hurricanes of 2004/2005 devastated the island. They will not forget those who said they cared about Bahamians and put them first but left straw vendors under a tent for an entire five years without laying a single block to rebuild the straw market. They will not forget those who did not build in five years a single school for our children. They will not forget those who did not improve the nation's infrastructure, hospitals or judiciary as the FNM has. They will not forget those who could not provide basic prescription drugs relief for our people. And they will not forget them for increasing a Business License fee for farmers by 900%. No, they will not forget that every man for himself government resulting in chaos and confusion.
Brave Davis' handlers told him that he needed to write more letters to up his profile. They should have told him that he should not do so by telling untruths or talking about things on which he and his party lack credibility. Bahamians will remember a budget that delivers jobs, business help and continuing relief. That is a fact that has the PLP and "Lil" Brave panicking.
Free National Movement
Lenders would not refinance Kerzner International's $2.3 billion loan because they did not think that Atlantis could co-exist alongside the Baha Mar development, The Nassau Guardian can reveal.
According to information obtained by this newspaper, the Ingraham administration believed that the lenders would have rolled the loan over were it not for the Cable Beach redevelopment.
In late November, Kerzner International Chairman and CEO Sir Sol Kerzner announced that his company was transferring ownership of Atlantis Resort and the One&Only Ocean Club to Canadian real estate conglomerate Brookfield Asset Management.
But the takeover agreement has not been made public.
On Friday, the Official Opposition renewed a demand for the government to make the details public.
Kerzner's ownership change comes as the Baha Mar development moves into full swing.
It is projected that Baha Mar will boost the economy and inject substantial revenue into the country over the next three years.
However, The Nassau Guardian understands that the government thinks the resort's long-term success is still unclear, partly because of its lack of a theme.
In comparison, the government sees Sol Kerzner as a detail-orientated man with well-marketed hotels and a vision.
As Kerzner executives were about to announce a $175 million debt-for-equity swap, The Nassau Guardian understands that the Ingraham administration felt that Brookfield was not the right fit for Atlantis due to the company's lack of experience in the hotel industry.
Brookfield is a global asset manager with approximately $150 billion in assets. Although Kerzner retains management control of the Paradise Island properties, The Nassau Guardian has learnt that its four-year management agreement can be terminated at any time if Brookfield brings on a new partner who wishes to change the company's direction, or if Kerzner does not meet growth benchmarks.
According to a source, Brookfield has sought a stamp tax reduction from the government, something the Ingraham administration is said to be considering.
The Nassau Guardian can also reveal that in late November, Brookfield had not formally applied for required government approvals although the deal was set for a 2011 year-end conclusion.
Up until the time of the announcement of the sale, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham advised that he had meetings with Brookfield and several meetings with Kerzner International to discuss the proposed transaction.
Brookfield agreed to continue with new investments of around $50 million per year, maintain the current employment levels of some 8,000 employees, and continue to market The Bahamas brand at existing levels.
The Guardian has learnt that the government views it as important to the country's economic stability that Kerzner International manages Atlantis and One&Only Ocean Club.
The arrangement made with Brookfield saved the properties from going into receivership.
The Nassau Guardian also understands that at the time of the announcement, the government was concerned that targets set by Brookfield for Kerzner under the management agreement would be difficult to achieve, and could lead to staff reductions at the properties.
However, both the prime minister and Sir Sol Kerzner have said the Paradise Island jobs are secure.
When he spoke in Parliament on the matter back in November, Ingraham also said it was "regrettable" that the Christie administration allowed Kerzner International's Paradise Island properties to be mortgaged to the extent of $2.3 billion -- mortgages which were held by lenders outside of The Bahamas.
The latest jobless figures on Grand Bahama from the Department of Statistics reveals that 18.6 [percent] of the labor force on the island is unemployed. Freeport is the financial nerve center of Grand Bahama. Grand Bahama's over-all economic success is contingent to Freeport's success.
If Freeport struggles, then the entire island struggles. In July 2013, U.S. President Barack Obama announced that the Great Recession,which commenced in late 2008, had finally come to an end.
It was America's recession which had The Bahamas' economy reeling during the greater portion of the Ingraham administration.
Interestingly, New Providence's jobless rate is pegged at 16 percent. Despite the imminent opening of the multibillion-dollar Baha Mar Resort on Cable Beach, which has been touted to change the tourism landscape of The Bahamas, New Providence's double digit jobless rate bears all the hallmarks of a recession.
Abaco's jobless rate is 20 percent. New Providence has been fortunate to have Atlantis resort on Paradise Island, which has created thousands of steady jobs.
Freeport can make no such boast in its inconsistent tourism sector.
While Freeport's financial malaise was made more acute by the great recession, it would be a grave mistake to suggest that the former was precipitated by the latter. Truth be told, Freeport's stubborn recession may have had its genesis during the 9/11 attacks on America. The economy underwent further deterioration in 2004, when Hurricanes Frances and Jeanne slammed into Grand Bahama, causing the closure of the Royal Oasis Resort and Casino, which in turn resulted in over 1,000 job losses.
Freeport has never recovered from this significant blow to its economy.
And its severe economic fallout continues. There are well-founded rumors circulating through Freeport that an office supply company laid off about 13 of its staff. To the best of my finite knowledge, this was never reported in the press. I am also hearing rumors that a prominent welding and fabricating firm laid off some of its staff, and that a popular eatery is about to permanently close its doors. There are also rumors that job terminations are looming at a large construction company.
While this might sound like a broken record, Freeport's economy needs urgent addressing.
The nation's supposedly second city has been in the doldrums now for 14 years. Government and GBPA stakeholders must roll up their sleeves and figure out a solution to rescue Freeport - a city that is clearly now on life support. How much longer must Grand Bahamians suffer?
- Kevin Evans
Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell yesterday cautioned the business community against vilifying and degrading immigration officers in the conduct of their duties.
"It is important that a signal is sent out from the highest levels to the immigration officers who work the front lines along with other law enforcement agencies in the defense of this country that they are appreciated by the government for the work that they do," said Mitchell, without pointing specifically to any business person.
"The department has the support of the minister and the government in the lawful conduct and exercise of their work. The department does a good job given the resources and manpower available to them."
Mitchell said he was constrained to issue his statement in light of the statements emanating from certain representatives of the business community "who appeared to have vilified and degraded officers of the Department of Immigration in the lawful exercise of their functions and especially the enforcement exercise executed by those officers last week".
"I think it is always wise to utter judicious statements when dealing with the exercise of powers of law enforcement officers in the absence of proof that their behavior was unlawful," he said.
"In this regard, I wish to draw particular attention to the proper way the behavior of the department was described by Robert Sands of Baha Mar who said that at all times the immigration officers were respectful while doing their jobs.
"This is in stark contradistinction to other spokesmen from the business community who having admitted that they did not know the facts of what transpired with regard to the immigration checks, went on to berate and defame the department, the officers and their actions.
"This is indeed regrettable."
Last Wednesday, immigration officers escorted a foreign employee off the Atlantis property in error, sparking further concerns that the government's new immigration policy is too aggressive.
The American woman works with marine mammals at the resort.
Director of Immigration William Pratt admitted the woman was brought in by mistake.
He told The Nassau Guardian the woman had her work permit application refused in February, but he said the refusal was being appealed.
Pratt admitted that the department had misplaced the appeal.
George Markantonis, the president and managing director at the mega resort, said foreign workers awaiting the renewal of their work permit applications is not uncommon. He condemned the "heavy-handed behavior" of at least two officials from the Department of Immigration.
"We are dealing with this as privately as possible with the relevant authorities, but I can tell you we are extremely upset," he said. "It is the heavy-handed behavior in front of tourists that is extremely unprofessional."
Mitchell noted that immigration officers have a dangerous job to do.
"Morale is low in the department that was neglected over the last five years," he said.
"It is not worthy of us as a people then to reward hard working officers with denunciations without at first knowing the facts of what transpired and even then speaking with discretion and decorum."
Now that the general election has been concluded, the average Bahamian must not and should not expect the ushering in of "heaven on earth". The challenges which confront the Christie administration are exceedingly great but I am more than persuaded that they will be overcome, where possible, and managed effectively where they cannot be totally eradicated.
Perry Christie, a lifelong friend, and his team have a rocky road ahead. The expectations of most Bahamians have been heightened and crystallized by electoral hype and promises. No one governmental initiative will ever be able to eradicate crime and the fear of crime. Already we have recorded some seven alleged homicides since the advent of the Christie administration.
Some deluded political pundits and their half-baked cronies have "blamed" the incoming Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) administration for these alleged homicides. Crime exists within the mind and ability of all of us but the distinction between law-abiding people and the actual criminals is simple. The latter acts out his/her inclinations. The rest of us either walk away or resort to conflict resolution.
Far too many of our younger people have been born and reared in hostile and debilitating circumstances. Mind you, these are not absolute excuses for anti-social behavior but they do not help the stark reality. A large number of our youth, especially, the males, tend to drop out of or abandon the educational system for whatever reasons.
As a result they are "dumb" and "un-trainable" in far too many cases. They end up following the life of a delusional thug and/or druggie. Society then pays a heavy price. Low income levels and menial jobs are the order of the day. This results in literal economic slavery and bogus personal goals. As a direct result, a majority of them are relegated to the life of serfdom/slavery.
Over the past five years, due to international financial circumstances and the cockeyed economic response by the outgoing Free National Movement (FNM) administration and its seemingly autocratic former leader, the Bahamian middle class has been decimated. We now have the phenomenon of the working poor. Thousands of homes have been foreclosed on and even more people now lead hopeless and non-productive lives. Many have been forced to beg, rob and steal. Some have had to resort to actual prostitution.
Of course, the FNM and its rejected leadership, across the board, cannot be entirely blamed for the prevailing economic and social conditions within the nation; but they sure assisted, greatly, in jacking us all up. Hubert Ingraham, God bless his soul, has now ridden off into the Abaconian sunset and left all of us holding "papa's brand new bag". That bag, such as it is, alas, is empty.
Most of us are now on the road to serfdom and will be picking peas out of shaving cream for a long time. Those rejects of the FNM will "survive" as most of them are professionals or business persons who have allegedly accumulated big money during their tenure in office. Some of them use to live amongst us, now they live behind high gates. Others always had access to money and the rest would have made business alliances and connections since being in office. There will also be one or two who will immediately move into the private sector in industries and trades which they once regulated.
The Christie administration must deal with three issues immediately: crime and its causes; massive unemployment and under-employment; and, of course, the jump starting of the economy. None of these issues will be a cakewalk and the prime minister must join with all stakeholders and reasonable Bahamians, across the political divide, in coming up with viable solutions.
These are "the best of times but also the most challenging of times" and the partisan nonsense must be stopped and stopped now. The issues, I submit, are all about bread and butter. Yes, there are other challenges but bread and butter ones are key.
I invite Dr. Bernard Nottage (PLP-Bains Town & Grants Town), the minister of national security, to call a conclave within the next 30 days of all relevant parties at a secure retreat to hash out all important matters related to his portfolio -- no grandstanding and certainly no political posturing.
The clergy, members from civil society, law enforcement agencies and others should huddle down at Gambier or Adelaide for a day or two away from the daily distractions. There is no need to go over to Atlantis or over to any other "big name" resort. In fact, I suggest the use of the facilities of small Bahamian hoteliers and restaurants.
Relative to unemployment, the minister of labour, the minister of finance and the minister of immigration should also hold a retreat with stakeholders and others to flesh out workable solutions to the vexing problem of unemployment and under-employment.
Bahamians, once again, must come first in our own nation. Where foreign investors need to be courted, so be it but local entrepreneurs must be offered the exact same incentives and access to capital -- no more, no less. Slack immigration and migration of illegal persons must be addressed and stopped within the next 60 days.
As a person who believes in reconciliation and consensus, I am not prone to call for the appointment of commissions of inquiry, but they must be convoked to investigate many of the acts done by the FNM while in office. No, we don't need a witch hunt, but the chips must fall where they may. Too much "funny business" may have gone down over the past five years and we must get to the bottom of it if we are to get off the road to serfdom.
Christie and his administration, if they do the right things, may well remain in power for the next decade. If they fail, however, they know, by now, that the Bahamian electorate has awoken from its long slumber and will not tolerate slackness, nepotism and gross neglect from our political leaders. If they slip, history will not be too kind to them.
To God then, in all things, be the glory.
- Ortland H. Bodie Jr.
The four-year management agreement Kerzner International has entered into with the new owners of the Atlantis Resort requires the company to meet revenue standards in the first year of the contract that it last achieved in 2008, The Nassau Guardian has confirmed.
The revenue targets have important implications for job security at Paradise Island.
If Kerzner International, as the manager of the Paradise Island properties, fails to meet those targets then jobs could be threatened, The Guardian understands.
In the second year of the management agreement, Kerzner is required to hit an even higher revenue threshold, The Guardian confirmed.
The management agreement calls for Kerzner officials to meet gross earnings of $215 million at the end of the first year of the contract, according to a source.
The new owners also require Kerzner to bring in earnings of $235 million thereafter.
Kerzner's current EBITDA is $175 million. This important revenue benchmark is calculated by looking at earnings before the deduction of interest expenses, taxes, depreciation, and amortization.
Under the agreement, which has not yet been made public, Kerzner International will receive two percent of the company's gross revenue for managing Atlantis and the One&Only Ocean Club, The Guardian confirmed.
Canadian asset management firm Brookfield Asset Management was previously one of Kerzner International's lenders and has become the new owners of the Paradise Island properties.
On Monday, The Nassau Guardian reported that in late November, government had concerns that jobs would be at risk if those high revenue thresholds are not met, despite public assurances from Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Kerzner International officials that there is no need for staff to fear job losses.
In November, Ingraham provided details on the deal -- one of the most significant developments for the country's largest private employer -- but there are other crucial components connected to the sale which are only now coming to light.
According to a well-placed source, the government intentionally withheld key parts of the deal from the public so as not to create 'panic' among the more than 7,000 employees on Paradise Island.
For instance, The Nassau Guardian confirmed that some managers at Kerzner have shares in the parent company that amount to $11 million, the value of which government officials fear could decline significantly due to the takeover.
It is also understood that Brookfield can terminate its four-year management contract with Kerzner at any time, subject to a penalty fee, if it brings on a new partner or if Kerzner does not meet its revenue targets.
The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) has called on the Ingraham administration to make public the management agreement between Kerzner and Brookfield in order to put staff layoff concerns to rest.
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney has also demanded answers.
As he spoke to the House of Assembly on the Atlantis ownership change in November, the prime minister said he received assurances that the jobs at Kerzner's Paradise Island properties would remain secure.
As widely reported, Brookfield has agreed to exchange $175 million in debt for Atlantis, One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island and One&Only Palmilla in Mexico. The deal came after months of speculation over Kerzner's delays in restructuring its $2.3 billion mortgage, of which the Paradise Island properties were held as collateral.
The use of the Bahamian holdings as collateral for debt held overseas was approved during the Christie administration.
In November, Ingraham criticized the PLP leader for allowing the properties to be held as security for international creditors.
Baha Mar is finalizing the design and physical works behind a 2,000-square-foot convention center, with the aim of having it finished quickly so it can serve as a training and recruitment center.
The $2.6 billion mega resort has enlisted local contractors to perform the appraisal, Guardian Business has learned.
While in the past Baha Mar has indicated the possibility of buildings such as the convention center going to a local contractor, no commitments have been made at this time.
The massive construction site is indeed in a constant state of change, according to Robert Sands, Baha Mar's vice president of administrative and external affairs. Five cranes now dominate the skyline as skeletal foundations continue to rise. The biggest milestone for the development is achieving an elevation of 100 feet on the casino hotel by July 1. But the convention center, attached to this hotel on a superstructure, is significant in the sense that it provides "physical space" for the employees of Baha Mar.
"Until all of the hotels are ready to be occupied, we can't wait until the physical structure is occupied to begin advanced training," Sands explained. "We need advanced teams on a ramp up basis before the fourth quarter of 2014. It is very likely that the convention center will be completed in advance of that, perhaps six months."
While the actual designs are not ready to be revealed, the convention center is expected to be 2,000 square feet, including three ballrooms, one of which can convert into a 2,000 seat entertainment venue. This area can be used for concerts and sports events, Sands told Guardian Business.
"We know the fundamentals. Now we are finalizing the designs to accomplish those parameters. And then as soon as that is done, in not too short order, we can give timing and expectation for completion," he added.
The Baha Mar executive said the convention business will be "substantial" for the mega resort. As a means of comparison, Atlantis continues to rely on group, convention and corporate business as a much needed base to maximize profits and boost occupancy. Special events are also significant for the Paradise Island resort to prop up slower periods.
Sands felt Baha Mar should be able to benefit from corporations and events from both the West and East. The resort is being funded by the Export-Import Bank of China, and built by China State Construction America.
Until the resort is ready for opening in December 2014, he told Guardian Business it should be used "to deal with the volumes of recruitment". Baha Mar is expected to create thousands jobs for Bahamians.
"This makes the ideal location to do this work as a start-up operation," he said. "We need large spaces for this to happen."
Last month, Guardian Business received an exclusive tour of the construction site.
Foundational work, described as the most challenging stage of construction, is well advanced, particularly the massive superstructure on which both the casino hotel and convention center will rest.
China State Construction has poured more than 2,500 yards of concrete over a long, continuous period.
Foundational work for the other properties, including the Rosewood, Morgan's Hotel and Grand Hyatt, has also begun on the 550-acre construction site.
Nearly 400 Chinese workers are currently on-site, said Tiger Wu, the vice president of China State Construction America. This number will begin to swell every month.
Around 2,000 Chinese workers will be on-site between June and February of next year.
Atlantis President & Managing Director George Markantonis has been awarded the Caribbean Hotel and Tourism Association's highest honor, having been named Hotelier of the Year.
The announcement was made during opening festivities for the Caribbean Travel Marketplace held in Montego Bay, Jamaica.
The prestigious award recognizes excellence in Caribbean hotel operations by demonstrating superior achievement in a variety of categories, including resort operations, innovative management, and community affairs. This is the 33rd year the award, presented at the Caribbean Travel Marketplace, has been handed out and Markantonis' first award from the association.
In accepting the prestigious award, Markantonis underscored the very important role Atlantis, as The Bahamas' largest private employer, plays in its tourism product and its economy overall.
"We know that for every job we create in The Bahamas, the trickle effect is another 1.4 jobs in the local economy, so we take our responsibility very seriously... We know that when we catch a cold, everyone else gets pneumonia - and it's very important for us to make sure that we stay on track," he said.
Caribbean Travel Marketplace, which is put on by the Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association, is among the region's leading tourism-focused conferences. The two-day gathering officially got underway Sunday, January 12th, and brought together hundreds of tourism professionals from across the region.
At last count, the conference had attracted 78 international buyer companies from 15 countries and 206 supplier companies from 27 countries.
Last year's Travel Marketplace, which was held at Atlantis, saw more than 12,700 meetings with delegates from some 22 countries.
Atlantis has hosted the Caribbean Travel Marketplace three times. Markantonis is the third hotelier from The Bahamas to win the coveted award, following George Myers in 1980 and Stephen Sawyer, current SVP and GM with responsibility for the Royal Towers at Atlantis, in 1997.
John Locke said, "I have always thought the actions of men are the best interpreters of their thoughts." The gambling referendum has long gone and Bahamians now find themselves in a quandary. According to Sebas Bastian, CEO of Island Luck, web shops are losing business and many young...
Amidst looming uncertainty about the fate of Atlantis and the One&Only Ocean Club, several Bahamian businesses voiced their concerns on the situation.
"We are concerned and we are watching it, definitely," said Linda Lam, co-owner and co-manager of Mike's Chinese Custom Tailoring.
Mike's has supplied Atlantis with uniforms and other related services for over 10 years, Lam said.
"We do quite a bit of work for Atlantis, with the uniforms and everything, so we keep a little bit busy with that.
She said so far, fears of Atlantis' fate has not hampered business.
"I don't know whether anything will happen in the near future, but right now we're still getting work from them like we usually do," she said, adding, "We can only hope for the best."
Erica Collie, a representative from Seahorse Sailing Adventures, located on Paradise Island, also voiced her concerns.
"We're just sitting, watching and waiting to see what happens, as is the rest of The Bahamas," she said. "It would affect us," she added.
Seahorse Sailing caters to locals and tourists alike, with such activities as snorkeling and sailing.
"We are just a little nervous about it, but I guess that's business, things happen for a reason," she said.
Janice Saunders, director at Majestic Tours, said she is not concerned "because they (the owners) won't let it fall apart". Majestic Tours, said Saunders, which offers tours of Nassau and Paradise Island, has been receiving business from Atlantis since "day one". "And before that, Resorts International," she said.
"Somebody will have to come to the rescue if Mr. Kerzner totally disappears, but I don't think he'll disappear. I don't think anything is going to happen with Atlantis, they will run the operation as is, they can't fold it up. Nothing [is going to] change. Life goes on; business has to go on."
Yesterday The Nassau Guardian reported that Brookfield Asset Management canceled its offer to exchange approximately $175 million of debt for ownership of Kerzner International's Bahamian and Mexican properties, throwing into limbo Atlantis and Ocean Club, as well as thousands of jobs at those Paradise Island properties.
The decision came after a group of senior Kerzner creditors took legal action against the Canadian asset management firm, alleging that Brookfield had negotiated a "sweetheart deal" that would negatively impact the interests of other lenders.
Under that deal, Kerzner would have entered a four-year agreement to manage Atlantis and a 15-year agreement to manage Ocean Club.
The arrangements associated with the takeover of Kerzner International's Paradise Island properties also called for the new owners to refinance Kerzner's $2.5 billion loan within the next two years.
But the legal action by the senior lenders led to Brookfield's pull-out.