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News Article
Cancellation of Mayaguana joint venture a bad idea

Dear Editor,

The Bahamas government's re-negotiation and cancellation of the 50/50 Mayaguana Joint Venture Agreement with the I-Group made little business and economic sense. It was short-sighted and damaging to the developers, the residents of Mayaguana and the people of The Bahamas, in broad macro-economic terms.
I have been involved in a professional capacity in joint venture business structures encompassing various legal and economic jurisdictions - the Middle East, North Africa, Europe and the Americas. Multimillion-dollar projects ranged from hotel development, consortium banks, barite distribution (drilling mud), to name a few. The JV structure allows both parties to share the burden of the project as well as the resulting profits. No one party can make all of the decisions for the development of the business alone. The former chairman of the Hotel Corporation, George Smith, recently outlined in The Nassau Guardian the highlights of the Bahamas government's 50/50 JV structure with the I -Group. To describe that transaction as anything different from a pure joint venture agreement is nonsense.
I applauded the PLP government at the time they inked the original transaction with the I-Group. To my knowledge, it represented the first time that a government of The Bahamas altered the traditional structures and approach of cementing foreign direct investment (FDI) for touristic development in the country. Traditionally, we extended concessions and land at favorable terms and hoped for the best. The Mayaguana JV was an innovative approach to broaden Bahamian participation in touristic development, shift the focus of economic activity and thus jobs to remote areas of the country and at last, to have an opportunity to share in the future profitability of project development.
Bahamians of all political stripes share my view that "big ideas" have to be adopted by our political leaders in the granting of concessions and land for touristic development.
In his provocative and timely book, 'Is It Really Better In The Bahamas... For Bahamians', Dr. Johnny Rodgers stated, "The time is now long overdue for our leaders to undergo a paradigm shift in their archaic, colonial mindset. Our government must insist on joint ventures when foreigners want to invest here. Just imagine if Atlantis was part of a joint venture."
Andrew Allen, in a December 2005 Tribune article opined, "It seems reasonable since Sands (Sir Stafford), to have expected his trade-off of land and licenses for jobs and investment to have matured and evolved where local authorities can have a more proactive and leadership role in touristic development".
FNM Carmichael candidate, Senator Darron Cash's "My Ten Cents" contribution in the March 30, 2012 Nassau Guardian issue, was "stronger emphasis on Bahamian ownership in tourism needed". Any perusal of Senator Cash's loan portfolio at BDB will tell him that to accomplish this involves more than simply advancing a businessperson in Betsy Bay, Mayaguana funds for a bed and breakfast boutique hotel. It would be doomed to failure unless complemented by a major investment in infrastructure and additional amenities to generate market demand; as envisioned in the Mayaguana 50/50 JV Bahamas government/I-Group structure.
The government's seeming ambivalence has hurt this project's success. The Prime Minister himself is on record as saying he had no confidence in the transaction, irrespective of the I-Group having sunk over $40 million at the time in a remote area of our Bahamas.
The current chairman of the Hotel Corporation, Michael Scott, was even more negatively subjective in his commentary on the JV, in which his language was silly, emotive and unprofessional. The country expects that the appointment of important public corporation directors is made as much for their business acumen and etiquette as their political loyalties. Its indicative of a degree of commercial naivete when leaders in government have little concern how their actions and commentary affect markets.
There have been no sensible business or economic arguments from the government for canceling the 50/50 JV structure in Mayaguana. Minister Vanderpool-Wallace whom I have great respect for raised the philosophical argument that the government should not be both partner and regulator.
That makes no sense in the light of the government's equity interest in the Arawak Cay Port and Heineken Brewery - two entities that both require strong government oversight.
Many of our rural island communities face extraordinary challenges in their efforts to significantly improve their economies in terms of personal incomes, job creation, average wages and strong tax bases.
The Mayaguana JV structure was the ideal vehicle to facilitate the expansion of a major economic development project of significant scale in the remote southern Bahamas. Anyone now trying to attract investors to Mayaguana from usually fickle capital sources will always be faced with the hurdle, "Why should I put my money, when the Government of The Bahamas walked away from an economically impactful project in their own back yard?"
Local investment advisor Ken Kerr exuded optimism in stating how it was a major confidence booster for investors to have the Government of The Bahamas as an equity player in the Arawak Cay Port. He was describing a project in the center of the city of Nassau.
It's even more crucial to have visible, strong government involvement, for investment markets to buy into putting money into the remote islands of The Bahamas.
There is no question that the Government of The Bahamas has missed a splendid opportunity to enhance economic development in rural Bahamas with the cancelation of the JV agreement with the I-Group. In spending an entire term in office to achieve relatively little with an amended agreement, they have sent the very chilling message to capital markets that if PM Ingraham is not the "daddy of the deal", the baby could end up on life support.

- Gary Christie

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News Article
Rolle: Better national training program needed

The Bahamas has to enact a comprehensive and extensive national training program to ensure that the employment drive for Baha Mar, when the mega resort complex is completed, draws skilled labor that can weather another economic downturn, the president of the Bahamas Chamber of Commerce told The Nassau Guardian yesterday.
Khaalis Rolle said the national training program that was enacted last year to assist some of the thousands of individuals, including more than 1,200 Atlantis workers, who lost jobs due to the recession, was a good start.
However, he insisted the training program this country will need to bring to fruition, in order to ensure Bahamians are able to find meaningful employment in the e ...

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News Article
Smith: Govt must step up in Atlantis deal

The government must "make its views known" in Kerzner International's restructuring, according to a former state minister of finance, with too many jobs and livelihoods at stake to just sit back and do nothing.
James Smith, the chairman of CFAL, said government officials should not directly intervene in the restructuring process. Instead, given the intimate market conditions, it needs to make some of its expectations and intentions known to protect Bahamian industry.
"Given the importance of the Kerzner property, in terms of employment, I think you would want to at least make your views known as to what should happen," he told Guardian Business. "In a small market like The Bahamas, everything is a monopoly. In a smaller country more intervention and oversight is needed from governments to ensure you are getting solutions that are appropriate. In this instance, you can't leave it to itself."
The statement from Smith comes shortly after a court filing by another lender in Kerzner International's $2.5 million mortgage debt that alleged a breach of contract and fiduciary duty by Brookfield Asset Management.
It was the second time Brookfield was sued by another Atlantis lender in recent months.
A spokesperson from Brookfield claims the court case "was dropped within a couple hours", although Guardian Business has so far been unable to confirm this statement.
With an election expected to be called within days, Smith added that the fate of the largest single private sector employer in the country must be properly addressed in the public forum.
"I think the government is caught in a dilemma," he continued, "in the sense that it has always put forward that it will leave the market to resolve its own issues."
The former state minister of finance said Brookfield "seems intent to keep the original deal", demonstrating the value of Paradise Island as an asset. The main concern, he explained, is how the property will be managed going forward. While it is in the country's interest to maintain it as a resort and tourism destination, this purpose may not match the long-term intentions of Kerzner's lenders.
"Sir Sol Kerzner was the embodiment of vision for Paradise Island," Smith told Guardian Business. "Everything revolved around him running the place. He connected with the local community. The new owners stepping in are essentially interested in real estate investment deals, not hotel operation. Can they bring to the table the skill set? The quick answer is no. I would be concerned about Atlantis as a future operation."
Last November, Sir Sol Kerzner, the chairman and CEO of Kerzner International, announced a transfer of ownership to Brookfield Asset Management. Under the debt-for-equity deal, Kerzner would have received a short-term management contract for Atlantis and a long-term agreement for The One&Only Ocean Club.
In January, the deal was derailed when Trilogy Portfolio Company, a group of lenders, filed legal action against Brookfield for orchestrating a "sweetheart deal". Later that month, the case was dropped when Brookfield withdrew the offer.
Since then, lenders returned to the bargaining table in an effort to reconcile the $2.5 billion in mortgage debt. Last Tuesday, ORIX Capital Market, another lender, filed its own legal action against Brookfield, alleging the Canadian firm was once again trying to push through essentially the same debt-for-equity swap after it "bought the cooperation" of other stakeholders.
The Bahamian government has yet to release a statement on these events.

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News Article
Minister Rolle Addresses Investment Promotion and High Unemployment

***image
2***Nassau, The Bahamas - Minister of State for
Investments the Hon. Khaalis Rolle, joined a panel of hospitality
leaders November 9, to address prospective investors about current
trends in The Bahamas to create jobs and expand the industry.

The
Caribbean Hotel Investment Conference and Operations Summit was held
November 8- 9 at the Atlantis Resort, where hotel executives gathered to
learn about the 1,000 careers growing in the hospitality and
service-orientation industry

...

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News Article
Baha Mar finalizes design of convention center

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.

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News Article
Bahamian films shine at BIFF

Bahamian films are making their mark at this year's Bahamas International Film Festival (BIFF).
Bahamian films "Bahamian Son" and "Black Moses" will open and close the festival, respectively, and are among a strong group of other Bahamian and international features, shorts and documentaries showcased at BIFF.
"As the Bahamas International Film Festival celebrates its 10th anniversary and The Bahamas celebrates its 40th year of independence, what better way to recognize these milestones than by having Bahamian films open and close the festival," said BIFF Founder and Executive Director Leslie Vanderpool.
"Film festivals were created for the independent filmmakers, and once again I am proud to present six strong films made in and about The Bahamas."

Andrew Melby's and Reggie Henderson's "Bahamian Son"
Andrew Melby's and Reggie Henderson's drama "Bahamian Son" has been selected as this year's Opening Night Film and will kick off the festival on December 5 at the Atlantis Theater.
"Bahamian Son" stars Constance Anderson ("Prodigal", "Profile of a Killer", "Gods' Green Earth"), Fatima Cocci ("Gods' Green Earth") and Leah Eneas ("Beneath the Blue").
The film is based on true events from the life of the film's writer Reggie Henderson. The story follows Kevin as he sets out to find his father, whom he hasn't seen in more than 30 years.
During his journey, Kevin examines his own life and the family he has built for himself, during his childhood, having grown up in the projects of North Minneapolis.
After Kevin tracks down his father, he travels to The Bahamas to meet him. What happens in The Bahamas opens Kevin's eyes to a world and a history he never knew existed. It is also another test of Kevin's beliefs regarding family, loyalty and what it means to be a son, a father and a man.
"We are ecstatic that our film 'Bahamian Son' will be headlining BIFF this year. Shooting a semi audio-biographical film was not easy, and it had its challenges, but we had wonderful support from the Bahamian community during the making of this film," said writer and producer of "Bahamian Son" Reggie Henderson.
"'Bahamian Son' may be a small indie film, but it's big in heart and content. The Bahamas is not just a resort destination, and it gives us great pleasure to share with the rest of the world what we've learned, which is The Bahamas is a beautiful island, rich in culture, history and tradition. What a great honor to be a part of BIFF!"

Travolta Cooper's "The Black Moses"
Travolta Cooper's documentary "The Black Moses" will have the honor of closing the 10th edition of the festival on December 8 at the Atlantis Theater.
Written and directed by Travolta Cooper ("Founding Fathers: Sir Stafford Sands" "A Miami Trail"), "The Black Moses" takes a look at the first black prime minister of The Bahamas. The film follows the popular folk 'moses mythology' as it was manifested through the life and times of Sir Lynden Pindling. It focuses on Pindling as he sets on a course to bring about social, political, and economic revolution to the British Bahama Islands.
The film features Golden Globe nominee Dennis Haysbert ("The Unit", "24", "Wreck-It Ralph") as "Black Moses" and commentary from the 18th Prime Minister of Canada Brian Mulroney, civil rights activist Jesse Jackson and many others.
"It's been quite a journey producing 'The Black Moses', and for our little movie to be bestowed such an honor is encouraging and inspiring. Our production team is ecstatic. And I am personally overjoyed because BIFF has undoubtedly played a role in my career as a filmmaker giving me opportunities and lifelong mentors like filmmaker Malcolm Lee and producer Jane Schoettle," said director of "The Black Moses" Travolta Cooper. "And now to be afforded such an honor in the same tradition of films such as 'The King's Speech', 'Juno' or 'Precious', which have closed this festival in the past, means more than I can express."

Vijay Subramanian "Happenstance"
Story of two different couples in a disturbed relationship. There is an incident that happens that brings the good person in both relationships together as one.

Valicia Rolle, Valene Rolle, Alexandria Smith, "The Dream"
Adam Samsun, an investor at Eden Investments, is possibly cheating on his wife. Delilah Samsun, Adam's wife, is possibly abusing Adam. For one of them, it is a dream, for the other it is a nightmare.

Mary Mazzio, "Contrarian: Mr. Templeton"
Legendary investor John Templeton ranks among the top investors of all time. Long before Warren Buffet and Peter Lynch were on the radar, thousands of people were trekking to Templeton's annual meetings - making Templeton the first true rock star investor.
Raised in a small rural town in Tennessee, Templeton was profoundly influenced by his mother who encouraged his sense of adventure from an early age. She also imbued in her son an indefatigable sense of optimism, which proved to be indispensable years later when John's father lost everything with a risky bet on cotton futures. Undeterred, John stayed on at Yale University (and later at Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar), paying his own way with the earnings from three jobs and nightly poker games.
John's resilience and his meteoric rise as an entrepreneur, investor and philanthropist can be attributed to lessons learned in his youth: think differently, live frugally, be willing to bet against conventional thinking, and, above all, be honest. This made Templeton unique, particularly on Wall Street.

Andrew Turley "It's Better In The Bahamas"
The film begins with an encounter. The filmmaker has traveled to The Bahamas to meet, for the first time, old friends of his grandparents. They are a Haitian-Bahamian family who arrived in New Providence over half a century ago. The filmmaker's self-narrative then withdraws from the plot and allows the members of the family to share themselves with the audience.
At the center is Marjorie, the filmmaker's grandmother's goddaughter, whose bright, ambitious and attractive personality shines through.
The film was made for the Social Sciences department at the University of Manchester, the United Kingdom. It explores anthropological themes of identity, migration, kinship and gender. However, its academic grounding does not prevent it from being a humorous and touching documentary.
BIFF 2013 kicks off on Thursday, December 5 to December 8 in Nassau and will run through December 9 to 13 in Eleuthera.
For the second consecutive year, BIFF will be coming to Harbour Island December 9-11 and Governor's Harbour December 11-13, showcasing a diverse presentation of films from around the world accompanied by a group of local and international filmmakers. For more information, please visit www.bintlfilmfest.com.

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News Article
Atlantis owners to refinance debt

The arrangements associated with the takeover of Kerzner International's Paradise Island properties call for the new owners to refinance Kerzner's $2.1 billion loan within the next two years, The Nassau Guardian has confirmed. Kerzner's failure to make payments relative to the loan prompted one of its lenders, Brookfield Asset Management, to take over Atlantis, the One&Only Ocean Club on Paradise Island, as well as its Mexican property.
There are growing concerns in the business community over the ownership change and the implications it could have for economic activity.
The Nassau Guardian understands that the government does not see Brookfield as a suitable fit for Atlantis.  The Canadian conglomerate has no experience in owning hotels; however, it has entered into a four-year agreement with Kerzner to manage Atlantis.
Amid lingering concerns about the implications of the ownership change, The Nassau Guardian has continued seeking details in the matter as many people wait to see whether the management agreement between Kerzner and Brookfield will be made public.
Kerzner had various lenders but Brookfield was the smallest.
According to a Guardian source, Chairman of Kerzner International Sir Sol Kerzner was blindsided in his months-long bid to keep the properties under the ownership of Kerzner International.
Sir Sol had reportedly been confident that he could prevent the takeover because he thought he had support of shareholders in his attempt to secure new funding.  However, board members out voted him.
It has also been suggested that he felt disappointed after he was unable to get the support of important investors.
Although Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Sir Sol have both said that the nearly 8,000 jobs on Paradise Island are not at risk, many employees are jittery over the development -- particularly as a formalized deal between Kerzner, as manager, and Brookfield, as owner, has not been made public.
The expectation is that Brookfield's immediate concern will be to sell the assets.
Earlier this week, The Nassau Guardian reported that job security on Paradise Island is tied to certain high revenue targets that Kerzner will be required to meet in an environment of ongoing global economic uncertainty.
It is understood that Brookfield expects that higher rates will help Kerzner achieve the new revenue targets.  The Ingraham administration believes that the former government erred when it allowed the Paradise Island properties to be used as collateral for mortgages held overseas.
Over the last several days, the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) has called on the government to come clean about the details of the Atlantis takeover and has asserted that jobs are at risk.
"The management agreement between Kerzner and the new owner can be terminated at any time with penalty and even requires Atlantis to increase profits by about 20 percent each year in an (environment) described by the prime minister as a time of global economic and financial uncertainty," DNA leader Branville McCartney said earlier.
Kerzner will not be able to meet these high targets unless staff cuts are made and operating costs are cut, McCartney believes.
Brookfield is taking over the Kerzner properties in a $175 million debt for equity swap.  Developments relating to the ownership change are being closely watched in many circles as Kerzner International is the country's largest private employer with an annual payroll of approximately $189 million.

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News Article
Reason in public debates

Dear Editor,
It was refreshing to hear your editor, Candia Dames, bring a balanced and rational perspective to the gaming issue against a backdrop of anti-white, anti-foreign hysteria on one of your radio shows.
It would appear that some people are stuck in a time warp and, 40 years later, are still blaming non-Bahamian investors and white people for this country's many failings.
Dames is correct that the pro-gaming lobby should address its grievances to the government, not the investor.
Foreign investors don't craft laws; governments do.
The view that hotels shouldn't be able to modernize gaming simply because Bahamians voted against allowing Bahamians to gamble is childish and vindictive.
Hotels must remain competitive if they are to succeed in this challenging economic environment and any attempt to stifle their growth (and ability to generate extra revenue and create more jobs) because of something they have no control over would be cutting off the nose to spite the face.
What would happen if Atlantis, which employs about 8,000 Bahamians, folded? Would black Bahamians, or any Bahamian for that matter, step in to fill the void?
- Athena Damianos

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News Article
PM: New work permit policy flexible

Prime Minister Perry Christie said he expects some business owners to say they can no longer operate in The Bahamas because of the government's impending changes to its immigration policy, and added that while the move will give Bahamians more jobs, the changes are not set in stone.
Christie said he has an open door policy for business owners and investors who have questions about the government's work permit policy or a legitimate reason why foreign workers should be hired over Bahamians in key areas.
Earlier this week, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Immigration Fred Mitchell said the government plans to stop granting work permits for maids, housekeepers and laborers within a year. He said that category makes up the bulk of work permit applications at the Department of Immigration. The government is also pledging greater scrutiny of work permits beyond domestic helpers and residential laborers.
Christie stressed that his government would not impose any policies that would derail economic growth and recovery. However, he said his administration is grappling with high unemployment while issuing thousands of work permits for jobs Bahamians can fill, which is the basis for the policy change.
"We know that we must do nothing to cause any kind of reduction, any kind of halt to the progress we are making," he told The Nassau Guardian yesterday. "We know that we are going to act responsibly, and so therefore it is not a question for us of intending to make decisions that are harmful to the economy or will cause the economy to go into a tailspin. That is something we know we will avoid because we must."
Christie welcomed public discourse on the work permit issue but said focus must be put on long term national development and ensuring Bahamians are involved in more aspects of the economy.
"It is good for the concerns to be expressed in the way they are being expressed," he said. "I expect some people to announce that they can no longer do business, but there comes a time in a country when I think a great effort has to be made to stimulate thought and reflection on where we ought to be going.
"We have an obligation that was based on the consultation we had with the Bahamian people who supported us to do our very best to integrate into meaningful positions in our economy as many Bahamians as we possibly can. And we know we must do it collaboratively and not imposing it upon people.
"To those areas where people have protested to me I will make the necessary inquires and if there is something we have to fix, I will fix it."
He added that those who have concerns over the policy should speak to him before making assumptions.
"We are partners and I would expect that if a minister of the government makes a particular point that they regard as harmful, if they are unaware of what he is intending by making the point, then they should speak to the minister or myself with a view of getting full clarification," he said when asked about concerns from the hotel sector.
After Mitchell's announcement, President and Managing Director at Atlantis George Markantonis said officials at the hotel are "very concerned" by the looming change. He said the current foreign staff complement at the hotel is "critical" to Paradise Island's success.
Robert 'Sandy' Sands, senior vice president of administration and external affairs at Baha Mar, called for more clarity on the work permit issue.
Democratic National Alliance (DNA) Leader Branville McCartney called the government's plans "extreme" and lacking in foresight.
Christie said he had a recent meeting with Markantonis, who outlined Atlantis' growth and contributions to the economy. He added that he did not think the impending work permit changes would harm Atlantis' operations.
The prime minister also acknowledged that there are legitimate concerns over delays in work permit processing. He said he promised to look into work permit delays for a particular restaurant franchise and see what resolution he could bring to the matter.

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News Article
PLP leader hits out at DNA over Atlantis takeover claims

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) leader Perry Christie yesterday downplayed an election threat from the Democratic National Alliance (DNA) and suggested that the new party is falling apart.
Christie's comments came as he hit out at the DNA's claims that he was in collusion with Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham to suppress details about the recent Atlantis takeover.
"Bahamians already know the DNA is not ready for the big time.  It has been a rough few weeks for [DNA Leader] Branville McCartney, whose party has been plagued by infighting, stumbles, accusations and counter-accusations," said Christie at a press conference at PLP headquarters on Farrington Road.
He said the DNA is "self-destructing even before it's out of the gate".
Christie also refuted McCartney's claims that he (Christie) was present at a Cabinet meeting called on the eve of the Atlantis ownership change announcement.
"The DNA states that I was in the Cabinet room with the prime minister and his Cabinet to discuss the Brookfield [takeover] of Atlantis. I was not. Let me say it again, though, in case the slower minds in the DNA need it to be repeated: I was not in that room," he said.
Christie said it was his party that first called on the government to reveal details of the Brookfield/Atlantis deal. He added that he only knew of the ownership change "five minutes" before the prime minister made his public announcement last November.
"I learned that the government had approved the [transfer of ownership] of Atlantis to a Canadian hedge fund on the same day as the Bahamian public. My response was concern about the security of Bahamian jobs, and it continues to be a matter of serious concern for me.
"Immediately after the government made its announcement, I called on the FNM to make the deal public, and we've been repeating this call ever since."
He reiterated his party's plea for the management agreement between Kerzner International and Brookfield Asset Management, a Canadian conglomerate, to be made public.  But there is no evidence that a final agreement is actually in place.
"The truth is, Bahamians do not trust the FNM to fight for them at the bargaining table.  The government assured Bahamians their jobs were secure, but Bahamians are smart; they're asking if those assurances are only good until the elections.
"Hubert and Branville, FNM and FNM light, listen to me, for the many thousands whose jobs are at stake, and for their families, this is not a game," he said.
Kerzner Chairman Sir Sol Kerzner announced in November that Brookfield was taking over Atlantis, the One&Only Ocean Club and Kerzner's property in Mexico in a $175 million debt-for-equity swap.
Kerzner International will continue to manage the Paradise Island properties under a four-year contract, which The Nassau Guardian understands can be terminated at any time, subject to a penalty.
The management contract also requires Kerzner to meet gross earnings of $215 million at the end of the agreement's first year, a target the company last met in 2008.
The Guardian has also been informed that there are worries Kerzner could reduce staff or cut operating costs to meet those revenue targets. However, Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham and Sir Sol have both publicly said the nearly 8,000 jobs at the Paradise Island properties are safe.

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