August 23, 2013
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Works Philip Davis plans to meet with negotiators from Baha Mar today in an effort to reach agreement on the government's financial obligation for roadwork associated with the Cable Beach project.
"At that time there will be a more definitive protocol crafted to reach a resolution on the matter," Davis said.
The government's desire to pay Baha Mar less than what the developer is asking for has brought criticism from the Free National Movement and former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham.
Davis has said if the government accepts Baha Mar's original proposition, it would be obligated to pay up to $59 million for the construction of one mile of the rerouted West Bay Street and related infrastructure.
Davis has also said the government wants an equitable agreement with the company.
"What Baha Mar has represented is that two miles of road with utilities and infrastructure has cost $118.8 million," Davis said in the House of Assembly earlier this month.
"That's what they said, which means that we are paying somewhere like $59 million for one mile. That's the proposition now. So should we not pause and look at it?"
Davis was responding to Ingraham, who suggested that the Christie administration's haggling over what it owes Baha Mar for the redeveloped West Bay Street is an "embarrassing situation" that could cause "unimaginable" harm to the reputation of The Bahamas.
Government technical experts have reportedly assessed the value of the Baha Mar roadwork at around $58 million. Under the agreement that the government has with Baha Mar, 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, according to Davis.
He said if the figure is less than $70 million the government would only be obligated to pay 50 percent. Davis also gave reporters an update on repairs on a stretch of the Airport Gateway Project that was dug up by a vandal shortly after it had been paved.
He said crews have been working overtime on weekends and at night to complete the repairs by September.
Davis said the contractor's insurer has agreed to cover the losses but he does not know if it will pay for the full amount of the damage.
"It was sufficient comfort for the contractor to get the work underway and to try to complete [it] within a reasonable amount of time," Davis said.
Thomas Rigby was charged with causing more than $1.2 million in damage to the road.
The road worker admitted to the charge on August 8, and said that he dug up the highway because he was upset that his bosses had not paid him.
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