Member of Parliament for St. Anne’s and head of the Public Accounts Committee Hubert Chipman said while he does not know how much the government spends or has spent on trips to China, and despite having made inquires about the government’s expenditure on trips before, the government’s efforts in China over the last two years have not borne fruit.
“The Bahamian people don’t know that cost,” he said yesterday to Guardian Business. “Many contingencies that have gone to China... we seem to just jump on the plane and go to China with no results.”
Chipman’s comments came after a government contingent recently traveled to Hong Kong to assess the operations of Chow Tai Fook Enterprises (CTFE).
On Friday, Prime Minister Perry Christie made a series of announcements during a speech to members of the Bahamas Hotel and Tourism Association, that posits the sale of the beleaguered Baha Mar property to CTFE a foregone conclusion.
CTFE is pushing forward a schedule to partially open the mega-resort by the second quarter of 2017.
“The proof will be in the eating,” said Chipman. “How long can the Bahamian people be promised that this will happen and that will happen? People have lost faith in this government.”
A government contingent including Attorney General Allyson Maynard-Gibson, Senior Advisor to the Prime Minister Sir Baltron Bethel, Gaming Board Secretary Dennis Martin and Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe headed to Hong Kong on Thursday for a series of meetings and to “take a look at their operations”, according to Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.
CTFE is a conglomerate built by Hong Kong billionaire and Macau gaming investor Cheng Yu-tung.
Last Monday, Wilchcombe revealed that the government had only recently received CTFE’s proposal to purchase the resort, along with a list of proposed operators that the Hong Kong-based conglomerate was eyeing to run the casino.
“We will be assessing the systems that they have in place. Again, it should expose us to how they have made their organization very successful,” Wilchcombe told Guardian Business.
The Nassau Guardian
Published December 5, 2016