|SO CLOSE, AND YET|
The project has now entered receivership in the Bahamas, a country that doesn't even have proper bankruptcy laws that might allow an orderly restructuring of a project this massive.
This project just 25% the size of Aquis. Now sits empty, rotting in the tropical sun, receiving NO maintenance.
And like all business collapses, the "real" story is now starting to percolate out of the court filings.
The first problem? The Export-Import Bank of China (CEXIM), which provided the bulk of the finance, demanded in their loan agreement that the Chinese builder, China State Construction Engineering Corp. (CSCE), could NEVER be sacked. No matter what.
The root of the collapse is now known to have been the shoddy construction works done by CSCE, who never before have built this kind of resort. The poor quality and workmanship were starting to show as the buildings neared completion. In the first test of the fire suppression system hundreds of leaks damaged large areas of completed ceiling spaces when first charged with water. And hotel representatives, assured they were getting five-star quality, were rejecting the buildings after their first inspection.
In an email between Chinese subcontractors accidentally provided to the court, one chided two of his staff for using cheap, unapproved materials and fittings. The email said "What's wrong with you two! You can't fake things in such an obvious way! You're going to get yourselves in trouble! If you want to do this, you must be careful".
And this project is just 25% the size of Aquis. Did we say that already?
So damaging has been this experience for the Bahamian government, their own credit rating has been slashed to just above junk status. After tearing down their previous convention centre in anticipation of the Baha Mar-promised facility, they were forced to borrow heavily to finish the centre to avoid further damage to their convention business.
And to think, this Chinese project DIDN'T promise the local rubes a rectangular stadium or theatre! The scoundrels!
The collapse of this project is seen as a drag overall on the Bahamian tourism market.
Beware of LNP politicians bearing gifts.