Phil Ruffin’s Big Mouth

Tuesday 11th, September 2012 / 08:41 Published by
Phil Ruffin

Phil Ruffin photo by the Nassau Guardian

Bahamians get quite testy when foreigners make public comments on  politics in The Bahamas.

Earlier this year, when Haitian President Michel Martelly urged people of Haitian descent in The Bahamas to vote for the party that “has their best interest at heart”, there was an uproar by the public as many felt that was a muffled endorsement of the FNM.

Last week, billionaire investor Phil Ruffin made the same mistake when a Nassau Guardian reporter asked why he never eyed investments under the former Ingraham administration.

Ruffin also revealed that he would not mind purchasing the Atlantis Resort if it were ever placed on the market by its new owner, Brookfield.

Brookfield quickly issued a statement to the press saying they had no intention of selling.

During an interview, Ruffin called himself  “A Perry man” and said the Free National Movement (FNM) was never his favorite party because he felt that former PM and FNM leader at the time, Hubert Ingraham, never liked him.

“As far as the PLP and the FNM, I’m on Perry’s side,” Ruffin told The Nassau Guardian.  “I think he is very good for The Bahamas.”

Ruffin originally entered The Bahamas under the first Ingraham administration, and with the help of his then attorney (Perry Christie) purchased the Crystal Palace and the Nassau Beach Hotel.

Ruffin disappeared from the Bahamian scene after Perry Christie became Prime Minister and convinced him to sell his Cable Beach properties to the Izmirlian group, whose multi-billion-dollar Baha Mar project is now in full swing.

The Cable Beach properties were desperately in need of capital injection when the Izmirlians purchased them, and Ruffin’s casino had owed the government millions of dollars in casino taxes.

The Ministry of Finance later confirmed that in 2005 the Crystal Palace Casino had $22.4 million in outstanding taxes, but the settlement of the arrears were apparently made part of the Baha Mar development deal and Ruffin’s sale of his hotels.

Ruffin is widely viewed as a controversial figure in The Bahamas as some believe he skirted on casino taxes that he owed.

Ruffin owns Treasure Island in Las Vegas, and Forbes magazine placed his net worth at $2.4 billion.

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