The Minnis administration will have to revisit its fiscal projections after announcing a decision to purchase the Grand Lucayan resort complex, Press Secretary Anthony Newbold said yesterday.
“It has to revisit its fiscal projections and all of the expectations that it had,” Newbold said.
“As you said, it’s been likened to a hurricane. That was one of the things the minister of finance said, ‘Please, God don’t send us a hurricane.’
“Everything is going to have to be revamped and looked at in those terms.
“This is something that the government didn’t expect it would have to do.
“So here it is, there is this hotel that’s sitting out there, couple thousand people not working; we have to get involved.
“So, the government gets involved. The prime minister said we have to buy this hotel. Well, everything that goes with that now has to be factored against what was planned for the fiscal health of the nation over the next 12 months.”
When he presented the 2018/2019 budget in May, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said the government’s budget was about “putting an end to past practices of fiscal mismanagement” and charting a course for reducing the burden of government debt and exercising prudent management of taxpayer dollars.
While Newbold could not say how much the government will buy the hotel for, The Guardian understands that the final sale price remains at $65 million, the same price Hutchison Whampoa quoted Paul Wynn.
Wynn, a Canadian real estate developer, had signed a letter of intent to buy the property but he later pulled out of the deal.
He said the final sale price was too high.
Wynn also said that purchasing the property would have required him to ask the government for too much and contended that the best thing for Grand Bahama might be for the government to purchase the property.
He said it could take between $110 million and $120 million to open the doors of the Grand Lucayan to guests.
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis said that government will move ahead with buying the resort as it is the right thing to do.
But former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham said it would be an all-around bad idea for the government to buy the property.
“The government has a variety of tools in its tool kit to ensure that it does not have to purchase that hotel and one thing it could do, to start with, it could jump on a plane and go to Hong Kong, and show respect to the owners of Hutchison Whampoa and speak to them directly,” Ingraham said.
Asked about this, Newbold said, “He’s (Minnis) talking to them. That’s a decision that prime minister and his government will make.”
Education: College of The Bahamas, English