Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar suggested yesterday that the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort may not take place before the end of the second quarter.
“I think I’ve gone on record to say that hopefully by the end of the second quarter of this year we should be in the position to announce something substantial, but sometimes it’s a curse when you get so many people and it takes even longer,” D’Aguilar told reporters outside Cabinet.
“So, if it was only three people then it would be easy, but it’s 60 or whatever the chairman said and it might even take a little bit longer. But anyway we’ll see. We’re continuing the process. We’re reporting to the Bahamian people as there is a lot of interest.”
When pressed for more details on an amended timeline, the minister said, “Obviously, these things, they take on a life on its own. I’m not prepared to give you a date because I just don’t know. There’s just a lot out there.”
The government purchased the resort last year for $65 million. It hopes to find a qualified buyer by the end of the second quarter of 2019.
Last week, attorney Michael Scott, who chairs Lucayan Renewal Holdings, a special purpose vehicle established by the government with the purpose of finding a buyer for the resort, said there are “in excess of 60 bids” on the table for the purchase of the resort.
He said all the interested buyers had submitted their proposals before the deadline of February 15.
Yesterday, D’Aguilar said the process of evaluating all the proposals will take time.
“This is not something you can flip a switch and it happens,” he said.
“This is a very important project. It is very important that we pick a credible partner. You know and I know that this thing doesn’t happen at the flip of a switch and to imply that it does is not correct.”
He added: “When people express an interest, there’s a process. You have a lot of people expressing an interest, you have to gather in all that information, you have to sift through it to see which ones are serious and not serious, then you have to begin a negotiation process to see on what terms they want to do it.”
D’Aguilar said the resort will probably take another 12 to 18 months to reopen.
Education: Goldsmith, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice
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