Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd. Chairman Michael Scott’s claim that a preferred bidder for the Grand Lucayan resort will likely be named this week was “a little premature”, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said yesterday.
Scott, who chairs the special purpose vehicle charged with finding a buyer for the resort, made the assertion in The Tribune on Tuesday.
“Well that may be a little premature,” the minister said outside Cabinet.
“The government obviously is in negotiations.
“I don’t think that’s any secret. When these negotiations will be completed and when we are able to make an announcement is still unknown. But we remain hopeful and encouraged.”
Asked if the government may be forced to walk away with a less than ideal sale, the minister said, “That’s the way business is, you have to make a deal. If you keep waiting for the best, best, best deal then you may not make a deal.
“I found my success in business has been as a result of the ability to make a decision and make a deal.
“You may not, in every instance, get everything that you want, but sometimes it’s important to make the deal and then move on.
“The benefits that usually accrue to you in five, six, seven years from now you say, ‘Wow, I waited so long to make the decision that I did [but] the benefits that are accruing are substantial.’”
The government purchased the resort last year for $65 million, with $30 million paid upfront. It hopes to find a qualified buyer by the end of the second quarter of 2019.
The assets purchased by the government include 405 acres of land; seven buildings containing seven million square feet of space; 1,271 rooms and suites; 19 restaurants and lounges; 15 meeting rooms; 45,000 square feet of meeting space; three pools; an 18-hole golf course; a casino; a spa and a fitness center.
Before the government sells the resort, it is expected to resolve voluntary separation packages (VSEPs) for Grand Lucayan employees.
The managerial staff at the resort is currently at an impasse with the board of Lucayan Renewal Holdings.
D’Aguilar said yesterday that he will meet with the Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association (BHMA) at the end of the week to continue VSEP negotiations.
“…At some stage, one will have to decide what is the best deal,” he said.
The minister continued, “And this is for the managers, you may not get everything that you want but, you know, you’ve gone on for seven months and haven’t [gotten] to a result and you may not get the best, best, best, best deal.
“One thing I’ve found in business is it’s better to get a deal than to wait an inordinate amount of time to get the absolute deal that you want.”
The 91 managers at the resort have requested roughly $5 million, according to BHMA President Obie Ferguson.
He has said the board of Lucayan Renewal Holdings has offered $3.1 million in payouts.