The projected timeline for a completed heads of agreement for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort is too long a wait, said Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine, who also insisted that the letter of intent (LOI) recently signed is nothing concrete.
The Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama said that Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd. signed a LOI with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) and the ITM Group for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort on Grand Bahama for $65 million and the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour.
“I need to remind the country that a letter of intent is not a purchase, it’s just simply that, a letter of intent,” said McAlpine, who gave comments on Peace FM’s radio talk show, “The Last Word” with Steve McKinney on Sunday.
“I don’t know why we are surprised by a letter of intent. But the truth be known as far as I am concerned, according to the minister, there would have been 64 other groupings or persons who also had intent to purchase.
“The letter of intention is not a purchase, and may I also remind the country that this would not have been the first letter of intent.
“The Wynn Group also had a letter of intent and still, at the end of the day, did not purchase.”
The government purchased the resort last year for $65 million, with $30 million paid upfront.
In December 2017, Paul Wynn, of Canadian real estate development company Wynn Group, signed a LOI with Hutchison Whampoa for the sale of the property.
At the time, the government said the approval stage and formal discussions with the Wynn Group would be finished by February 2018, but no update was given on the status of the sale.
It was the second time Wynn had signed an LOI with Hutchison Whampoa.
The government’s decision to purchase the property came after talks with the parties collapsed.
Wynn said he thought the final purchase price negotiated, of $65 million, was too high.
He said it could take between $110 million and $120 million to open the doors of the Grand Lucayan to guests.
The board of directors of Lucayan Renewal Holdings, a special purpose vehicle charged with finding a buyer for the resort, unanimously approved a resolution to recommend to Cabinet the sale of the resort to RCL and ITM.
This came after 62 expressions of interest and 11 letters of offer were received for the resort.
Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar has said that it will take six months for the government to complete a heads of agreement with RCL and ITM.
However, McAlpine insisted on Sunday, “That’s a pretty long time if you already have a done deal.
“I don’t see why it needs to take six months as opposed to 30 or 60 or 90 days.
“That being said, we wish the government all the best for the people of Grand Bahama, because we have been in a drought or a famine for a very long time, but again I am like most Grand Bahamians.
“I will be excited when the hotel is purchased and not with an intention to purchase.”
Education: Vrije Universiteit Brussel (University of Brussels), MA in Mass Communications