‘We want what’s best for GB’
The government expects negotiations with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) and ITM Group to go smoothly, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson said yesterday.
The minister sought to allay concerns raised by Pineridge MP Frederick McAlpine who recently said that the government’s projected timeline for the completed heads of agreement for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort is too long a wait.
“The government is going to do all that it can to negotiate a very good deal, but also to negotiate it in the shortest possible time,” Thompson said when asked to respond to McAlpine.
“It’s important for Grand Bahama and all of us.
“I believe all of us, whether you’re in the opposition, whether you are with the government, whether you have no political affiliations, all of us want Grand Bahama to do better and so that is what we are intending on doing.”
On Sunday, McAlpine said he’s not excited that the government simply signed a letter of intent for the sale of the hotel.
“I need to remind the country that a letter of intent is not a purchase, it’s just simply that, a letter of intent,” McAlpine said.
“I don’t know why we are surprised by a letter of intent.”
Last week, Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd. signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Royal Caribbean Cruises (RCL) and the ITM Group for the purchase of the Grand Lucayan resort on Grand Bahama and the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour for $65 million.
“The LOI is the first step,” Thompson said yesterday.
“The LOI allows us to move forward with respect to exclusive negotiations.
“We anticipate that those negotiations will hopefully go [smoothly], but they are negotiations. And so, we are still a ways away from the completion of it. We understand that and I believe that everybody understands that we are still a ways away.”
The government said the proposed joint-venture project between RCL/ITM will “include the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort into a world class destination, featuring water-based family entertainment, with dining, gaming and entertainment options, and five-star hotel accommodations”.
Thompson said the opportunity of this development “cannot be understated”.
The government purchased the Grand Lucayan last year for $65 million, with $30 million paid upfront.
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.
The sale is expected to be completed in three to five months, according to Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest.