Cooper: Public discourse on Grand Lucayan negotiations not in Bahamians’ best interest

Acting Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper explained yesterday that the extended due diligence period given to Electra America Hospitality Group will allow it to continue to collect data on the resort they have agreed to buy and to continue negotiations with the government.

He added that saying more publicly about the ongoing negotiations is not in the best interest of the Bahamian people at the moment.

Electra America agreed this year to purchase the Grand Lucayan for $100 million from the government of The Bahamas.

Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited (LRHL) announced last week that it agreed to extend Electra America’’s due diligence period by another seven days.

“We have extended the due diligence period by seven days. That ends sometime next week,” said Cooper.

“At that point we will be able to say more. Appreciate that it’s active negotiations, active discussions and therefore it’s not in the best interest of the Bahamian people to discuss that publicly at this point.”

LRHL is the special purpose vehicle created to oversee the sale and manage the resort’s operations.

“The board of Lucayan Renewal Holdings Limited has been asked by the attorneys for Electra America Hospitality Group for a further seven-day extension to consider outstanding matters related to the sale,” LRHL said.

“The board has granted the extension. We will update the public further in due course.”

LRHL provided no additional information at the time.

When the deal was announced in Grand Bahama on May 11, officials said the government’s agreement with Electra was subject to a 60-day due diligence period with closing no later than 120 days.

Electra has committed to a $300 million development of the property.

A lot is riding on the sale being closed and the property being redeveloped, as it is anticipated to be a significant driver for economic activity on Grand Bahama.

The Grand Lucayan has had a troubled past, with some viewing it as a noose around the necks of taxpayers. The Minnis administration bought the resort from Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in August 2018 for $65 million. In March 2020, the government signed a heads of agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines and the ITM Group, which promised to invest more than $300 million in the redevelopment of the property and construction of a cruise port; however, the COVID-19 pandemic delayed and changed the terms of the agreement, officials said.

The final buying price was $50 million.

After being elected to office last September, the Davis administration canceled the deal, arguing that it was bad and promised to find a new buyer.

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Chester Robards

Chester Robards rejoined The Nassau Guardian in November 2017 as a senior business reporter. He has covered myriad topics and events for The Nassau Guardian. Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism

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