Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said he is disappointed that the Minnis administration was not able to conclude the sale of the Grand Lucayan hotel before the end of its current term in office.
He said the sale continues to be delayed by the protracted wait for Royal Caribbean and ITM to close their separate deal with Freeport Harbour Company.
“The Grand Lucayan, the sale of that was subject to the completion of an agreement being had between the Freeport Harbour Company and Royal Caribbean,” D’Aguilar told reporters outside Cabinet.
“And that deal is ongoing and that hasn’t been concluded, and it’s very frustrating. I’m very disappointed that the Freeport Harbour Company and Royal Caribbean group were not able to finalize their transaction and as a result, the hotel can’t transfer over to the Royal Caribbean group for them to start doing what they need to do.
“So I’m very disappointed that that didn’t happen. I’m very disappointed that the Freeport Harbour Company and their agents in Hong Kong were for whatever reason unable to bring this to a conclusion.
“And so we solider on.
“But we tried very, very hard to get it completed. And I’m sure very shortly, unfortunately, on the other side of this election, we’ll get it done and Freeport will boom once again with all the development that we have planned there.”
The Minnis administration purchased the Grand Lucayan resort from Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in August 2018 for $65 million and has plans to sell the property to Royal Caribbean and ITM for its redevelopment, but the deal has yet to be finalized more than a year after the heads of agreement was signed.
The government had originally pegged early 2021 for the redevelopment to begin. But the COVID-19 pandemic delayed and changed the terms of the agreement.
Last week, Lucayan Renewal Holdings Chairman Michael Scott told The Nassau Guardian that the sale of the Grand Bahama resort is now up in the air.