The Grand Lucayan resort complex is completely insured in case of catastrophic loss, Minister of Tourism and Aviation Dionisio D’Aguilar told reporters yesterday. He expressed the hope that any damage to the resort as a result of Hurricane Dorian will not jeopardize the government’s negotiations with Holistica – a joint venture company formed by Royal Caribbean International and ITM Group – on the renovation and development of Freeport’s cruise port and the Grand Lucayan resort complex.
D’Aguilar, speaking following a National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) press conference, explained that the structure’s ballroom is currently being used as a hurricane shelter for the people on Grand Bahama as Dorian slams the island today.
“We have prepared for the inevitable, we have planned for it,” D’Aguilar said.
“The interested party… expected to do significant renovations and demolition to certain components of [the hotel]. So, yes, there will be landscaping damage, there may even be damage to the buildings themselves, so the first line of defense is the insurance and they were expecting to do significant renovations to those buildings.
“I’m hoping that [hurricane damage] won’t impede our intended plan to divest ourselves of that hotel.”
The government and Holistica are in the middle of negotiations to renovate the Grand Lucayan and to completely transform Freeport’s cruise dock. D’Aguilar told Guardian Business recently that those negotiations could be finished near the end of the year, but it is not yet known how Hurricane Dorian’s effects could disrupt those negotiations.
Carnival Cruise Line is also expected to begin the development of its own cruise port on Grand Bahama, which could also be affected by the hurricane.
It was Hurricane Matthew that caused parts of the Grand Lucayan to be shut down and the property to be subsequently taken over by the government in order to ensure that jobs were secure and that the property could be sold as quickly as possible.