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Davis urges govt to cut losses on Grand Lucayan

Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday the government needs to have a fire sale of the Grand Lucayan Resort, which it purchased a few months ago.

“In my experience, it may very well mean putting it up for sale at a fire sale and not just waiting to try and turn a profit because you’re not going to turn a profit,” Davis said.

He said the government needs to “try to find a manager, a management company for the property”.

“… They should do that while entering into what I call a fire sale management agreement with someone who has some inkling on how to operate the property and get some bodies in the beds,” he said.

The government purchased the resort for $65 million, with $30 million paid up front.

Parliament passed a resolution for the government to borrow the balance from Hutchison Lucaya Limited and Bahama Reef Limited to facilitate the purchase.

The sale was executed on September 11.

The assets purchased include 405 acres of land; seven buildings containing 7 million square feet of space; 1,271 rooms and suites; 19 restaurants and lounges; 15 meeting rooms; 45,000 square feet of meeting space; three pools; an 18-hole golf course; a casino; a spa and a fitness center.

In August, Michael Scott, who is the chairman of the special purpose vehicle charged with finding a buyer for the resort, said the government had hoped to find a buyer within the next three to six months.

However last month, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said there might be a delay in offloading the resort to a qualified buyer. He said it is expected that the resort properties will be sold by the second quarter of 2019.

D’Aguilar also told reporters that there were 11 or 12 seriously interested buyers for the property.

But yesterday, Davis said the government needs to “admit the mistake”.

“Let’s move on and determine what good can come from this mistake if any or we can just move to cut the losses,” he said.

“Now let’s move on to the next stage because the losses are continuing.”

He said the government needs to tell the public how much is being lost with the monthly operation of the resort.

“If you’re going to continue to allow it to stay open, who is going to fund [it]? Who’s going to ensure that it stays open?”

Davis added: “Perhaps they ought to explain to us how those losses are now being accounted for and funded.”

Finance Minister Peter Turnquest said yesterday that operational expenses for the resort amount to $1.5 million every month.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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