Govt expects to recoup lost money in resort sale

The government will recoup what it lost in the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort from an insurance payout, Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson assured yesterday.

“The $50 million is the amount that takes into account the credit as a result of damage from the hurricane,” he said outside Cabinet.

“As we know, we had indicated that we wanted $65 million. The hurricane took place during the time of negotiation. The hotel was damaged during that time. So, we did take into account the damage. What is also important is that the insurance proceeds will be kept by the government and we anticipate that those insurance proceeds will total the $65 million.”

“The insurance proceeds, the application has been made and we await the determination of the application.”

The government signed a heads of agreement (HOA) on Monday with Bahamas Port Investments Limited – a joint company of Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and ITM Group – for the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort and the development of a cruise port on Grand Bahama.

The property closed following Hurricane Matthew in 2016, and only one of its hotels – Lighthouse Pointe – was opened at the time the government controversially purchased the property for $65 million in 2018.

Its highly anticipated reopening is expected to bring an economic boost to the island, which has been struggling economically for several years.

The plans for the first phase of the redevelopment of the property include a 526-room hotel, shopping village, water and adventure theme park and a 40,000-square foot convention center.

The Memories property will be demolished to accommodate the construction of the theme park.

Officials said the project is expected to be underway in five or six months.

Lucayan Renewal Holdings Chairman Michael Scott said the current Grand Lucayan employees will be terminated and paid their severance or benefits so that there will be a “clean slate” for the new owners.

Late last year, Scott advised that 216 full-time employees were engaged at the Grand Lucayan assigned to the Lighthouse Pointe, spa and laundry and the Grand Lucayan golf course.

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Rachel Knowles

Rachel joined The Nassau Guardian in January 2019. Rachel covers national issues. Education: University of Virginia in Charlottesville, BA in Foreign Affairs and Spanish

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