The government is in the final phase of discussions with Royal Caribbean International (RCI) regarding the future of the Grand Lucayan on Grand Bahama, Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper told journalists yesterday, adding that those discussions have gone on too long.
Cooper chose not to reveal any specifics regarding those discussions, but said he and his party’s position on the deal struck by the former government are well-documented.
Cooper recently called the deal an “egregiously bad” one.
“We are in the final phase of discussions with RCI in relation to the Our Lucaya matter,” said Cooper.
“Until those discussions are concluded, I wouldn’t want to make any further pronouncements on it.
“I have indicated my view publicly as to what I think of the deal itself. Suffice to say, the issue on Grand Bahama as it relates to Our Lucaya, in the view of this government, has gone on too long and I can tell you that we are close to resolution in relation to that specific matter.
“We have begun the discussion in earnest with our partners. My approach to this job is one of collaboration in speaking with the stake holders… RCI knows my position, the position of our government is very clear as it relates to the deal itself, we’ve said it publicly and RCI understands very clearly what the deal is about.”
Cooper explained that RCI has been a long-standing partner of The Bahamas, with many investments throughout several islands.
“When there is a marriage, as long as the one we’ve had with RCI, everyday isn’t going to be Sunday,” he said.
When asked whether the former government tied the Grand Lucayan purchase deal to RCI’s proposed Paradise Island project in an all-or-nothing-style deal, Cooper said he had no comment.
The Minnis administration purchased the Grand Lucayan resort from Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in August 2018 for $65 million and made plans to sell the property to Royal Caribbean and ITM for its redevelopment, but a deal has not been closed in more than a year since a 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.