Make terms of Grand Lucayan sale public, Cooper says

Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) Deputy Leader Chester Cooper yesterday called on the government to make the terms of sale for the Grand Lucayan resort on Grand Bahama public.

“The Progressive Liberal Party insists that the government, firstly, update the public on the status of the sale,” Cooper said in a statement.

“We insist that the latest terms of the sale of the Grand Lucayan to Royal Caribbean and ITM be immediately made public. We demand that this administration be transparent and release the details of the reopening strategy for the hotel, which is supposed to happen in less than two weeks, inclusive of the strategy for airlift, staffing and details of any advanced bookings.

“We insist that this administration make clear the dollar amount of this investment, which we warned against, made on the backs of Bahamian taxpayers. We believe that it is now well in excess of $150 million.

“The cavalier manner in which this administration treats the Bahamian people when it comes to their money is insulting.”

The government purchased the Grand Lucayan for $65 million in August 2018 and began negotiations for a sale late last year, before announcing last year that Holistica — a joint company of RCI and ITM — will redevelop the property and construct a new cruise port.

The government originally pegged early 2021 for the redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan by RCI and ITM, which signed heads of agreement with the government last March for the sale of the property.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has delayed the finalization of that sale.

On Tuesday, when contacted by The Nassau Guardian for confirmation on whether the resort’s February 1 opening was still on target, Michael Scott, the lead negotiator for the sale, replied, “I’m not sure, I haven’t been involved with that for a while.”

Cooper said yesterday that he was “sincerely flabbergasted” to discover that Scott is no longer involved with negotiations for the sale of the property. 

“One has to wonder if this administration can get anything done along the timeline promised and without mass confusion,” he said.

“Scott has been at the forefront of the sale of the hotel since the government bought the property against all good sense and fiscal prudence. We said then that it was an egregiously bad deal.

“If Scott, who, last I checked, was chairman of Lucayan Renewal Holdings and the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas, is not negotiating the sale, then who on earth is?”

He noted that, at last report, Scott was “unhappy” with the terms of the deal being considered by the government.

Cooper said Scott’s non-involvement with negotiations “speaks volumes to the quality of the terms the government is prepared to accept”.

“This failed investment venture has gone on long enough without accountability to the Bahamian people,” he said.

Cooper said the government “must come clean about this property and it must make it make sense”.

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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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