Although Hurricane Dorian decimated many parts of Grand Bahama last week, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest said yesterday that investors are still interested in moving forward with the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort, despite the “minimal damage” caused by the Category 5 storm.
“There is an initial engineering report and I don’t have that detailed with me, but there is a report that I have seen. The negotiations for the hotel continue. Royal Caribbean and ITM have given their commitment that they intend to continue to proceed with the project, so we’re very happy about that,” Turnquest told reporters outside the Churchill Building yesterday.
On the damage to the property, Minister of Tourism Dionisio D’Aguilar said, “I’m advised that there was very little damage, but one thing that the Free National Movement does is buy insurance, so that hotel was insured from tip to toe and I’m sure if there was any damage we would be claiming on the insurance. I don’t anticipate any loss in that regard.”
Lucayan Renewal Holdings Ltd., the special purpose vehicle appointed by the government to manage the sale of the resort, signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Royal Caribbean International and the ITM Group in March for the purchase of the resort for $65 million and the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour.
Carnival Cruise Line is also moving forward with its plan to develop a port at Sharp Rock, just four miles east of Lucaya in Freeport, Turnquest noted.
“Carnival, like Royal Caribbean, has recommitted that they’re ready to go when we’re ready. So hopefully we’ll sign that heads of agreement very, very shortly and get them working on the port and getting that done, which would put people to work,” he said.
Turnquest said the government is exploring what kinds of subsidies it would make available to the business communities on the impacted islands to jumpstart those economies as soon as possible.
“As you know, I’ve said this over and over, one of the most important things after a storm like this is the economic recovery, to get the economy going again as quickly as possible so that people can get back to work, because in order to get their own personal lives together they need an income and they need to keep themselves busy,” he said.
“So we are working hard with our partners to try and get the economy going, to try and get the banking system back up and going.”