Minnis: Thousands of jobs possible after Grand Lucayan sale

The government will sign a heads of agreement for the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort on March 2, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis revealed last night.

“In order to restore the lives of the people of Abaco and Grand Bahama, we must boost economic activity and development, on both islands,” Minnis said during his first national address for 2020.

“On March the 2nd we will sign a heads of agreement for the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort and casino.

“This will help with the long-term recovery and renewal of Grand Bahama.

“It will result in scores of jobs during reconstruction and development, and long-term employment, business and entrepreneurial opportunities for the residents of Grand Bahama.

“This project could mean approximately two to three thousand jobs for Grand Bahama.”

In March 2019, the government signed a letter of intent (LOI) with Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. (RCL) and the ITM Group for the purchase of the resort for $65 million and the redevelopment of the Freeport Harbour.

Under that terms of the LOI, the government said the proposed joint venture between RCL and ITM would include the “redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan resort into a world class destination, featuring water-based family entertainment, with dining, gaming and entertainment options, and five-star hotel accommodations”.

The first phase of the development is projected to cost $195 million over two years.

Worries over the deal emerged following the devastating effects of Hurricane Dorian, which obliterated portions of Abaco and Grand Bahama last September.

The resort sustained minimal damage during the storm.

However, according to Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar, the Category 5 storm slowed down negotiations.

News of a sale date could trigger investor confidence on the island.

The government made the decision to purchase the Grand Lucayan from Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in August 2018 for $65 million.

The government has since spent tens of millions of dollars on separation packages and upkeep since then.

The Grand Lucayan hotel, an all-inclusive resort of 740 rooms, covers more than 90,000 square feet and was the hub of tourist activity on the island.

The resort features three brands: Memories, Breakers Cay and Lighthouse Pointe.

The hotel closed its doors in October 2016 for repairs after it suffered damage from Hurricane Matthew. Nearly 1,000 people lost their jobs.

In November 2016, only the 196-room Lighthouse Pointe reopened.

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Travis Cartwright-Carroll

Travis Cartwright-Carroll is the assistant editor. He covers a wide range of national issues. He joined The Nassau Guardian in 2011 as a copy editor before shifting to reporting. He was promoted to assistant news editor in December 2018. Education: College of The Bahamas, English

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