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‘Very cautious optimism’ on Grand Lucayan sale, says FNM

The Free National Movement (FNM) said while yesterday’s announcement of the sale of Grand Lucayan resort to Electra Hospitality Group gives cause for cautious optimism, it will await details of the $100 million agreement.

The government announced that it has agreed to a 120-day closing on the sale of the Grand Lucayan to Electra Hospitality Group for $100 million – after which the developers have committed to inject $300 million in renovating the resort and casino and announcing a world-class brand partner.

East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson in a statement yesterday said Grand Bahamians have heard sale announcements twice before and can no longer get excited.

“The Grand Lucayan announcement gives us reason for very cautious optimism. Grand Bahamians have been waiting a very long time to see the full redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan. We have already experienced two memorandum of understandings/letters of intent in recent years. We need to see actual development and employment. Grand Bahamians no longer get excited by announcements. We have been there and done that. However, the devil is always in the details. We await to see the full details of the deal and its benefits for the people of Grand Bahama,” he said.

“The Minnis administration took the bold step of purchasing the Grand Lucayan and agreed to sell the hotel to Royal Caribbean International (RCI) and the ITM Group. However, due to the pandemic, RCI and ITM Group requested that the original heads of agreement be amended, which would have significantly altered the deal. The changes were never fully agreed to by the Minnis administration.

“The Davis administration subsequently canceled the deal with RCI and ITM.”

The Minnis administration purchased the resort from Hong Kong conglomerate Hutchison Whampoa in August 2018 for $65 million. It signed an agreement with Bahamas Ports Investments Ltd. (BPI), a joint partnership between RCI and ITM, in March 2020 with a $50 million final buying price.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments and Aviation Chester Cooper announced in December 2021 that the government canceled the sale, saying the deal was not in the best interest of Bahamians.

Cooper revealed yesterday that he intends to disclose the details of the canceled agreement with BPI and the government during Monday’s House of Assembly sitting.

Thompson said more details are needed.

“We hope to learn more about the details of the deal. The Grand Bahamian public will be interested in learning the details of when will the actual renovations begin, when and how Bahamians can participate in the redevelopment, what are the amount of concessions that will be paid and over what time frame, and what will happen to the existing employees,” he said.

“Also, what forms of new airlift and when will they begin, what is the development plan and timeline, and what is the overall vision for the island’s tourism product. Grand Bahama needs a development that can integrate our cruise potential, bring additional airlift to sustain the redevelopment, and release the untapped potential of the island.”

Cooper announced yesterday that a new world-class airport is projected to be completed at the same time as the early 2025 completion of the Grand Lucayan renovations.

The request for proposal process ends May 15 for the government to begin the process of finding a new partner to design, rebuild and manage the Grand Bahama International Airport (GBIA).

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Paige McCartney

Paige joined The Nassau Guardian in 2010 as a television news reporter and anchor. She has covered countless political and social events that have impacted the lives of Bahamians and changed the trajectory of The Bahamas. Paige started working as a business reporter in August 2016. Education: Palm Beach Atlantic University in 2006 with a BA in Radio and Television News

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