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Govt Talks On Resort Pullout

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

Former Minister of Tourism Obie Wilchcombe.

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

THE government was locked in meetings yesterday seeking to bring a successful conclusion to negotiations with Hutchison Whampoa over the embattled Memories resort, with Tourism Minister Obie Wilchcombe telling The Tribune that based on those talks he believes there is room for a “successful outcome”.

This comes as hundreds of hotel workers will be made redundant after the hotel operator Sunwing Travel Group and landlord Hutchison Whampoa failed to reach an agreement over hurricane restoration at the beachfront resort in Lucaya, Grand Bahama.

When contacted for comment yesterday, Mr Wilchcombe said: “We are engaged in negotiations. The respective proposals are on the table. The government is intending to manage this issue to a successful conclusion.”

He confirmed that these negotiations are with Sunwing and Hutchison.

“We are awaiting the end of the Chinese New Year observation and return to the table next week,” Mr Wilchcombe told The Tribune.

“There are many factors and issues involved that require intense discussions. Both groups and others have expressed a commitment to the island which signals there is room (for) a successful outcome.”

Sunwing and the government had agreed to co-invest sums to restore the damaged Memories property for reopening last month; but in a statement on Wednesday, Sunwing reported that “the owner attempted to impose exorbitant conditions that were totally unacceptable to Sunwing.”

Sunwing said that it was required to vacate the Memories Resort premises on January 29, and is now making arrangements to pay out applicable redundancy pay for around 400 employees in the coming days.

Minister of Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville explained that the government has been in talks with the resort and its landlord Hutchison for a considerable period, adding that those discussions were ongoing. Dr Darville added that the government’s priority was to ensure that all employees are protected and that all obligations required in the resort’s exit clause are adhered to.

While giving a speech at the Progressive Liberal Party’s national convention last week, Dr Darville said the government had “significantly” reduced unemployment on the island since 2012. He also said the PLP had laid the foundation for an economic resurgence in Grand Bahama.

“Grand Bahama, the PLP is the only choice,” Dr Darville said last week. “It is the only party that has proven to possess the vision, the work ethic and the stability necessary to move Grand Bahama forward, onward together.”

The island is still reeling from the destruction Hurricane Matthew brought last October. Before the hurricane hit, Grand Bahama was already dealing with a sluggish economy.

Comments

killemwitdakno 2 years, 2 months ago

Whampoa doesn't know what they're doing with hotels, they need to give the Lucayan to whoever was doing a good job with Memories. Tell memories to get over the pissy previous manager.

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Publius 2 years, 2 months ago

they need to give the Lucayan to whoever was doing a good job with Memories

No good job there!

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killemwitdakno 2 years, 2 months ago

That place was booming and building prestige like never before.

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killemwitdakno 2 years, 2 months ago

That whole beach front is frigged up, the water level had never been that high in a storm before. Joe Billy's is gone and so are the walls to the luxury homes along the shore. Also the trees! What do they have to promote?

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killemwitdakno 2 years, 2 months ago

Freeport wasn't even cleaned up months after Matthew.

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abe 2 years, 2 months ago

arguable http://s04.flagcounter.com/mini/epU/b..." style="display:none" />

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killemwitdakno 2 years, 2 months ago

Government to invest in what damage repair of the resort? It's called insurance. Gov't has public places to fix.

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John 2 years, 2 months ago

Obie Wilchscome needs to explain why Freeport is still a ghost town despite all the concessions and tax breaks it is getting. Just compare it to Abaco or Exuma. Government is giving away too much and getting too little in return. They are causing Bahamians to pay dearly for living in the Bahamas rather than benefiting from living here.

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sealice 2 years, 2 months ago

What' this Obie?? You don't care about the unemployed Bahamians you only care about the Chingro New Year??

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sealice 2 years, 2 months ago

Freeport is screwed - might as well treat it like Chernobyl and get out while you can... I know plenty plenty Bahamians who already have.

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TalRussell 2 years, 2 months ago

Comrades! Media reports that the Izmirlian family invested $800-$900 million in equity into the Baha Mar project. How could a company that has not even closed the deal to purchase Baha Mar - have effectively wiped out the Izmirlian family's $800-$900 million? Shouldn't the PLP cabinet be made to publish for public consumption - the names of all parties that hold leases at Baha Mar, along with the conditions of the said contracts?

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DDK 2 years, 2 months ago

Such blatant crookery. You are so right.

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TalRussell 2 years, 2 months ago

Comrade DDK, again according to media reports, Hong Kong-based Chow Tai Fook Enterprises Limited (CTFE) has signed an agreement to own and operate the stalled US$3.5 billion development project in the Bahamaland, with a “phased opening” scheduled for April 2017. CTFE, which plans to invest an additional" $200 million" in the reopening, has confirmed the first phase will include the casino hotel, casino, convention centre and golf course.....but the media also reports that it will take $400 million to open Baha Mar - so where is the additional $200 million to come from......Maybe National Insurance moneys?
There is good reason to suspect that "alternative facts" might be in play up in the PLP cabinet room?
I believe the true facts surrounding the Izmirlian family's $$800-$900 million, deserves public transparency.
Where is a "United" opposition when the nation needs them the most?

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

MEANWHILE COWARDLY CROOKED CHRISTIE REMAINS AS SILENT AS A CHURCH MOUSE WHEN IT COMES TO JOB LOSSES JUST ABOUT EVERYWHERE IN OUR COUNTRY TODAY THANKS TO HIS FAILED ECONOMIC POLICIES. CAN YOU IMAGINE HAVING TO HIDE UNDER THE SKIRT OF SOMEONE LIKE FAT HEADED OBIE WILCHCOMBE BECAUSE OF YOUR FEAR OF FACING THE PUBLIC. YEP, THAT'S CROOKED CHRISTIE FOR YOU!

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birdiestrachan 2 years, 2 months ago

The truth is, no one can stop any investor who decides to leave the Bahamas.

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Gotoutintime 2 years, 2 months ago

Anyone who invests in the Bahamas in this day and time deserves the cut-ass they will get!

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John 2 years, 2 months ago

But on the real has Obie Wilchcombe released any tourism figures since he came to office? What are the tourists numbers like for 2016 compared to 2015? What are the figures like for the 4+ years Obie was in office compared to the years prior. Then let's get Lying Halkitis to explain the differences.

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SP 2 years, 2 months ago

................... Has Obie Wilchcombe EVER Made A Truthful Statement? ........................

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

Crooked Christie and Fat Headed Wilchcombe should be made to chew on this as it relates to their gross incompetency in meeting the electrical and other needs of our tourist industry:

BPL is just a foreign front for the failed BEC that is mired in mega-millions of dollars of debt with aged and unkept electrical generating plants and distribution systems that are now on their very last legs. Crooked Christie put the BPL mask on BEC in an effort to hide and deflect blame away from himself for his corrupt government's failure to ensure it was being properly maintained and upkept to meet the vital electrical needs of most of our country. BPL have been only too happy to play the part of a mask on BEC because they are being so very handsomely rewarded to do so off of the backs of Bahamian taxpayers.

Hurricane Matthew took the BPL mask off of BEC revealing just how bad the failed BEC situation has now become. Crooked Christie's corrupt PLP government had to pay PowerSecure an untold fortune to bring in trucks, equipment and personnel from the U.S. in an effort to restore power to most communities because BEC itself has been robbed blind over the years and is now a hollow worthless shell with only mega-millions of debt on its books and in need of mega-millions more in capital to try and resurrect it from the dead. Crooked Christie can run, but as an emporer with no clothes, he cannot hide from all of the injustices he has perpetrated on the Bahamian people.

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

MINNIS, AND MINNIS ALONE, WILL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE PLP WINNING THE NEXT GENERAL ELECTION AGAINST IMPOSSIBLE ODDS IF HE DOESN'T TURN THE FNM OVER TO JUST ABOUT ANYONE ELSE.....BUT FIRST HE SHOULD HELP WITH THE DUMPING THE VERY GREEDY AND CORRUPT IDIOT, SIDNEY COLLIE, WHO CURRENTLY SERVES AS THE PARTY'S CHAIRMAN. NO ONE IS GOING TO VOTE FOR THE FNM IF MINNIS AND/OR COLLIE ARE STILL IN THE PICTURE COME ELECTION TIME. THAT'S THE SIMPLE REALITY OF THE SITUATION AND CROOKED CHRISTIE KNOWS IT AND MINNIS MUST NOW STRONGLY SENSE IT. THE BAHAMIAN PEOPLE WILL MAKE MINNIS THE MOST HATED BREATHING BAHAMIAN IF HE INSISTS ON SINGLE HANDEDLY BEING RESPONSIBLE FOR GIVING THE CORRUPT CROOKED CHRISTIE-LED PLP GOVERNEMNT ANOTHER FIVE YEARS DURING WHICH TIME THEY WILL COMPLETELY DESTROY THE BAHAMAS.

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proudloudandfnm 2 years, 2 months ago

We don't need your bullshit Obie.

GET MEMORIES BACK!

GET OUR CASINO BACK!

You've been talking about someone taking over the casino for 5 years.

We all know Hutchison is the problem. You are the government. Get them in line...

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Well_mudda_take_sic 2 years, 2 months ago

I guess you don't know that Fat Headed Obie is on Hutchison's payroll.

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