By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE Minnis administration has made an offer to the owners of the Grand Lucayan Resort to purchase the properties in Grand Bahama, press secretary Anthony Newbold said yesterday.
Although he did not provide the details of this offer, Mr Newbold said it was in keeping with Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ commitment to not only keep the resort open, but to ensure present jobs at the hotel are maintained.
He said the prime minister will only make an announcement when he has something to report. However, he will not make a grandiose statement about what could happen.
“The government has made an offer to the Hutchison Whampoa to purchase the Grand Lucayan properties,” Mr Newbold said yesterday during his weekly press briefing.
“As you know the prime minister made a commitment to not only keep the properties open, but to ensure that the present jobs are maintained as well.
“More on that in the coming days but the prime minister will only make an announcement when he has something to report.”
Back in August, Dr Minnis said he engaged in “fruitful talks” with representatives from Hutchinson Whampoa regarding the resort.
However, at the time he would not reveal any details discussed or progress reached during his meeting with them at the Office of the Prime Minister in Grand Bahama.
“We continue meaningful discussions towards the forward movement of the Lucayan hotel strip,” he said at the time.
“I don’t want to go into specifics to derail or prejudice the investment moving forward, but we would continue discussions, and we will continue to work as much as is necessary to try and bring back the Lucayan strip.
“There are too many people here in Grand Bahama suffering, and this has happened not as a result of the recession, but Grand Bahama has been in pain even before the recession.”
A deal for the sale of the hotel property in Lucaya is critical to the survival of Grand Bahama’s economy, which has been struggling since last October when the three-resort hotel property closed following significant hurricane damage.
The Nassau Guardian previously reported Paul Wynn, CEO of the Wynn Group of Canada, had pulled out of the deal to purchase the Grand Lucayan Resort on the Lucaya Strip, and was seeking to get his refundable deposit back from Hutchison Whampoa, the owners.
In late July, Dr Minnis revealed during a national address the government is negotiating to become temporary joint owners of the Grand Lucayan Resort in a bid to boost the hotel until it can sell off its equity.
At the time, he said “all signs point to the beginning of renovations at the resort” sometime this month, with the facility “ready for business for the winter season.”