PLP Leader Philip 'Brave' Davis.
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip "Brave" Davis says he doubts the government has properly thought about its plan to purchase the Grand Lucayan, adding any funds expended for this purpose could be best used to enhance the lives of Bahamians in many meaningful ways.
Speaking to The Tribune yesterday, Mr Davis said until the government is able to address the critical fundamentals of what the second city needs to fully jumpstart its economy, it is not prudent to purchase the hotel.
"Why would you want to engage yourself in such an expense if you say you have no money?" Mr Davis asked yesterday outside of the St Paul's Church in Fox Hill following remarks in observance of Fox Hill Day.
"The question is whether or not the sellers would be willing to grant them a mortgage."
He was referring to reports in the Nassau Guardian yesterday that Cabinet was set to discuss yesterday a $65m purchase of the Grand Lucayan. It was reported the terms would require the Minnis administration to come up with a portion of the money by the close of the sale.
Mr Davis also said: "I don't know whether they have thought through what they are doing. Those funds could be better deployed to touch lives of Bahamians, particularly those in Grand Bahama, than using it for the acquisition of the Grand Lucayan properties.
"It is fraught with challenges and the major challenge is until as such time as we address the critical fundamentals of what makes Grand Bahama tick or not tick, it's not a prudent move to make such an investment."
He encouraged the government to consider the same path of action the PLP considered during the former Christie administration's term in office.
At the time, former Cabinet ministers privately pushed the Hayward and St George families to sell their interests in the Grand Bahama Port Authority.
Although it was never an option for the government to obtain a majority stake in the port, Mr Davis told The Tribune the belief was that some equity participation by the government in the GBPA was feasible if necessary.
"I don't think they would be faulted (for following this same course of action)," Mr Davis said.
"It's a path that we were following. I will not criticise the government for adopting a path that we were following. In fact we encourage them to adopt our path."
He added: "One of the things that we recognised while we were in office and having looked at the historical revolution of Grand Bahama over the many years it struck us and I think it's clear that the present structure of ownership does not auger well for the economic benefit of the port or Grand Bahama as a whole and so we thought it was necessary having new owners, with new vision, with a new vitality that will embrace opportunities that might present itself world wide for the benefit of Grand Bahama as a whole.
"As you would know and recognise that the owners have been in Grand Bahama from the late 60s and it appears that they are doing the same thing all the time expecting different results and as it's been said if we do the same thing all the time to expect different results that result will never come.
"Yes we were talking and holding discussions with potential buyers with present owners with a view of moving them to selling and I think there was a willingness, though reluctantly maybe, to divest themselves to remove themselves from the way of progress for Grand Bahama."