0

Govt Buying Grand Lucayan?: 'No Fear'

Grand Lucayan

Grand Lucayan

By NEIL HARTNELL

Tribune Business Editor

nhartnell@tribunemedia.net

Hotel workers "have no fear" over the government's potential Grand Lucayan acquisition, a union leader yesterday saying it will "never allow" the resort's closure.

Michelle Dorsett, president of the Commonwealth Union of Hotel Services and Allied Workers, told Tribune Business that she "never doubted one bit" that the Minnis administration will do whatever it takes to safeguard the resort's employees and businesses that rely on the property.

Describing Freeport's "anchor" property and the surrounding Lucayan strip as "the heart of the island", Ms Dorsett expressed confidence that the government "knows how to deal with business" and will hire the necessary resort brands/management companies to operate the hotel profitably.

The union chief, whose organisation represents Grand Lucayan line staff, added that she was unaware of any plans by Cheung Kong (CK) Property Holdings, the resort's owner, to completely close the resort by September 2018 if no buyer is found.

Reacting to the prime minister's pledge that the government will never allow that to happen, even if it has to acquire the Grand Lucayan itself, Mr Dorsett said: "Honestly, my message never changed about the government.

"I was always optimistic that would happen, as they're in good faith with the workers. I never doubted them; not one bit. We knew they were working in the workers' best interests. The workers have no fear. I always had confidence in the government no matter what."

Expressing similar sentiments to those used by Dr Hubert Minnis in his weekend address, Ms Dorsett argued that the Grand Lucayan's economic importance - and that of the surrounding strip area - meant it could never be allowed to fully close.

"The government will never allow that to happen," she told Tribune Business. "The Lucayan Strip is a strip for the whole island. This is the people's eat and drink. This is what people live on; the key for the island. It's the heart of the island. This is the major strip, the major hotel in Grand Bahama.

"With this administration, they know how to deal with business. Hopefully they're going to bring in people to manage the property properly. We need business people to manage it properly and professionally. It's a beautiful establishment. Once they get the right people in the place will be booming."

Not all Freeport residents were as enthused yesterday about the prime minister's confirmation that the government will, if necessary, effectively act as the Grand Lucayan's "purchaser of last resort" if all other options fail.

One executive, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the Minnis administration was "talking in riddles" and not revealing any details about what a government acquisition might involve.

"This is what worries me," they told Tribune Business. "They keep saying the hotel won't close and jobs will be saved. Are they talking about the main hotel or just the Lighthouse Point? I feel they're talking about Lighthouse Point.

"That does nothing for Freeport. It doesn't do a damn thing for this town, and doesn't help affect the turnaround. Our tourism's at zero. There's no record of a hotel making money in this town for the last 15 years."

Should the government have to acquire the Grand Lucayan by itself, it will need to find considerably more financing that the $25m set aside in the 2018-2019 budget to fund its acquisition of a minority equity stake - believed to be 20 percent - in Wynn's majority purchase of the property. The Toronto-based developer's deal is said to be in difficulty, and unlikely to proceed.

Apart from likely having to match Wynn's $70m offer, Tribune Business sources said the government will need a further $25-$30m to fund the necessary renovations so the property can re-open. That will take its total outlay to near $100m, quadruple what is allocated in the budget, and creating a sizeable fiscal hole in its plans that will have to be filled by extra borrowing or re-purposing monies from other areas.

Comments

Well_mudda_take_sic 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Hotel union leaders in Grand Bahamas know they need not fear where the money will come from. Minnis and Turnquest are already on record that they had originally planned to increase VAT by 100%, from 7.5% to 15%. But they were advised to do it in two steps, 12% VAT effective July 1, 2018 with an increase to 15% effective July 1, 2019. The IMF and IDB are still upset that VAT was not initially set at 15% as they had all along recommended so that the government could take on even more foreign currency debt that cannot be repaid using Bahamian dollars. LOL

0

TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Should the Imperial red shirts cabinet foolishly goes ahead buys the Grand Lucayan Hotel it will not even begin treat the economic cancer holding Freeport back... some pretty smart peoples are saying that the Bahamalander Dollar is overvalued by 15 to 20%.... Ma Comrades,beyond waters colony islands - can you name the banks willing exchange BS$ for US$? Locally, 12% VAT has done devalued BS$ by12%.

0

proudloudandfnm 3 months, 3 weeks ago

This is the second time Minnis has made this promise. I'll believe it when I see it. We are tired of the horse manure coming out of their mouths every time they speak on this. Peter says we'll know the outcome of the long dead Wynn negotiations in 30 days. We already know Peter. You can stop lying now. Wynn got exactly what he came for and you gave it to him two months ago. Stop the horse manure...

0

TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Ma Comrades, just deflection attempt by Minis and KP away from the disturbing fact that OBAN has yet hire and place a single worker for their non-existent Freeport office. I challenge.... BUT Freeporters still haven;t locked arms run their Imperial red shirts MP's and senators out "magic" city. Freeporters should withdraw all rights any red shirts MP or senator to lands at airport. One fast talking Freeporter businesswoman was caller to guardian radio this morning talking about how financially great Freeporters are doing. Come again, lady? The talkie show host, never even challenged her outlandish claims?

0

TheMadHatter 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Why would they need a further 25-30M to re-open it if it is already open and the union lady says it won't close?

Don't renovate jack. Work with what you have - increase the entertainment portion to give tourists something to talk about - and use profits to renovate whenever the profits come. If no profits come - then don't renovate.

Buy it back from those Chinese and chase those crazy bald heads out of town, as our prophet told us to do (Robert Nester).

0

TalRussell 3 months, 3 weeks ago

Ma Comrade Freeporters, knows it be fact that before Bald-headed Sir Stafford and Groves - came to eat up all Freeporters Corn with the signing Hawksbill Creek Agreement when there was an abundance fresh Corn growing likes wild weeds...... but today, Corn is all imported... with new added 12% VAT buy just 3 cobs Corn - it now out price reach most Freeporters.

  • Crazy Baldheads by Bob Marley with Lyrics -

....//////https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBuwg...">https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBuwg...

0

BahamaLlama 3 months, 3 weeks ago

That's it drive the foreigners out! And we wonder why we have a government this incompetent.

0

proudloudandfnm 3 months, 2 weeks ago

Well the Wynn deal is dead officially. So when will the government close their purchase and begin repairs? And what is the marketing plan? Will government also open the casino? Will a proper management company be contracted to run it? Will governmejt give out subsidies to vendors so they can keep their businesses open while government buys, repairs and opens the hotels? And the most important question of all. WHEN WILL IT BE OPENED? No more lies. No more excuses. No more delays. GET OUR HOTELS OPENED FOR WINTER!

0

Sign in to comment