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Lucayan’S $1m Staff Debt Safe

The Grand Lucayan resort.

The Grand Lucayan resort.

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Deputy Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

The government will assume all liabilities including about $1m in back pay owed to workers at the Grand Lucayan resort in Grand Bahama.

Severance packages are also to be the responsibility of the government once the $65m sale of the hotel in Grand Bahama is complete, The Tribune understands told from two well-placed sources, who were not authorised to speak publicly on the hotel situation.

“Disbursements will come from the government because they are taking all the liability,” one Freeport-based source said.

“What is owed to workers is a considerable sum, about a million or more.

“Asset managers in conjunction with management are in now going through employee rolls,” a second source told The Tribune, “so because this is underway the absolute figure is not yet known.

“But the government is acquiring the liability. Employees were addressed this week along with line staff and management staff at Grand Lucayan and were assured everyone will be dealt with. Anyone who wants packages will be dealt with according to law,” the official said.

When he spoke to reporters yesterday after a tree-planting event at Gambier Primary School in conjunction with Sandals Royal Bahamian Resort, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis pledged to fully disclose the details surrounding the Grand Lucayan’s purchase by the government.

He said: “You will receive all of that on Wednesday. On Wednesday, you will get a communication. You will be informed as to why we had purchased the hotel. It’s our job to keep the Bahamian economy going. That hotel plays a pivotal role in Grand Bahama’s economy and of course it was being negotiated by the private sector.

“The only thing I will say at this particular time is no investor will put a gun to my head. None.”

Asked to comment on the money owed to workers, Dr Minnis replied: “I know what I say with respect to that will be a headline. I will allow what was asked earlier to be the headline.” He was referring to comments he made in response to the murder on Wednesday of Inspector Carlis Blatch, aid-de-camp to the governor general.

Sources have said this back pay may date back to 2008.

This week the hand over process for the Grand Lucayan entered a new stage. In meetings with employees, government officials assured staff their employment will be protected.

“Further information will be provided and a full statement will be given by the prime minister in Parliament next week,” said Michael Scott, chairman of the Hotel Corporation and the special purpose vehicle established to facilitate the purchase and eventual sale of the Grand Lucayan resort.

That SPV, Lucayan Renewal Holdings LTD, took over the resort from owner Hutchinson Whampoa earlier this week, with the sale expected to be finalised on September 21.

Tribune Business reported on Tuesday a “substantial number” of Grand Lucayan’s middle management staff want to take severance packages and leave the resort.

Obie Ferguson, Trades Union Congress (TUC) president, told Tribune Business that feedback received to-date indicated that “a sizeable number” of Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association (BHMA) members would exit if the terms were right after the government formally took control of the Grand Lucayan’s operations.

Mr Ferguson said confirmation of how many want to leave will be known soon, dependent on the completion of a questionnaire to obtain this information from BHMA members.

Comments

DDK 2 months ago

Looks like The People have absolutely NO SAY where their hard-earned VAT MONEY goes. Looks like some of The People get it, others do not get a dime. Having a rather difficult time trying to figure out just whose Time it is, other than those in high places, and what is the criteria for being in the receiving line........

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TheMadHatter 2 months ago

Same nonsense with Princess Towers & Country Club. They left here owing millions of dollars in back pay and National Insurance and on top of that they must have made some very scary threat to the Government because they are frightened to death - too scared to reopen the road between the two properties.

Businesses closing left and right. Ruby Swiss, an icon of Freeport, recently closed. Bazaar closed.

Now government spending 65 million to buy a hotel but they wont spend 1 million to reopen a major artery at the heart of Freeport.

How much has been paid on foreign debt in the last 60 days? Why is this a secret?

When you get elected to government, do you have a secret brain surgery to cut out 90% of your brain before you are allowed to take your seat in Parliament?

Push the damn road!!! Yesterday.

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TigerB 2 months ago

I trust ain no difficulty with Bahamian gettin' jobs here in Freeport because of a hotel the gubmon dem purchase, Grand Bahamians dem pay VAT too, we don't complain here in Grand Bahama when they spend heaps of money in BPL, we glad for Nassau Folks cud dem, they cud get light more. BPL had a couple a fires last week, so the VAT money goin to all anna we, not jus on a a hotel on Grand Bahama.

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BahamaPundit 2 months ago

The FNM have shown what they will do with our hard earned VAT money: give it away! This will encourage the people to rebel and avoid taxes. With great power comes great responsibility. The FNM have shown itself to be irresponsible and reckless trustees of the people's money. The million dollars they so casually give away, even though it is a private "rich" company's responsibility, should be deducted from their sallaries!!!

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TigerB 2 months ago

The other party did it too, you know them the PLP, they did it, nothing was wrong with it then!!

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ThisIsOurs 2 months ago

If the PQT party did it, it's still wrong. These guys have us locked in this dependency cycle and they have no interests in helping us out. Where all the tech high paying jobs they promised you in grand bahama? Looks to me like all they out on the table is more of the same maid and butler. There's nothing wrong with honest pay but Open your eyes and see what they do versus what they say.

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BahamaPundit 2 months ago

FNM treating our VAT money like an Asue.

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DDK 2 months ago

Worse. I believe with an Asue The People get their money back (unless the Asue holder is crooked)! More like a savings account. This bunch aren't saving anything. They are spendaholics. Wery turd wurl!

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