PLP leader says deal on Grand Lucayan doesn't add up

PLP leader Philip Davis. (File photo)

PLP leader Philip Davis. (File photo)


Tribune Chief Reporter


PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Leader Philip “Brave” Davis said the Grand Lucayan’s sale to foreign interests signifies a loss of tens of millions in taxpayer dollars, vindicating the party over its long held position that government should not have purchased the property.

Mr Davis’ point of contention is that government purchased the resort from former owner Hutchinson Whampoa at a cost of $65m in 2018, but sold it to Royal Caribbean International and ITM Group for $50m. This, he said, was in addition to millions more already spent in operational costs.

“On the face of it, it would seem that we have gotten swing again,” Mr Davis said yesterday at his party’s headquarters on Farrington Road.

For his part, PLP Deputy Leader Chester Cooper said he was concerned about the financial aspect of the sale and questioned the concessions that may have come along with it. Mr Cooper told reporters yesterday it was his suspicion that when the full details are revealed, Bahamians will be left disappointed.

The purchase deal for the Grand Lucayan resort was signed Monday. This will set in motion plans for a $300m investment development by RCI and ITM to transform Grand Bahama and revive its beleaguered economy.

“From the prime minister’s statement the true sale price to RCCL remains a mystery and the total cost of this hotel purchase from Hutchinson Whampoa to the Bahamians taxpayers is also a secret,” Mr Davis said.

“All we know is that the government paid $65m for the hotel and tens of million more in maintenance and operational costs.

“…It vindicates our recommendation that they ought not to have purchased the hotel, but rather they ought to have just funded the losses as they were doing, which was in the neighbourhood of about $1m per month, meaning that for over the past 24 to 30 months the most we would have funded would have been about $30m and so you will see the numbers.”

Mr Davis said the government needed to “come clean” on the deal.

When he spoke about the sale, Mr Cooper said he had concerns about the numbers that had been presented by the Minnis administration. He further questioned what officials had given to RCI and ITM in concessions.

“We’re happy for Grand Bahama,” Mr Cooper said, “Lord knows they need a break. They still have saltwater coming out of their taps that they are paying for. They have an electricity surcharge so any good news for Grand Bahama is a good thing.

“But I am concerned about the numbers. The government has been less than transparent. They paid $65m for a $40m appraised hotel. I estimate that they’ve spent more than $100m (and) now they are selling the property for $50m.

“In simple math that’s a loss of $50m, so that’s the first point,” he estimated.

“The second point that I want to examine is that the heads of agreement will lay out what rebates (and) what concessions the government has given, so $50m comes through the front door. I want to know what’s going through the back door?”

Mr Cooper continued: “I suspect that the number is significant in terms of actually hard currency payments back to the developer for whatever reason, but I expect that there will be some of those.

“I am concerned about the concessions that may not be in hard dollar terms, but generally we see a government desperate for good news and desperate people do desperate thing. Desperate people make bad deals.

“We see the government consistently made bad deals. We said it was a bad deal initially. They consistently make bad deals. They are desperate to give the people of Grand Bahama some hope and some relief.

“I hope that it’s real but I expect that when we look at the details of the heads of agreement we will be extremely disappointed by the deal that this government has cut.”

The PLP is also questioning whether this deal is tied to controversy surrounding a $2m Paradise Island project.

Toby Smith, principal of Paradise Island Lighthouse & Beach Club Company, told Tribune Business he was being “pushed into a corner” by the government following a Thursday night meeting at which he was urged to accept an “inferior” site for a development intended to provide jobs for 40 Bahamians.

He argued that his interests and plans, which he has pursued for eight years, are suddenly in danger of being sacrificed to ensure Royal Caribbean completes the Grand Lucayan resort’s purchase and redevelopment.

Through this Grand Bahama mega-investment, some 3,000 direct and indirect jobs would be created for Bahamians, according to Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis.


Naughtydread 3 years, 7 months ago

Has any (I mean any) single deal the PLP or Brave Davis have ever done in history added up? I didn't even think the PLP used checks and balances, surprised Davis can count past 10 with his grubby little sticky fingers.


joeblow 3 years, 7 months ago

The Bahamas would have a better future if 'Brave", Hubert Minnis and Fred Mitchell would just keel over somewhere! If only!


moncurcool 3 years, 7 months ago

I have 2 words for Davis - SHUT UP! Tribune please stop putting a mic in front of this man.


BMW 3 years, 7 months ago

This short greasy grubby finger man needs to explain his dealings with the fire station in freeport as well as his dealings with the owner of the very incompitent company that has been trying to finish the fishing hole for the last four years.


Hoda 3 years, 6 months ago

Ginn didnt add up, why he and his party couldnt sell Princess but all of sudden they know everything about how to flip a hotel, doesnt add u0


licks2 3 years, 6 months ago

Or the BAMSI and dump deals etc! The Bahamian public has already rejected him even before he run for PM!! Yet instead of them "hiding" him, they continually bring him out in the public to make a bigger fool of himself!! What happened. . .they "shipped" Alfred Sears off somewhere aye? Yinna PLPs. . .please "moo" this man from round here please!! Iffin yinna een ger moo him. . .learn him some common sense and logic thinking. . .please!!


proudloudandfnm 3 years, 6 months ago

I have one word for Brave....

Pegasus..... Ginn.... Nassau dump.... BPL....

Now shut up and go sit down, the adults are talking....


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