WELL, so much for the Grand Lucayan deal.
After all the talk of an “imminent” conclusion to the deal or things being resolved “soon”, the government has finally pulled the plug on the agreement with Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines/ITM Group.
It has seemed for a long time as if something wasn’t quite right with the deal – or else it would have been done and sorted.
Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper, who had been critical of the deal struck by the Minnis administration, was the one to announce the end of the agreement yesterday, saying “the way it was structured was not in the best interests of the Bahamian people”.
Instead, the government is going to keep on financing the property, at a cost of up to $1.5m a month, to keep the value of the property and to prop up Grand Bahama as a destination. It’s a far from ideal solution – but credit to the government for making a decision and not just waiting forever.
Mr Cooper says that six “very credible” potential investors have been identified. We must see how genuine such investors are – along with their interest in a potential purchase.
Regardless, this puts us back at square one with years of time wasted on the Royal Caribbean deal.
One of the problems is that the previous deal linked the Grand Lucayan progression with a deal for the purchase of the port in Grand Bahama by Royal Caribbean. Mr Cooper seems to be separating that link, saying: “I don’t think that one has much to do with the other, quite frankly.”
He called the move “ill-conceived”.
So we shall see what Mr Cooper can bring to the table. Deals must be negotiated from a fresh start, so don’t expect any of those “imminent” developments.
It is sad that the matter could not be resolved – not least for employees whose future continues to be uncertain.
We hope Mr Cooper can very quickly bring some measure of certainty to those workers – and to a Grand Bahama community that is desperate for investment.
Pictures of large gatherings at the weekend have been circulating on social media – causing consternation, frustration and bringing the prospect of changes to COVID regulations.
It seems nonsensical that so much time was spent deliberating over the safety of the Christmas Carnival only for other events to be held that pack people in close quarters in the ideal circumstances for the COVID-19 virus to spread.
Health officials must be infuriated looking at such gatherings – as we shall reap what we sow, and many of those who attended such events could end up in hospital themselves or spread the virus to more vulnerable relatives and friends.
Health and Wellness Minister Dr Michael Darville has already said that these events could be “super spreader events” and expressed concern at events that have been approved but which do not adhere to measures set out by officials.
He warned that there may be “some adjustments on how we move forward with large gatherings”.
If there are, we can’t complain if we’ve brought it on ourselves by failing to follow even basic protocols that we all know by now.
It makes no sense to sabotage our own success in bringing down numbers like this – and an increase in cases could harm people’s health, jobs and cost lives.
We know it’s hard to keep showing patience and determination – but that’s what it takes. Do what you can to help those who are trying to take care of our health. Lives literally depend on it.