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EDITORIAL: A deal that’s been a long time coming

THE announcement of the buyer for the Grand Lucayan Resort has been long coming.

The deal, which will see the resort purchased for $100m by the Electra America Hospitality Group presuming that the due diligence finds no problems, has very much been spearheaded by Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper.

It also takes the place of the previous deal done with Royal Caribbean International and the ITM Group.

In sheer numbers, the old deal would have seen the hotel purchased for $65m in that deal as part of an initial investment of $195m which included the redevelopment of Freeport Harbour.

The harbour is no longer linked in the new deal, and comes in at $100m, with a commitment of $300m in renovation and construction costs.

There will be 2,000 construction jobs, with 80 percent of those going to Bahamians, and an estimated 1,000 permanent jobs to be created.

Even the FNM offered “very cautious” optimism over the deal, with former Minister of State for Finance Kwasi Thompson saying: “Grand Bahamians have been waiting a very long time to see the full redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan.”

He also said that “the devil is always in the details” and he’s right – we will all wait to see the full details, but Mr Cooper has promised to reveal the details next week.

If all goes according to plan, however, it is a foundation that Grand Bahama can build on as it starts what seems like the latest in very many recovery attempts.

Grand Bahama has seen many false dawns, and there will be a mixture of delight at the prospect of a deal having been done, and scepticism that we’ve been here before.

It was thought that the Royal Caribbean International deal was the solution previously, but that stalled and stalled, then drifted, then dissolved completely.

That cannot happen again – and we look forward to hearing more about the deal, and more from our country’s new business partners. The managing partner of Electra has already talked of creating a “world-class location” and looking “to revive a community that has been so ravaged over recent years”.

That’s the right kind of talk, and the right kind of attitude for Grand Bahama.

Now we must make sure we do our due diligence thoroughly – we should remember the albatross that the Oban deal became around the necks of the Minnis administration – and make sure the deal is sealed properly.

If all is as it appears, it’s an opportunity that Grand Bahama can ill afford to lose.

COVID in schools

As parents picked up their children from a number of schools yesterday, they received the news that many will have been dreading – it’s back to virtual learning for many students after a series of COVID cases in schools.

First, Stephen Dillet School suspended face-to-face learning – and that’s been followed by Saint Augustine’s College, St Anne’s School and Queen’s College after incidences of COVID-19 on campus.

There will be a briefing today by the Office of the Prime Minister to give a further update with regard to COVID and schools – but as cases have been inching upwards again, this was always a possibility that schools would find themselves in a position to have to close their doors again.

For the health of staff and students, it is the right choice – even if it is one we wish did not have to be taken, especially as we head towards exam season.

Most importantly, it’s a reminder of why we need to keep taking the precautions we have been – wearing masks, keeping our distance, sanitising, limiting contact.

Perhaps it’s too late to stop another wave of school shutdowns, but the more we do that, the likelier it is those doors will open again soon.

We have to play our part, so that the schools can make the most of their role.

Comments

birdiestrachan 1 month, 3 weeks ago

The sale of the hotel was the same as the OBAN deal it was a great big LIE.

Because that Harbour story made no sense. The cruise line already had a relationship with Hutchison at the harbour and they could have made a deal with Hutchison to buy the hotel in the first place.

Doc seems not to have the ability to speak the truth,. Now he has become the "NO COMEBACK KID"

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truetruebahamian 1 month, 3 weeks ago

Birdiestrachan, give it up - your perspectives bore us and it seems even bore yourself.

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Maximilianotto 1 month, 3 weeks ago

This will be a „world class bargain“ for Electra as government cannot back out. Let’s wait for the final agreements. Guess taxpayers will have to gift Electra $200,000,000 deducted from purchase price. Israelis and Paul Wynn(?) are uberclever spending more time with strategic brainstorming than ribbon cutting. Let’s wait for disclosure of the final deal - if ever.

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realfreethinker 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I am skeptical of anyone claiming to spend $400m on a resort and does not have an airport to bring in the guests to fill it up LOL

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TimesUp 1 month, 3 weeks ago

I just hope that this is more than your typical buy and hold investment strategy where they pump in share holder money, clear out all the rooms, do minor cosmetic fixes and then aim to flip it as a blank slate to an actual hotel management company.

I also hope there has been research and due diligence by the company outside of asking elected officials. Why were the the port not at the rally? Must be really bad for them to turn down a photo opp.

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