FORMER state finance minister Kwasi Thompson said the announcement that the Davis administration has found a purchaser for the Grand Lucayan is reason for “very cautious” optimism.
Under the former Minnis administration in 2019, a letter of intent for the hotel’s purchase was signed with Royal Caribbean International and the ITM Group.
However, the Davis administration in December 2021 cancelled the deal citing bad terms negotiated.
Yesterday, in the hours after the announcement that Electra America Hospitality Group made a $100m purchase offer for the hotel, Mr Thompson sought to justify why the Free National Movement’s attempt at selling the resort did not go through as planned.
Mr Thompson said: “Today’s Grand Lucayan announcement gives us a reason for very cautious optimism. Grand Bahamians have been waiting a very long time to see the full redevelopment of the Grand Lucayan. We have already experienced two memorandum of understandings/letters of intent in recent years.
“We need to see actual development and employment. Grand Bahamians no longer get excited by announcements. We have been there and done that. However, the devil is always in the details. We await to see the full details of the deal and its benefits for the people of Grand Bahama.”
“The previous FNM administration took the bold step of purchasing the Grand Lucayan and agreed to sell the hotel to Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the ITM Group. However, due to the pandemic, RCCL and ITM Group requested that the original Heads of Agreement be amended which would have significantly altered the deal. The changes were never fully agreed to by the previous FNM administration.
“The current PLP Administration subsequently cancelled the deal with RCCL and ITM.”
He questioned the level of airlift on the island to sustain the hotel.
“We hope to learn more about the details of the deal. The Grand Bahamian public will be interested in learning the details of when will the actual renovations begin, when and how Bahamians can participate in the redevelopment, what are the number of concessions that will be paid and over what timeframe, and what will happen to the existing employees?
“Also, what forms of new airlift and when will they begin, what is the development plan and timeline, and what is the overall vision for the island’s tourism product? Grand Bahama needs a development that can integrate our cruise potential, bring additional airlift to sustain the redevelopment, and release the untapped potential of the island.”
The former administration purchased the resort in August 2018 for $65m and is said to have spent around $1.2m to $1.5m in operations costs monthly.