No timeline for opening
Owners of the Grand Lucaya hotel in Grand Bahama – Hutchinson Whampoa – failed to reinvest into the property after collecting the insurance proceeds from damages sustained in 2016, which prevented the resort from reopening and in essence crippled the Grand Bahamian economy, according Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Agular, who made the revelation during a government tour of the property yesterday.
Fielding questions from reporters, D’Agular said that government would look to re-establish negations with the Sunwing group that had a partnership with the Memories Resort, to bring in thousands of guests.
“The Sunwing group was successful,” D’ Agular said.
“The only reason they did not come back is because Hutchinson Whampoa, the owners took the insurance proceeds and decided not to reinvest it into the property.”
During the tour, led by Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis, it was also revealed that government had already paid a $10million dollar deposit to the owners to facilitate the sale and the final arrangements are expected within 30 days.
“I want to send a strong message,” Dr. Minnis said. “We are in a holding space to preserve and protect the Grand Bahamian economy. Once a sale is available this hotel is gone from us.”
Dr. Minnis admitted that the sale of the hotel is not the best or popular option, however, he stressed that the domino effect of its opening would be the shot in the arm the Grand Bahamian economy needs to stabilize.
He shared his optimism that a group of Bahamians would be able to acquire the resort.
“We want to be able to offer Bahamians concessions even more so than the foreign investors … so we can have our own Bahamian Butch Stuart, like a Sandals…,” he said.
“We want to create that here.”
The prime minister promised to give a full report on government’s acquisition of the resort when Parliament resumes next month.
No timeline has been given on when the resort will open.