Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis repeatedly insisted during his recent tour of the beleaguered Grand Lucayan Resort in Freeport, Grand Bahama, that although his government has acquired the property, the move is only temporary and that a committee is being established to get the resort up and running.
He said he is hopeful that the government’s move to purchase the resort will serve as an incentive for Bahamians to purchase the property.
“What the government would like to do is get in and out as soon as possible,” Dr. Minnis said.
“At present, we’re establishing a committee – a committee comprised of professionals that is chaired by Michael Scott. That professional group would plan the way forward… So that would not be done by me or politicians. That would be done by the professional group that are involved in businesses.
“It’s essential for you to understand the request of the investor to purchase the hotel. We would like to see the hotel purchased from the government by Bahamians and I think the opportunity and the time has come for Bahamians, not only to be given the concessions that are laid out in heads of agreement (HOA) that are given to foreign investors, but the time has come when government take this bold step to give Bahamians even more incentive to get them in the hotel business.
“Examples are throughout the Caribbean. When you look at Butch Stewart and Sandals and what he had done with Air Jamaica, examples are there and we would like to create our own Butch Stewart within The Bahamas.”
Minister of State for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson also sought to put the government’s move to purchase the hotel into perspective.
Thompson said he believes that Grand Bahamians, having witnessed what transpired with the Royal Oasis Hotel, do not want history to repeat itself.
“Those who live in Freeport and who pass and see the impact of the closure of the Royal Oasis and the closure of the [International] Bazaar, and we see that – we do not want, we do not want, this strip and this hotel to become another Royal Oasis and become another International Bazaar,” Thompson said.
“It is important for us to see the impact of it and that is why the government has to move, it is a necessity for the government to move on this.”