DPM: Port Lucaya Marketplace owners playing “hardball” with insurers

DPM: Port Lucaya Marketplace owners playing “hardball” with insurers
Deputy Prime Minister and Minster of Finance K Peter Turnquest (FILE PHOTO)

Operators blamed work permit issues for restoration delays

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — The Lucayan Marketplace owners have been accused of playing “hardball” with insurers to the detriment of its tenants and Grand Bahama.

That assertion came from Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance Peter Turnquest when asked about a Facebook post by Lucaya Marketplace on September 20.

In that status update posting, the Port Lucaya Marketplace operators said, “We would like to inform all tenants and patrons that we are using our best endeavors to open Port Lucaya Marketplace as soon as possible. Port Lucaya Marketplace has suffered damage due to the passing of Hurricane Dorian and we have to be 100 per cent certain that the property is structurally sound for us to start the clean-up process.”

The post continued, “The owners of Port Lucaya made a special trip from Europe, due to the urgency of the matter, to meet with the loss adjusters in person. However, upon the owners arrival, it was brought to their attention that the loss adjusters were asked to leave Freeport immediately as a result of not having the necessary work permits. This has now caused our efforts to come to a standstill. Until the insurance surveyors’ and engineering surveyors’ assessments of the buildings are completed, we are unable to start any cleanup, rebuilding nor renovations due to liability that the insurance companies are not prepared to cover until Port Lucaya is structurally sound.”

The post concluded, “We are extremely disappointed and deeply frustrated with this situation, and we are making all efforts to bring the surveyors back with the necessary work permits as we are very concerned about our 47 employees and keeping our tenants in business. If anyone can assist in speeding up the process of obtaining work permits, we will greatly appreciate your assistance.”

However, Deputy Prime Minister Turnquest asserted that the owners were playing hardball with the insurers to “the detriment of the island and the tenants.”Minister for Grand Bahama Kwasi Thompson told Eyewitness News he had a meeting with the owners.

“There is a process that Immigration and the Insurance Commission has,” he said. “All they had to do was follow the process and those things would have been taken care of.”

The Port Lucaya Marketplace is the largest shopping, dining and entertainment open air facility in the Bahamas, with multiple specialty stores, boutiques and restaurants. The facility situated on the Lucayan Strip in the heart of Grand Bahama’s main tourism area, adjacent was purchased by British businessman Peter Hunt some four years ago.