NASSAU, BAHAMAS – Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar yesterday expressed optimism the sale of the Grand Lucayan will be concluded although no deal has been struck yet.
D’Aguilar told reporters outside Cabinet, “it will happen when it happens”.
“Negotiations always take twists and turns and I am very positive, upbeat and optimistic but we don’t yet have deal,” he said.
“With negotiations you can’t put a finite date or time on when they will be concluded. There are always asks and gives and negotiations. That’s just the nature of negotiations. While the press may want a hard and fast date to hold us to, it will happen when it happens but I am optimistic that it will.
D’Aguilar said: “When you are negotiating you don’t want to show your hand and allow people to get into the particulars of it. Just rest assured that we are negotiating the best possible deal for the Bahamian people.”
Government has been negotiations with Holistica – a joint venture company formed by Royal Caribbean International and ITM Group – on the renovation and development of Freeport’s cruise port and the Grand Lucayan resort complex.
In 2016, Hurricane Matthew that caused parts of the Grand Lucayan to be shut down and the property to be subsequently taken over by the government in order to protect jobs and ensure the sale of the property.
The Grand Lucayan resort features three brands: Memories, the 500-room Breaker’s Cay and Lighthouse Pointe. The government purchased the resort for $65 million.
D’Aguilar and Grand Lucayan Renewal Holdings chairman Michael Scott have stated on several occasions that the sale is expected to be completed by year’s end.
Commenting on the government’s possible acquisition of the Grand Bahama International Airport, D’Aguilar noted the decision to sell rested with the facility’s present owner.
“If they want to do that and the terms would obviously have to be negotiated,” he added.
“There are a lot of moving parts as a part of that negotiation that I would rather not discuss in the public domain. Just be aware that the operator of that airpot is potentially looking to sell and the government is potentially looking to buy and the particulars and nuances, and facts of the deal are not ready to be discussed in the public domain.
D’Aguilar said: “There are a lot of things going on in the background that they have to sort out if they were to do it that have not been done and when they are prepared to make a formal request of the government to acquire I’m sure we will consider it at the time.”