Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis has defended the sale of the multi-million dollar Grand Lucayan, saying his administration wanted to ensure that “we found the right buyer who shared our vision for the renewal of Grand Bahama.”
Minnis, speaking at the heads of agreement signing on Monday, said that he was pleased that Royal Caribbean Cruise Line and the ITM Group, trading as Bahamas Ports International, “share our vision and decided to invest in the long term future and sustainability of Grand Bahama.
“This investment will create additional employment opportunities for Bahamians.”— Minnis
“Our vision was the renewal and rebirth of Grand Bahama’s tourism sector and product as an essential element in the restoration of this island’s potential,” Minnis said, adding that the developer shared their vision of reinventing the tourism product for land-based guests arriving by air and those arriving by cruise and ferry ships with a distinctive Bahamian flavour and characteristics.
“This US$250 million dollar investment will go a long way in revitalising Grand Bahama, with myriad economic and employment opportunities for more Grand Bahamians. After many false dawns, there is an exciting new horizon for our second-most populous island and economic centre,” he said.
Minnis recalled that when his administration moved to acquire the property, it took the ‘tough, and in some quarters, unpopular decision to temporarily purchase the property.
“We did so in order to save jobs. We did so to ensure the survival of a number of businesses dependent on tourism in general and the Grand Lucayan in particular. Given the economic situation in Grand Bahama, we could not in good conscience allow the full closure of the property.
“As we stated at the time, it was our intention to privatise the property as quickly as possible,” he told the signing ceremony, adding Grand Bahamas is at the beginning of a new day.”
In light of the devastation caused by Hurricane Dorian, Minnis said that the investment is critical to the country’s growth.
“This investment will create additional employment opportunities for Bahamians in construction jobs as well as in operational positions at both the hotel property and the port property,” Minnis said, adding that local businesses will also benefit from the investment.