Categorized | National News

The Opposition demands answers on Grand Lucayan

Opposition Deputy Leader Chester Cooper said the government’s handling of the Grand Lucayan sale and the myriad of issues involved would be laughable if the stakes are  not so high.

His comments come just one day after the managers of Bahamas Hotel Managerial Association went to court because they were not pleased with the payout offered by the Hotel Corporation. 

“We are now learning that a settlement for managers who wish to depart the resort is being arbitrated by the Industrial Tribunal in Grand Bahama, and the voluntary separation involved in this tranche of layoffs will cost taxpayers $3-$5 million.

“This is in addition to the more than $3 million already paid to separated line staff, plus a reported $3.5 million for renovations.

“We can add to that amount the $30 million in cash paid to Hutchison upfront for the hotel before the sale was completed.

“Added to that amount is the reported $35 million mortgage the government has executed with Hutchison, and the associated closing costs of the sale.

“On top of that is the running total of government subsidized operating costs for the hotel, at last estimation by the government to be just shy of $2 million per month.

“Since we do not know, and the Minister of Finance is yet to say, we should probably place that amount at around $14 million, ” said Mr. Coope.

He added that the minister must say whether this is accurately reflected in government expenditure in a mid-year budget on which the government has suppressed debate.

He  said that now is the time for the Minister of Finance to disclose the cost of this entire ordeal.

“What exactly is the cost so far? How many tax dollars, exactly, are we projected to spend before the sale closes?

“While the Minister of Finance is at it, we also ask that he states how many bidders for the purchase of the hotel have signed non-disclosure agreements versus the number of bidders who have actually submitted proposals.

“What it the revised timeline for the sale? It seems clear that even the last date guessed at by the government will not be met,” said the Deputy leader of  the PLP.

He further opined that the lack of transparency and accountability are a breach of trust by Dr. Minnis and the FNM.

Written by Jones Bahamas

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