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Former Minister of Works Bradley Roberts is suggesting that  the  sale of  the Our Lucaya Hotel property in Grand Bahama has collapsed.

In a commentary to the Media, the former Chairman of  the Progressive Liberal Party  wrote, “It has come to my attention that the now infamous on again, off again sale of the Lucaya Hotel complex in Grand Bahama is now off again and the properties are back on the international market for sale. If this is true then the Minnis government has abjectly failed the people of Grand Bahama and by extension the country in its promise to revitalize the economy of Grand Bahama. 

“Several Government Ministers have made public statements to the effect that a deal to purchase the said properties was “very close” to fruition but alas, to date nothing substantive has materialized to the chagrin of Grand Bahamians,” said Mr. Roberts.

He said former Prime Minister the Rt. Hon. Perry G. Christie outlined the status of the sale of these hotels during his campaign stops in Grand Bahama in the run up to the 2017 general elections. Mr. Christie said that his government was close to signing off on a deal for the purchase and the former Tourism Minister along with Tourism officials and government lawyers visited the Wynn group in Toronto, Canada for face to face negotiations in an attempt to finalize the terms of a Head of Agreement on this sale.

“In the wake of the results of the 2017 general elections, a sealed deal appeared a slam dunk and academic for the incoming Minnis administration. This deal was a low hanging fruit. First the State Minister for Grand Bahama said that a deal was imminent. Mr. know it all Peter Turnquest then told Parliament that agreeing to the deal left in place by the PLP government was akin to the government pulling down its proverbial pants therefore the deal was rejected.

“It was reported that the FNM government tried to shop the project to the Izmerlian group who called the property garbage and literally walked away, leaving senior government officials embarrassed and with their mouths dropped wide open. Later, it was reported that the Wynn group was back at the negotiating table with the government followed by more announcements that a deal was close. I now hear that negotiations have fallen flat just like the Oban deal but no word is forthcoming from the government,” said Roberts.

He says, “other projects on Grand Bahama that were in the advanced stages of completion in May 2017 were the LNG plant for Grand Bahama and a Carnival Cruise port. These initiatives complemented more than $100 million in infrastructure development in Grand Bahama over the term of the Christie administration. These included the refurbishment of all public clinics, a new government complex for west Grand Bahama, a new fire station, a new school for west Grand Bahama and a brand new elevated Fishing Hole Causeway. The PPP labour agreement with the Grand Bahama Shipyard was designed to replace some 600 work permit holders with young Bahamian tradesmen over several years. Together these projects executed in just five short years under the PLP represented a sound foundation of progress on which to build but it appeared that in less than one year the Minnis government has managed to scuttle all of them and with it, squandered much of the wave of political goodwill and political capital that propelled the FNM party into government. What a shame. The fall was precipitous and spectacular by any objective measure,” Mr. Roberts said.

“It is high time that Dr. Minnis come clean with the suffering people of Grand Bahama and offer an accurate, sober and frank account of his government’s stewardship, inclusive of major stumbles and missteps along the way.

“As far as I am concerned,” said Mr. Roberts, “the Minnis Government’s terrible handling of the Oban deal is equaled in incompetence with the handling of the pending sale of Our Lucaya. It should be clear to all and sundry that the Government desperately needs help in getting this Hotel deal closed. Will PM Minnis accept assistance from the Opposition? The Leader of the Opposition is on record as saying that the Opposition stands ready and able to assist the government in any area of governance that proves to be in the best interest of the Bahamian people.”

He said, “If the Government stops wasting the people’s scarce resources on private audits that are glorified witch hunts, let the Office of the Auditor General do its job, and focus on bringing overdue relief to hurting and suffering unemployed Bahamians, then maybe Grand Bahama and indeed The Bahamas would stand a chance of being further along in respect to post-recession economic recovery and real growth.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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