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Bahamas: Lucayan Chair Slams ‘Nasty, Torturous’ Close

The Grand Lucayan’s chairman yesterday accused Hutchison Whampoa of displaying “a lot of bad faith” over the $65m deal’s closing, branding negotiations as “nasty and torturous”.

Michael Scott, chairman of Lucayan Renewal Holdings, the Government-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) that controls the resort, told Tribune Business he was now awaiting Cabinet approval after finally settling the closing terms and costs with the Hong Kong-based conglomerate.

“We have finally agreed the accounts with them after a long, arduous, nasty and torturous process,” he said. “I’m waiting for the Deputy Prime Minister to get formal Cabinet approval for it, and then the deal is done. It’s been nasty, and there’s been a lot of bad faith on the part of Hutchison Whampoa.”

Tribune Business understands that approval of the Grand Lucayan purchase completion will likely be sought, and discussed at next Tuesday’s full Cabinet meeting. The $300,000 monthly lease payments that the Government was making to Hutchison under the terms of a guarantee figured prominently among the many contentious issues the two sides fought over in the closing talks.

This newspaper was informed that Lucayan Renewal Holdings sought to resist the Hong Kong conglomerate’s demands that the Government pay the final monthly installments it claimed were due under this agreement, despite the underlying lease having been terminated when Memories abandoned the resort in January 2017.

The dispute relates to the deal to entice Canadian tour operator, Sunwing, to open the former Reef hotel with its Memories brand. As part of the agreement, the former Christie administration agreed to guarantee its monthly lease/rental payments to Hutchison Whampoa.

Memories’ deal foundered after the Hong Kong conglomerate, as landlord, failed to repair Hurricane Matthew-related damage to the property in the aftermath of the October 2016 storm, resulting in the Canadian resort’s departure with 400-500 direct job losses.

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