Bahamas: Prime Minister Intervenes On Hotel Grand Lucayan ‘Looting’

The Prime Minister “aggressively” intervened to prevent Hutchison Whampoa “looting” the Grand Lucayan on the eve of the Government’s takeover, Tribune Business was told yesterday.

Michael Scott, chairman of Lucayan Renewal Holdings, the Government-owned special purpose vehicle (SPV) that now controls the resort, confirmed to this newspaper that the Grand Lucayan could have been rendered inoperable by the former owner stripping it of key assets.

Arguing that Hutchison Whampoa’s actions represented “a fundamental breach of contract”, and could have resulted in a legal battle, Mr Scott said the Government’s prompt action – led by Dr Minnis – had “avoided that happening”.

He added that himself and other Lucayan Renewal Holdings directors had been “horrified” when tipped-off to what was occurring on the night of September 10th, just hours before the Government – through the SPV – was to assume operational and management control at Freeport’s anchor property.

Among the assets involved were golf carts and service vehicles, plus a host of IT-related devices such as laptops, ipads and computer monitors, which Hutchison Whampoa intended to redeploy at its other corporate offices in Freeport.

Mr Scott, responding after Chester Cooper alluded to the dispute during his House of Assembly, confirmed the Opposition’s deputy leader was “correct” in what he had said about Hutchison Whampoa’s actions.

“What they did was they took the view, some lawyer, that the handover was going to occur at midnight on September 10/morning of September 11,” the veteran attorney told Tribune Business. “They were in a hurry to get out on September 11, so we moved to take over management and control.

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