Hotel Corp. determined to keep govt-owned properties out of hands of ‘grifters’
Chairman of the Hotel Corporation of The Bahamas Michael Scott said yesterday that the corporation is determined to keep government-owned properties out of the hands of “grifters” and those without the means to successfully develop the projects they put forward.
Scott, who was a speaker at the Andros Business Outlook, said the corporation has no interest in seeing properties that it sells to investors flipped for a profit, but for investors who take on these properties from the hotel corporation to produce meaningful developments that benefit the islands they are on and the surrounding communities.
“The hotel corporation is not a real estate agent,” Scott said. “We will not allow the flipping of property.”
Scott said the corporation is interested in selling a “vision in order to create an opportunity”, which he said was the model the corporation followed when it negotiated the sale of the Grand Lucayan resort.
He said it was interested in creating the “basis for day traffic and stay traffic” by selling the Grand Lucayan to developers who could stimulate growth on Grand Bahama.
He reminded his audience that the Grand Bahama project, which is a partnership between Royal Caribbean Cruises and ITM, is expected to draw one million tourists annually and create about 2,500 jobs.
“So that’s the model we engaged,” he said.
Scott told Androsians that the hotel corporation wants to see a similar thing happen for the Andros Lighthouse Yacht Club and Marina in Fresh Creek.
According to Scott, a deal to redevelop that property fell through because the “purchaser in that case was fronting”.
He said there are other groups of Bahamians interested in redeveloping the iconic club, including the owner of Kamalame Cay.
Scott said the corporation wants to see Bahamians become partners in the hotel business, operating in tandem with proprietors who are local or foreign.
“We want to encourage developers who are going to have the wherewithal, skill and experience to harness the untapped potential of Andros and Androsians,” he said.
He said the theme of any sale the hotel corporation engages in must be one of connecting developers to the community.
“We see ourselves as coordination agencies to inspire the necessary linkages to ensure that we ourselves do our part to facilitate the transition of Bahamians from subordinate roles, to partners with investors, whether they be foreign investors or Bahamians investors,” said Scott.
He added that infrastructure needs to be created in order to spur economic growth on the island of Andros. He said if that does not happen, Androsians could move to places like Grand Bahama when the opportunities there take off.
“There will be nothing happening here if they leave,” he said.
Education: Florida International University, BS in Journalism