It’s been made finally official – the Keith Mitchell-led New National Party (NNP) government in St. George’s is moving to acquire the privately-owned Grenadian by Rex Resort at Point Salines.
Word of this has been circulating on the island since notice of acquisition of the hotel was first published in the Government Gazette earlier in the month.
Speaking at the weekly post-Cabinet press briefing held at the Ministerial Complex on Tuesday, Minister of Health, Nickolas Steele, who is the Member of Parliament for the Town of St. George’s confirmed to reporters that the acquisition is in process.
Speculation is rife that the operators of the Canadian based Sunwing Airline are engaged in discussions with the Mitchell administration to lay its hands on Rex that was built in the early 1990’s under the former Congress government of Sir Nicholas Brathwaite.
Jamaican hotel tycoon, Butch Stewart has also expressed interest in the past of purchasing the hotel from its owner.
Minister Steele told reporters that discussions are currently being held between government and the Grenadian by Rex Resort aimed at arriving at an “amicable” solution to the issue since the State is serious about acquiring the property.
He said government holds the view that the Grenadian by Rex Resort, which has been operating in Grenada for over 20 years, is “not serving the public-at-large as best as possible.”
“Our intention is for an amicable solution right now. In our opinion, the property isn’t serving the public as best as it can. If a solution can be found with any party there, then we would be happy we have an amicable solution to it”, he said.
“That’s the discussion that is being held right now. Government has many options but we are not going to be taking any one of those particular options or any one particular option,” he added.
The senior government minister hinted that government’s move to acquire the hotel is aimed at sending a message to the owners that “we are serious, that time is of the essence and we want something done”.
He said the effect is that the owners of the hotel have come “to the table” for discussion in light of the fact that “government has many other cards that they can play in terms of a way forward”.
If the acquisition goes ahead, the owners of the hotel are guaranteed payment of millions of dollars in compensation most likely from the new operators and not the cash-strapped Mitchell administration.