By BRENT STUBBS
Senior Sports Reporter
WHILE he admitted that he would like to see a better support system in place to fund local sporting events to counteract what he has done over the past two decades, businessman Peter Nygard said he never says no to his long-time friend and brother, King Eric Gibson.
Nygard, during a press conference at his unique house at Nygard Gay in Lyford Cay, presented Gibson with a cheque for $10,000 for the Acklins Regatta August 1-4. It’s expected that the regatta site at Spring Point will be named in honour of Gibson.
Nygard said when he was contacted by Gibson, he couldn’t turn him down because “he’s the King.”
Nygard, however, said that having financed countless sporting activities over the years, he’s hoping that there can be a similar system put in place like the one he initiated for the ‘Golden Girls’ in their lead up to the 2000 Olympic Games.
Nygard matched the amount that was raised by the general public and the total funds was used to assist the various sporting programmes over a period of time. It was estimated that some $250,000 was raised at the time.
Additionally, Nygard has made a contribution to just about every regatta held in the country. He noted that Gibson has been responsible for getting him to assist the regattas, but when he was approached this time, he couldn’t turn down his friend.
Nygard’s contribution came on the heels of hosting the historic Independence Day Regatta at Clifton Pier on Independence Day. Nygard made a contribution of more than $50,000 towards the hosting of the regatta that was headed by Rev Dr Philip McPhee.
Accepting the cheque, Gibson said the contribution will go a long way in making it a good “Christmas” for the people of Acklins. Gibson said he knows he can count on Nygard to assist in the manner that he has done over the years.
Also on hand for the presentation was V Alfred Gray, member of parliament for MICAL, which includes Acklins.
Gray is also the minister of agriculture, marine resources and local government, which has the responsibility for regattas.
“King Eric, who is legendary, is from Acklins and this year the organisers have chosen to honour him by renaming the regatta site after him,” Gray said. “King Eric is deserving of all that we can say about him.”
As a consultant in his ministry, Gray said he’s appreciative of the contribution that Gibson has made to regattas and even though his steps are much slower than they were, his mouth is still very loud.
“It’s always good to give honour to those who deserve it while they are able to appreciate it,” Gray said. “Every now and again, we need to stop and show how much we appreciate people. So I want to congratulate King Eric on the site being named after him.”
Gray went a bit further and said that while every dollar counts, it takes about $75,000 to stage the regatta in Acklins and he’s appreciative of whatever support he receives because the Bahamas Government can’t fund all of the regattas that are being held.
“He doesn’t have to do this. He is a Bahamian, a wealthy Bahamian, but a lot of people around him are also sharing the same thing. They are Bahamians too,” he said. “How many of them come forward and make a contribution. This is a nation building. It’s not about Nygard. It’s not about the government. It’s about contributing to a country of which you belong and you’re a citizen. I’m talking about every Bahamian, especially those who are wealthy and can do something.”
Gray said he is packed and ready to go to Acklins and he encouraged the Bahamian public to join him next weekend when they honour Gibson. But for those persons who can’t make the trip, Gray encouraged them to travel and participate in any of the other regattas being held in the other Family Islands.