LARGER than Life – he’s rich. He’s powerful. But what kind of a boss is Peter Nygard… asks the Fifth Estate in presenting an alarming documentary of interviews with former employees, who describe their experience over the years with Canadian fashion designer Peter Nygard.
Born in Helsinki, Finland, in 1943 – there is no listing for the day or month of his birth – Mr Nygard came to the Bahamas in 1987 and built his resort at Nygard Cay in Lyford Cay. He became a permanent resident. Over the years he has been more than generous with donations to amateur sports in the Bahamas.
However, he ran into trouble with the Ingraham government when his three-acre property, which he had purchased, grew over the years — by “accretion” he called it — into about six acres, which he had not purchased. The government ordered him to stop “reclaiming” the seabed, the property of the Crown. But the “accretion” continued.
The Ingraham government was voted from office in May last year and now Nygard, and the government find themselves engulfed in embarrassment as a Nygard-produced video went viral a few weeks ago and alarmed Bahamians on learning that Nygard had taken “back the Bahamas.”
The perception was that Mr Nygard, after being so generous with the PLP, had expected something in return. His approach was typical of persons who have so much money that they seem to think that the world belongs to them.
Mr Nygard’s bold declaration that he had taken the Bahamas back, and certain comments by some of his Bahamian religious friends that although the Ingraham government had ordered the work at Lyford Cay stopped, they had to make certain that the Christie “government is not saying it… that’s all.” Mr Ingraham’s government had said that without permits, the reclamation was illegal.
Bahamians agree with Rev CB Moss who believes that “Mr Nygard is having too much to say in the business of the Bahamian people.”
Prime Minister Christie declared on Tuesday that he could not wait to get on the floor of the House on Wednesday to clear up the Nygard row. However, the day went by and then the evening, but no Mr Christie, although he was in the House. The House adjourned to Monday morning. It is hoped that we will then hear from Mr Christie, whose colleagues have vehemently denied that their government is in Mr Nygard’s pocket.
Mr Christie appeared surprised in the House yesterday when Opposition leader Dr Hubert Minnis revealed that Mr Nygard had sworn an affidavit which said:
“In addition, I am one of the major backers of opposition leader Perry Christie and his PLP party. An election is expected to be held soon. Louis Bacon is a major financial donor to the present FNM government. I believe Mr Bacon wishes to discredit the PLP party by arranging false charges against me since I am a major PLP financial contributor who is associated by the public with the PLP.”
To assist Mr Christie this affidavit can be found in the Magistrates Court file for last year in the case brought by Mr Nygard against eight defendants with Louis Bacon heading the list. The reference is on page 10 para 12(d). The affidavit was sworn by Mr Nygard in Los Angeles, California, on April 2, 2012.
Although Mr Christie did not give his promised statement, Opposition Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner in a calm measured tone described the importance of perception. Although Mr Christie has denied that Mr Nygard has in anyway influenced his government, Mr Nygard’s behaviour and bold statements appear to negate those denials. It’s all in the perception, Mrs Butler-Turner explained – remember we are told that like possessions, “perception is nine-tenths of the law.” She warned parliamentarians to be “careful of the gifts they accept” from certain individuals because of the impression it could give not only to Bahamians, but to the world.
Mr Nygard, listed as the 70th richest Canadian, probably will fail to understand how much his actions have embarrassed his good friends to whom he has been so generous. He might think it pay back time, but many Bahamians will find the very thought scandalous, particularly in our political setting.
However, Mr Christie who has been Mr Nygard’s friend for many years, will certainly appreciate the situation that his Canadian friend has created for him.