By AVA TURNQUEST
Tribune Staff Reporter
OPPOSITION Leader Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday said he plans to table an affidavit that will prove that billionaire fashion designer Peter Nygard gave money to the Progressive Liberal Party.
Dr Minnis remained tightlipped over whether he would apologize after a standoff with Prime Minister Perry Christie in the House of Assembly, which led to both sides’ comments getting expunged from the record by speaker Dr Kendal Major on Wednesday.
In an interview with The Tribune yesterday, Dr Major said his ruling that Dr Minnis would not be allowed to speak in parliament unless he withdrew his comments about the relationship between Mr Christie and Mr Nygard – which Dr Minnis had refused to do - was not intended to be carried over to the next sitting of parliament.
However, he explained that he will not back down on his duty to enforce proper conduct and “dignified” discourse in the House of Assembly.
Dr Major said: “We’re dealing with a very highly sensitive matter and I believe there was an egregious act of offence taken to calling a prime minister ‘corrupt’ and (Dr Minnis) said to me that was not his intention and we’ll see on Monday. I don’t think he’ll take up the same stance.”
Dr Major said: “I asked him to resume his seat and he did not speak for the remainder of that session. It’s a work in progress and we’re still working through it. He and I spoke privately afterwards so it’s very likely that he would be able to speak at the next meeting. I don’t want to pre-empt anything further than that, there are a couple of other matters that need to be dealt with privately but the intent of the ruling was not that it be carried over indefinitely.”
In his contribution to the stem cell debate, Montagu MP Richard Lightbourn told House members that it is speculated that Mr Nygard, a resident of the Bahamas, was expecting certain approvals in return for donations to the governing party’s election campaign.
Since Mr Nygard’s relationship with the government has been the subject of intense scrutiny, numerous PLP MP’s have come to his defence. They say that over the years Mr Nygard has given generously to various causes, particularly sporting events. They insisted that Mr Nygard has been committed to nation building.
However, in her contribution FNM Deputy leader Loretta Butler-Turner asked MPs to consider the perception created by the controversial “Nygard takes back the Bahamas” video, in which several PLP ministers are featured.
Yesterday, Dr Minnis said: “In the video, Nygard is saying we got our country back. Nygard presumably now has the country. Parliament, the centre of government, is also a part of the country and therefore maybe I need to ask Nygard to come speak for me since he got the country back.”