By RASHAD ROLLE
Tribune Senior Reporter
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party leader Philip “Brave” Davis said allegations against Peter Nygard in a new indictment “are extremely serious and disturbing and should be pursued to the full extent of the law”.
“We hope the women involved receive justice,” he said in a Twitter post yesterday afternoon.
The comment came after the Free National Movement released press statements accusing the PLP of being silent on the matter. Mr Nygard was a benefactor of the PLP for years.
“For too long Philip ‘Brave’ Davis, Fred Mitchell and the PLP’s senior leadership sat quietly saying nothing as troubling allegations swirled around Peter Nygard,” the FNM said.
“They have consistently tried to sidestep the matter and dodged accountability for their party. This must stop. They must come to realise that these allegations – detailed in the new indictment – demand a response.
“Prosecutors painted a horrifying picture. They allege Nygard forcibly sexually assaulted some of his victims while others were assaulted by Nygard’s associates. The indictment made clear some of his alleged victims include young Bahamian girls.
“If convicted, it was also reported that prosecutors want Nygard to forfeit all proceeds derived from his alleged racketeering activity and any property used to commit or facilitate his alleged sex trafficking activity. This is a good first step. We hope the PLP will agree with the rest of us.
“And instead of obfuscating and avoiding addressing the troubling allegations, Davis and his PLP leadership team should give a full accounting of their party’s relationship with Nygard to the Bahamian people. Bahamians want to know how much Nygard contributed to the PLP’s 2017 campaign when Davis was former Prime Minister Perry Christie’s top lieutenant. There are reports of significant contributions dating back a decade: How much did it cost to buy the PLP’s friendship? Will the PLP pledge to contribute all that money to a victims’ fund? Next, can the PLP tell us whether United States prosecutors contacted any member of the party over these troubling allegations?”
PLP chairman Fred Mitchell in a statement yesterday claimed Mr Nygard has also contributed money to the FNM’s political campaign. He called the FNM’s press statement a “distraction from the abject failures of this FNM government” and listed some of those supposed failures.
“They have spent $150 million and counting on a Grand Bahama hotel that no one works in,” he said. “There is no economic relief in sight for Grand Bahama. The FNM must stop wasting time on foolishness and get to work urgently––increasing much needed airlift into Nassau lest the recent hotel openings prove to be a temporary exercise.”
According to an indictment filed by the Southern District of New York on Tuesday, Mr Nygard allegedly participated in a “decades-long pattern of criminal conduct involving at least dozens of victims in the United States, The Bahamas and Canada, among other locations.”
The assertions in the indictment largely mirror the allegations in a class-action lawsuit filed against Mr Nygard in New York earlier this year.
The Tribune has reported extensively over the years about Mr Nygard’s legal issues and connections to local politicians.
The long-time Lyford Cay resident once bragged that he gave the PLP $5 million in the lead-up to the 2012 general election.
In 2017, details emerged of a meeting between former Prime Minister Perry Christie, former Labour Minister Shane Gibson and Mr Nygard in a luxury suite in Las Vegas shortly before the 2012 election.
That year, this newspaper reported that he sent $94,131.10 to a Bank of America account belonging to Mr Gibson between August 2011 and January 2013.
Mr Gibson said the money was used as a contribution to his 2012 election campaign and for community initiatives in the Golden Gates constituency, such as scholarships to students.
In 2013, Mr Nygard released an eight-minute celebration of the PLP’s 2012 election victory titled “Nygard Takes Bahamas Back.” In the video, Mr Nygard congratulates a group of PLP Cabinet ministers on winning the 2012 general election after the members visited Nygard Cay. The PLP politicians in the video included Mr Davis, Mr Gibson and other former ministers such as Damian Gomez, Alfred Gray, Jerome Fitzgerald and Kenred Dorsett.
In 2016, covert video recordings of Mr Nygard were included in court documents based on an investigation paid for by Save the Bays. Lyford Cay resident Louis Bacon, who has a long running feud with Mr Nygard that has played out in court and other arenas, helped form the STB.
In a video recording on May 10, 2015 between Mr Nygard, and self-described gang members Livingston “Toggie” Bullard and Wisler “Bobo” Davilma,” Mr Nygard complained that Mr Christie made “fake promises” over issuing him a land lease.
“[Mr Christie] He’s got to do it right now,” he said. “That’s the push. That’s the push everyone’s presumably having. Brave is having. Shane Gibson’s having. You guys are pushing him. I’m pushing him and this push has to intensify now this week.”
In the video, Mr Nygard spoke about coming from a meeting with Mr Davis, then the deputy prime minister. He claimed Mr Davis said “everybody is frustrated with the PM” over the hold up over the lease.
In 2016, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis admitted that he met Mr Bullard three times. He said the pair never discussed Mr Nygard. He said Mr Bullard came to tell him that Michael Pintard, then the chairman of the FNM, was about to be set-up.