THE long arm of the law doesn’t seem so long in The Bahamas.
With the case of Peter Nygard in the headlines once more, following his arrest in Canada and indictment in New York, the question was raised again as to what the authorities here have done to investigate his crimes.
Police Commissioner Paul Rolle gave his answer yesterday. He said: “We dispatched officers to his residence and on arrival, we were informed that he had left and we met persons loading all of his belongings into shipping containers.
“We made contact with Nygard and he refused to return and surrender to The Bahamas and that’s the last of it so as far as we know, he’s never been interviewed by local police and all of our complaints that came in, came in after he left.”
Is that it? Knock on his door, get told he’s not around then get in touch to ask him if he’s coming back and get told no? That’s the sum total of the investigation, is it?
Commissioner Rolle said he would not discuss the matter further because the matter is “sub judice” – that is, it is before the courts. But Mr Nygard has not been arrested in The Bahamas so in law there are no active legal proceedings - therefore, no sub judice. What happens in a foreign country - the United States or Canada - has no bearing in law on what happens here and vice versa.
And what else have the police here done? Did they approach the police in Canada to try and speak to Canada? Did they approach the FBI which raided Nygard’s offices in the US? Has the police attempted to liaise with any international agencies to ensure Mr Nygard could be quizzed about the accusations? And if not, why not?
More to the point, there are a number of other allegations involving people right here in The Bahamas – the police officers and politically-connected figures who it has been alleged were involved in helping to silence accusations against Mr Nygard or otherwise enable the network he is accused of setting up to snare his victims. What about those people? Have officers knocked on those doors yet?
Commissioner Rolle says the police force has not received any official complaints of “complicity” between local officers and Mr Nygard.
The lawyer representing women included in a New York civil action against Mr Nygard yesterday said he hoped inquiries here would continue, saying “justice delayed is justice denied” and adding: “We would think it’s doubly important for the Bahamian authorities to address the allegations of government corruption as well.”
We would agree. Whether Mr Nygard stands in a Bahamas court to face charges or not, those around Mr Nygard must be investigated thoroughly.
Here in The Bahamas, he is accused of raping women and under-age girls, and using his associates to both find his victims and cover his tracks afterwards. If we do not treat that as a matter of national concern, then it is a matter of national shame. If these crimes did indeed take place as has been detailed, then Mr Nygard is not the only one to hold to account. Knocking on one door is far from enough.
Welcome back, Baha Mar
Just as we celebrated the reopening of Atlantis, so too do we celebrate the reopening of Baha Mar yesterday.
The Grand Hyatt is the first hotel back in the Baha Mar complex, with 1,800 rooms open and staff getting back to work after 7,000 COVID-19 tests were administered by Baha Mar.
The first guests came through the door yesterday and yesterday resort president outlined one more precaution – with guests taking a rapid test on arrival and remaining isolated in their rooms for 30 minutes while awaiting their results.
It has been a hard road to get here – not least of all for those workers waiting to get back to their jobs. One such employee told The Tribune yesterday of the struggle, saying “it was a strain for me, but I kept it together”.
There are others still undergoing that strain, let us not forget. So as Christmas approaches, let us remember to keep following the safety measures we all know by now – so that more staff can get back to work, and we don’t have to go through such a big shutdown again.
The end is not here yet – but it is in sight.