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Save the Bays ‘gave nothing to the FNM’

Fred Smith

Fred Smith

By AVA TURNQUEST

Tribune Chief Reporter

aturnquest@tribunemedia.net

ATTORNEY and Save The Bays director Fred Smith yesterday stated that the environmental group has never made a political donation of any kind as he denied “mischievous” suggestions concerning the organisation’s relationship with the Free National Movement administration.

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Smith sought to make a clear distinction between his personal donations as a private citizen and his executive position with STB.

He was responding to statements by attorney Wayne Munroe, who forecast that the government’s handling of judicial matters involving the group will be the first test of the new administration’s commitment to transparency.

Mr Smith said: “On behalf of Save The Bays, I categorically deny that Save The Bays has made any political donations to anybody and it is a political mischief on behalf of Mr Munroe to say such things when he knows it to be otherwise. 

“Save The Bays is a non-partisan organisation that promotes reform in society and is in no way affiliated with any political party. There is therefore nothing for Save The Bays or the FNM party to explain to the public, except to make the record clear that there were no political contributions to the FNM party or any candidate.”

Mr Smith continued: “As to me personally, my personal decision to make a financial political donation should not be mischievously conflated or mixed up with Save The Bays. I feel that his comments are purposefully mixing up Save The Bays with the personal or otherwise arrangement Fred Smith might make for political donations. So, I want the record to be absolutely clear that Save The Bays has made no political donations to any campaign.”

In an interview with The Tribune, Mr Munroe, QC, called on the government to disclose whether any Cabinet minister had benefitted from contributions from the group, and if so, to explain the nature of the contribution and whether it constituted a conflict of interest.

Mr Munroe added that the test applied to matters concerning affiliated groups like the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association, of which many STB directors also hold executive posts. 

Mr Smith is the president of the Grand Bahama Human Rights Association, and its vice-president Joseph Darville is the chairman of STB.

The environmental group has four sets of judicial review proceedings in relation to alleged unauthorised construction and Crown land reclamation activities of Lyford Cay fashion mogul Peter Nygard at Nygard Cay, and the failure of the government to take appropriate action, including the prime minister, deputy prime minister, the Town Planning Committee, the director of physical planning and others.

Additionally, several STB directors and a pastor are plaintiffs in the murder-for-hire lawsuit filed against Mr Nygard and his lawyer, Keod Smith last year.

The lawsuit ignited controversy over whether FNM executives were involved in the murder-for-hire lawsuit waged against Mr Nygard, who has billed himself as a major financial supporter of the Progressive Liberal Party.

Marathon MP and Minister of Environment Romauld Ferreira, who previously served as a director for Save The Bays but stepped down from the post before the general election, is a plaintiff in the matter.

Mr Ferreira was also part of a petition filed last year by the GBHRA to the Inter American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR), which requested that the Bahamas government adopt precautionary measures to prevent irreparable harm to their lives.

Mr Smith told The Tribune that he had not spoken with Mr Ferreira about the case since the May 10 election and did not know whether the latter planned to continue as a plaintiff given his new ministerial portfolio.

Marco City MP and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Michael Pintard resigned as FNM senator and chairman last year, after it emerged that he was involved in the investigation of the alleged murder plot connected to Mr Nygard.

Mr Pintard maintained that his resignation was “not an admission of guilt”, but rather he did not want the FNM “to be distracted in our effort to defeat an incompetent and unethical government.”

On the day of Mr Pintard’s resignation, Dr Minnis revealed to The Tribune that he had met with one of the key witnesses of the case, Livingston “Toggie” Bullard, on several occasions at his home. Dr Minnis said the two did not discuss Mr Nygard, but added that the man did tell him that he had a warning for Mr Pintard.

Dr Minnis was adamant that he did not know of the allegations against Mr Nygard until The Tribune published them in March 2016.

In March last year, Mr Ferreira stated that he was not being financially compensated in his capacity as a director with the environmental group, adding that any earnings from STB came as a result of legal work done for the organisation.

Mr Ferreira said as far as he knew, none of the organisation’s directors were receiving salaries for their posts.

At the time, State Minister for the Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle, then acting FNM chairman, said he was unsure whether the party had received money from the environmental lobby group but noted the party did receive a donation from the law firm of one of its top directors, Callenders & Co.

Mr Smith is a managing partner at Callenders & Co.

Comments

birdiestrachan 7 years, 1 month ago

Who would expect the out spoken QC to admit that STB gave money to the FNM or Fried Bacon gave money to We March. The ,man is a stranger to the Truth.

This is the same money caught on tape disrespecting some black people.. The man is more mouth than substance and the FNM Government owes him and they will pay.. He did not give them money just so. some of them for sure are among those Black people he spoke Some FNMS believe him though.

Tarzan 7 years, 1 month ago

Save the Bays is a registered, U.S. approved, 501 (c) 3, charity. It is illegal for such charities to make political contributions and all this smear campaign about political contributions from Save the Bays is just a weak attempt to cover up the PLP's knee bending, corrupt support for Peter Nygard, who has committed serial illegal and environmentally damaging acts in the Bahamas. Birdie, as the self proclaimed leading patriot of all the Bahamas you should be ashamed for toting the party line on this subject.

baldbeardedbahamian 7 years, 1 month ago

BIRDIE IS A PAID PLP TROLL. DO NOT BELIEVE ANYTHING IT POSTS

TalRussell 7 years, 1 month ago

Comrades! Is this the same King's Counsel who the media had reported was out party shopping for a 2017 general election nomination?
I hear he had like three different colours t-shirts in his closet at the ready - just in case taken up on his - "I'm this wide open for a any party's nomination?
But I does confess - I said at the time that the "KC" would make for a interesting and colourful member the House of Assembly. I does knows the other somewhat less colourful Freddy doesn't miss the "KC".

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/2017…

Tarzan 7 years, 1 month ago

..and exactly what does that have to do with the point of the article. These phony and outragous lies about Save the Bays making political contributions is nothing but an attempt to cover up your glorious PLP's toting for Peter Nygard, and protecting him from the enforcement of environmental laws of the Bahamas.

proudloudandfnm 7 years, 1 month ago

Well since the PLP has never explained why they villify STB I say ignore them. They're incompetent, racist idiots...

Tarzan 7 years, 1 month ago

They villify Save the Bays which has never made any political contribution to anyone, because of that organization's legal efforts to put a halt to Peter Nygard's serial environmental crimes, which offended their chief donor, supporter and ultimately their "owner". Don't forget "Take back my Bahamas". Just more totally corrupt PLP selling out the Bahamas and Bahamians to the highest bidder.

themessenger 7 years, 1 month ago

Colored Freddy ain' checkin for Red Fred Tal, he still tryin to come to terms wid dat salami.

TalRussell 7 years, 1 month ago

Comrades! Make no mistake about it, I am for anyone who believes the basis of our political system should be about bring citizens and residents together for the benefit the Bahamaland!

http://tribune242.com/users/photos/2017…

Truism 7 years, 1 month ago

There's such a thing as being transparent. By law (US) STB financials are suppose to be open to public scrutiny.

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