Nygard says he has backed PLP and FNM
Lyford Cay billionaire Peter Nygard yesterday defended his relationship with Prime Minister Perry Christie, but said he did not know if he contributed financially to Christie’s re-election campaign or to the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) ahead of the last general election.
Nygard has been outspoken in his support for Christie and the PLP, but yesterday he said he has backed both major political parties over the years.
“I don’t know, I’ve been supporting people for the last 30 years,” he told reporters at Nygard Cay when asked what, if any, financial contributions he made to the PLP or the Free National Movement (FNM).
“I don’t measure in terms of amounts of money…I’ve been a people’s person all my life and been supporting various causes. I don’t even measure how much the support really is.”
When asked by The Nassau Guardian if he contributed directly to Christie’s re-election campaign, the fashion designer said, “I don’t usually channel my money directly to anybody in particular.
“[Since the Pindling era] various people have asked me for contributions for good causes and I’ve been giving them just like now, all my life; I really don’t measure it in those kind of terms.
“So I was certainly on the prime minister’s side.
“I think he’s a much better man than the previous prime minister and has a much better heart and deserves to be a prime minister. His platform was better and I was happy to see him win and I celebrated that. I don’t think much of the last government.”
But Nygard said he has never seen much difference between the governing party and the FNM.
Last Friday, Nygard was honored by Jones Communications Network CEO Wendall Jones for his contribution to youth development during JCN’s 40 Under 40 High Achievers Honors event.
As he accepted the honor, Nygard said Christie is a great prime minister and urged those present to support him and help him push his agenda.
He said Christie is a leader with heart and integrity who means the country well.
FNM Deputy Leader Loretta Butler-Turner said Nygard’s public support of the prime minister and Christie’s “praise” for the fashion designer raises many questions.
“It almost seemed like Mr. Christie has this overly cozy relationship with these foreign investors,” the Long Island MP said.
“It harkens back to what we saw displayed by him and Mr. Phil Ruffin last year.”
Ruffin is the former owner of the Crystal Palace hotel and was Christie’s client when he was a practicing lawyer.
“We see now that there could very well be reason to believe that these foreigners are in fact in control, or appear to have some huge interest in what the PLP has done and is doing,” Butler-Turner said.
She also criticized the prime minister for not moving legislation for election campaign finance reform, although he has spoken repeatedly of the need for laws to govern money in politics.
“Mr. Christie is a talker; he is not a doer,” she said. “While campaign finance reform has truly been one of his mantras we have seen no foward movement in that regard.”
However, Nygard stressed that his support of the prime minister is not politically driven and brushed off “unjust”, “unfair” criticisms of his vocal praise of Christie.
“All I can say is when the FNM government was in power I was also supporting them,” he said. “I don’t know if there were any of them who weren’t here except for [former Prime Minister Hubert] Ingraham himself, but they all have visited here over the times.
“I have not been political. I’ve been a people’s person. To state the fact that I’m a big fan of Prime Minister Perry Christie is not surprising.
“I am that because he is a good man, he does a good job, he has a good heart and means well for the Bahamian people.”