The Progressive Liberal Party’s (PLP) relationship with former Canadian fashion executive and Lyford Cay homeowner Peter Nygard is in the past, PLP Leader Philip Brave Davis said yesterday, adding that during his time in government no criminal complaint was ever made against Nygard in The Bahamas.
That relationship was a focal point during a recent Canadian Broadcasting Corporation television special, which highlighted Nygard’s relationship with former PLP leader and prime minister, Perry Christie.
In December 2020, Nygard was indicted in New York on multiple charges of sex trafficking, racketeering and other crimes. Prosecutors alleged that he was involved 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”. Some of the alleged victims were minors.
Yesterday, Davis said he is “appalled by these extremely serious charges” about Nygard, who was a long-time resident of The Bahamas.
“In no time during my tenure as deputy prime minister was there ever a criminal complaint made to the Bahamian police about the matters he is now charged with,” said Davis, who served as deputy prime minister under Christie during his 2012 to 2017 administration.
“Had there been, an investigation would have been launched immediately. In fact, to my knowledge, the first time complaints of this nature were brought to the police was in July 2019 under this government.”
When asked if he was worried about how the party’s connection to Nygard would affect the PLP in the upcoming election, Davis replied, “No, that’s the past.
“Hindsight vision is always 2020 and what persons knew at the time that they were engaged with Nygard on the face of it, all appeared to be proper.
“I don’t know the circumstances as it was not me who was engaged with him…
“Going forward, you can only act on what you know and what was known at the time.”
Asked if he was concerned about how the documentary may damage the party, Davis said, “I am not concerned about that. I think the FNM (Free National Movement) has equally had connections with Peter Nygard. They would’ve received political contributions as well from him.”
He added, “Peter Nygard contributed to both political parties, to many charitable causes here and to regattas across the country.”
Davis said Nygard’s contributions do not “in any way excuse his behavior”.
“But nor are the many recipients of his contributions responsible for his behavior,” he said.
Yesterday, when asked if the FNM received political contributions from Nygard, FNM Chairman Carl Culmer told The Nassau Guardian, “The prime minister has already spoken to that and we have said that we have never received any contributions from Nygard.”
Asked if the FNM has any connections to Nygard, Culmer said, “No.”
Nygard was arrested in December in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada, by Canadian authorities after the US requested Canada issue an arrest warrant.