Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis last night used the ongoing saga over a lawsuit alleging Peter Nygard engaged in illicit acts with underage Bahamian girls and the former Lyford Cay resident’s previous interactions with the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) to make a case as to why the official opposition should be kept out of office.
“I was away for a period last week at CARICOM meetings in Barbados,” Minnis said at a community meeting for the western districts of New Providence.
“While away, I was checking the news every day. All I could see in the local and
international press was a serious story about a rich foreigner and the PLP.
“This scandal may become one of the lowest moments in the PLP’s history. And let me say that the allegations made in this scandal are shocking and disgusting.
“Young women, including Bahamian women, have come forward to tell extraordinary stories of abuse. In every era, no matter how much they say they’ve changed, the PLP gets into scandals.
“The country is still waiting to hear a clear, detailed statement on this matter from the PLP. Their answers so far have been all mixed up and very confusing, but the Bahamian people deserve answers.
“These allegations are too serious for the PLP’s usual spin doctors.”
Minnis added, “The PLP is the shame and scandal party. They shame the country with their scandals and we end up having to restore our good name.”
The civil suit filed recently in New York alleges that Nygard used his considerable influence in the fashion industry, his power through the corruption of officials and a network of company employees under his direction, to groom and entice underage girls and women.
That suit also alleges that Nygard initiated a scheme to purchase police protection and political cover in The Bahamas by making regular payments of tens of thousands of dollars to law enforcement and government officials.
However, PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell last week denied the party’s involvement.
“We have examined the statement in its entirety and it appears to contain a mishmashed concoction of everything and the kitchen sink to make a salacious and biased story against the PLP without any evidential foundation,” he said.
“From our analysis of the writ, there is no connection between the references to the PLP and the acts complained of. In fact, one of the captions of a photograph in the writ makes a false identification as a former parliamentarian of the PLP. The statement is loose with the truth.
“Our educated guess and suspicion is that these allegations in the writ, as far as it concerns the conduct of PLP members, are well worn and discredited untruths about the party and its members.”
At the meeting last night, which appeared to be a rally, Minnis was also critical of recent racially charged comments made by PLP National Vice Chair Patricia Deveaux.
At a PLP rally, as she introduced former PLP Cabinet minister Michael Darville, Deveaux said the party does not have “a bunch of darkies all over the place heating up the place”.
The comments were criticized and condemned in social media circles. Deveaux later issued an apology saying she used language she regretted.
Minnis called the comments disgraceful.
“Could you imagine that?,” he said.
“The vice chairman of the PLP got up on the stage and talked bad about black people. What a disgrace.”
Minnis added, “The only thing coming out of their rally was talk about how many of them only like light-skinned people.
“Now, look at me. Now you see why they don’t like me. And they don’t like some of you because we ain’t their type of people.”
He added, “I believe that every child has human dignity because we were all made in the image and likeness of the God who created us.
“No matter the color of someone’s skin, what type of hair they have, we are all God’s children.”
Despite a small turnout at the event, Minnis told the crowd that the FNM has an easy task in the next election, predicting the results will be 39 FNM seats and zero PLP seats.
“It’s never been done,” he said.
“The boundaries are not changing. You’ve got what you got. But it must be 39-0.”