PM: PLP has to answer over Nygard scandal

PM: PLP has to answer over Nygard scandal
Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis dances with supporters at an FNM community meeting.

Minnis warns electorate, PLP wil return to “old ways” if reelected

Nygard steps down as chairman of companies after raids, will divest ownership interest

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis yesterday said the country is still awaiting a clear explanation from the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) over allegations linking the party to Canadian fashion designer Peter Nygard and a sex-trafficking scheme.

He was making a case for the electorate to block the PLP from returning to office at the Free National Movement’s community meeting at the park opposite Garvin Tynes School.

Minnis insisted the opposition party has not changed and, if elected, would go “back to their old ways”.

“There is another matter I have to raise with you here tonight,” the prime minister said.

“You know, I was away for a period last week at CARICOM meetings in Barbados. While away, I was checking the news everyday.

“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.”

Nygard has been accused of using his wealth and political influence in The Bahamas to lure, rape and sodomize more than 10 women, most of whom were underage guests at the time of the alleged incidents.

It has also been alleged in court documents Nygard provided PLP party members and corrupts police officers with “children and young women to engage in commercial sex acts with”.

The PLP has labelled the allegations as a “mere scare tactics” politically motivated by “FNM surrogates”

PLP Chairman said this week the party is simply “collateral damage” in the feud between Nygard and his Lyford Cay neighbors and longtime rival Louis Bacon.

Last night, Minis said allegations are “shocking and disgusting”, noting that numerous young women have come forward to expose “extraordinary stories of abuse”.

“Every era, no matter how much they say they have changed, the PLP gets into scandals,” the prime minister said.

“The country is still waiting to hear a clear detailed statement on this matter from the PLP. Their answers thus far have been all mixed up and very confusing, but the Bahamian people deserve answers.

“The allegations are too serious for the PLP’s usual spin doctors.”

He continued: “With corruption and scandals, the PLP is the shame and scandal party. They shame the country with their scandals. We end up having to restore our good name. And don’t let anybody fool you, the FNM is very different from the PLP.

“If they come to office they will go back to their old ways. They have not changed. They cannot change and they will not change. We remain the party of the people.”

Minnis stressed the FNM is fundamentally different from the PLP.

“When they see money their eyes get big,” he said of the opposition.

“They want to take it all.

“While we work to help the people, the PLP’s purpose is to take money off the backs of people.

“Our term has been dedicated to fixing the problems that affect people.”

He added: “That is why they are always in scandals.”

A Federal class action lawsuit was filed in a Manhattan Court earlier this month, detailing the allegations.

Nygard steps down

Nygard’s Manhattan headquarters was reportedly raided by the FBI and New York police on Tuesday.

Shortly thereafter, Ken Frydman, a spokesman for Lyford Cay property owner, said Nygard in “recognizing the priority of the welfare of the thousands of Nygard employees, retail partners, loyal customers, vendors, suppliers, and business partnershas made the decision to step down as chairman of the Nygard Companies.

Frydman reportedly confirmed the fashion mogul will also divest his ownership interest.

Nygard has denied the allegations and accused his Lyford Cay neighbor, hedge-fund billionaire Louis Bacon of partly funding the federal class-action lawsuit.

American lawyers defending the case reportedly told the New York Times that they have no financial ties to Bacon, and have never paid any accuser or witness in the course of their investigations.