Attorney and Activist Keod Smith says a recent story in The Tribune dated Friday, October 24th 2014 under the caption “PM ‘filmed’ Discussing Nygard Cay Construction” is another in a series of mischievous, dishonest and shoddy Journalism”.
Attorney Smith, one of Peter Nygard’s Bahamas-based Attorneys since 2010 said that the filming of certain events, activities and visits at Nygard Cay has been a part of its protocol from day one for the keeping of video records. None of what had been filmed was a secret.
He went on to explain that “a part of the experience of visiting Nygard Cay, is to have it memorialized by way of video recording. This is the reason why Mr. Nygard contracted Steven Feralio who had free access to all parts of Nygard Cay with his camera to openly film all of the goings-on. Afterall, visitors knew that they were being filmed and consented.”.
In 2013 the Prime Minister made an official visit to Nygard Cay, accompanied by several Ministers of the Government, their Permanent Secretaries and Technical Officers of various agencies of the Government for conducting a site visit in respect of Nygard having made applications for rebuilding his Mayan-theme mansion at Nygard Cay of which 70% had been destroyed in a mysterious fire in 2009.
The Prime Minister and his entourage were also there to have a firsthand view of the beach area to the south of Nygard Cay which Nygard contends had naturally accreted as a result of sand and sediments placed above the high water mark at the specific direction of the Government (both FNM and PLP administrations) since the early 1990’s. Also attending with Prime Minister Christie was Mr. David Davis, Permanent Secretary in the Office of Prime Minister under Mr. Hubert Ingraham who, on 21st July 2010, wrote the letter to Nygard requiring him to remove the 20-year long accreted beach.
Mr. Smith said the issue at Nygard Cay over whether Mr. Nygard has an entitlement to the accreted land area under review and consideration, demanded the fullest inspection of the highest level of Government, and for anyone to suggest something untoward about that process is not only disingenuous, but clearly has an ulterior motive.
He went on to say that the visit by Government officials to inspect properties which have applications pending before the Cabinet of The Bahamas is nothing new and is seen as a regular procedure.
“The newspapers are replete with photographs of successive Governments wearing their hard hats and inspecting properties from Atlantis, Bakers Bay, Four Seasons at Exuma, Mahoghany, the I Group in Mayaguana, developments in Cat Island, San Salvador and Bimini,” says Smith.
Sports Promoter, Carlos Mackey, who has been associated with Nygard Cay for more than 30 years, questions how it is that “…the Tribune does not reference the fact that over the years, the filming protocol at Nygard Cay include the likes of President George H. W. Bush, Michael Jackson, Sean Connery (1960’s James Bond), Oprah Winfrey, Anna Nicole Smith and Hon. Minister Louis Farrakhan. Also, both FNM Deputy Prime Minister Frank Watson and FNM House Speaker and Opposition Leader, Hon. Alvin Smith were filmed at Nygard Cay when they both served in their official capacities.”
Mackey points out that “…video recordings have also included Bahamas volleyball tournaments, celebrating the Golden Girls, Bahamas Olympic Teams, contributing financially to numerous sailing regattas, hosting numerous charity events inclusive of church retreats. Of tremendous importance to humanity, has been talks with medical doctors (local and international) as well as world renowned scientists about the development stem-cell science and its implementation.”.
Attorney Smith contends that the suggestion that there was something sinister in the videos that Feralio had taken from Nygard, only started after Bacon’s initial plot had failed.
Smith points out that Bacon has admitted in New York-based Court documents to having one of his companies called Belvedere Property Management Company, pay more than $5 Million in trust for the benefit of Feralio to move to New York from California just so that he (Feralio) could be sued by Bacon in New York Court for an order that the videos be privately given to Bacon for his use as he saw fit. Although Bacon suggests that he wanted to use the videos in Bahamian court proceedings, there has been no application made in Bahamian courts for these videos to be produced.
Attorney Smith says that “If Bacon had been successful with that plot, Bacon could have suggested that more was in the videos than what actually was in it. By Nygard intervening and insisting that Bacon and Feralio follow Bahamian law to put the videos in evidence in Bahamian Courts, Bacon has been stopped from giving the impression to the average person who has not seen the videos that the content was so sinister that he had to go through the New York Courts to get them. This is nothing more than a PR stunt by Bacon.”
Attorney Smith goes on to argue that “Bacon has now resorted to relying on The Tribune to attempt to publish provocative stories suggesting that something sinister, illegal or improper is attached to the Prime Minister’s visit to Nygard Cay. How is it that after so many weeks have past, The Tribune has not yet written a proper story on the assertion by Nygard that the videos, although not containing anything secret, is his private property that was taken by Feralio and hawked over to Bacon who is trying to misuse the New York Court processes.”
“There is nothing stopping Feralio from bringing the videos to The Bahamas to put into evidence. Of course, both he and Bacon would have to appear in Court to be cross-examined. No doubt, they are likely to be called upon by the Court to show cause why they should not be charged with fabrication and perhaps even extortion,” says the Attorney.
“The Tribune has been endorsed by Mr. Louis Bacon to carry his noxious brief and use its compromised columns to attack The Government of The Bahamas and the reputation of our country in Bacon’s mad quest (1) to falsely take credit for leading the 1999-2004 fight that saved Clifton; (2) to control the Bay of Clifton by keeping Bahamians out of it; (3) to conceal the fact that the saving of the environment at Clifton Point in respect of which he has gotten the Audubon Award, was never carried out by him, (4) to pressure Nygard to sell Nygard Cay to him; and (5) to try to get rid of the PLP Government and put in an FNM Government so that he is not called upon to face criminal charges for having illegally built a smuggler-type boat basin underneath the Lyford Cay house where he stays and that is owned by a company based in the Republic of Panama and not in the USA,” said Mr. Smith.