by Larry Smith
Who is Peter Nygard?
Born in Finland in 1943, he moved to Canada as a child. In 1967 he bought a share in a women’s clothing company and is now among the 100 richest Canadians.
Why is he in the Bahamas?
In 1984 Nygard bought 3.25 acres at Simms Point, on the western tip of Lyford Cay, and built a second home there.
What’s wrong with that?
Nothing. But over the years he transformed the house into a 250,000-square-foot, unlicensed party resort, upsetting his residential neighbours. He rented out to wealthy vacationers for more than $42,000 a night - until the place was damaged by fire in 2009. To accommodate these activities, Nygard doubled the size of his property by dredging the bay and filling the rocky shoreline with sand - without government approval. In fact, dredge pumps have been used almost continuously for years, to move sand from the bay onto Nygard’s property. The additional three acres of accreted land are valued in the millions.
Is that just talk?
No. High-level government documents confirm that Nygard's development had "no Bahamian character” and would not have been approved by the Ministry of Works. The documents say he “abused” Bahamian laws and was operating an "unlicensed hotel” on "Crown seabed."
Is that the only issue Nygard is involved in?
No. In recent years he developed a fascination for anti-aging research involving experimental stem cell treatment, which he claims could "produce immortality.” In an online video, Nygard is shown injecting himself with a presumed stem cell formulation as he quips to awed onlookers: "Ah, it feels so good, and you can see it's working".
Why are these issues so controversial?
It’s an open secret that Nygard contributed millions to the PLP’s election campaign. The quid pro quo seems to have been regularisation of his long-term, unlawful activities at Simms Point, and approval of a "stem cell institute” on his property.