International Fashion Mogul Peter Nygard is extending the olive branch of peace to his Lyford Cay neighbour, billionaire Louis Bacon with whom he had a long running dispute for many years.
The two have been embroiled in rows over land, access to Nygard Cay, libel and other litigious issues that have reached the Supreme Court of The Bahamas and a court in New York City.
Apparently tired of legal disputes, Mr. Nygard who wants to redevelop his property which was destroyed by fire some years ago, is calling on individuals, groups and government officials involved in outstanding land and legal disputes to “work together to help the less fortunate and to clean up Clifton Bay on the western tip of New Providence.
In an open letter Mr. Nygard says “over the past several years, millions of dollars and countless hours have been expended by the Bahamian government, some local groups and several individuals, including myself and Louis Bacon, on disputes about property rights, environmental claims and cultural differences.
“The litigation has taken on a life of its own and could last for years to come because—if we are all being honest with ourselves—in addition to the legal issues that we all feel strongly about, this is at least partially fueled by pride and a clash of egos,” said Nygard.
He said, “whether or not there are outcomes that could justify the enormous expense, this time and effort could be put to far better use. What’s more, none of this is good for the image of The Bahamas, its tourist economy or its people—who need help now more than ever in the wake of the devastating hurricane and the Baha Mar situation.
Crime and poverty are reeling out of control. According to an article published in The Nassau Guardian on June 11, 2014, 12.8% of the population in The Bahamas are living in poverty. An article in The Tribune appearing that same day stated that children under the age of 14 have the highest poverty rate and that national statistics revealed a poverty line of less than $5,000 per year.”
Well known for his generosity to many charitable, sporting and civic organizations in The Bahamas and Canada, Mr. Nygard says, “while everyone involved, on all sides of our disputes, believes their cause is just and their position correct, I would like to suggest that we work to find a solution to our differences and contribute our time and efforts to addressing problems like poverty that are hurting people on the islands we all love so deeply. Imagine the difference we could make if just a fraction of what is being spent on this litigation were contributed to the health and welfare of the Bahamian people. That is what I would like to see happen.”
Nygard said, “as 2015 draws to a close and we approach the holiday season, let us bring this fighting to an end and reach a global resolution under which Mr. Bacon and I will each contribute a significant and mutually agreed upon sum of money to aid the disadvantaged and better the islands. In this spirit, I am writing to invite all of you and/or your representatives to participate in a settlement conference to explore a resolution to all outstanding disputes, including legal actions, to take place as soon as possible in Nassau or wherever is most convenient.”
He said he is committed to immersing himself in the settlement process. While all reasonable suggestions will assuredly be welcome, there are certain pillars that I foresee being a part of a global resolution. Nygard listed the following goals:
1. Public commitments by all involved to stop bickering, fighting and suing and instead to work together to resolve the pressing environmental issues at Clifton Bay for the benefit of the local community. In particular, equal financial contributions would be made by myself and Mr. Bacon to clean up oil and industrial pollution at Clifton Point that has gone unchecked for years.
2. Dismissal of all litigation in The Bahamas and the United States relating to land use on the western tip of New Providence, and more broadly, relating to any disputes whatsoever between Mr. Bacon and myself, including dismissal of lawsuits involving others because they support either Mr. Bacon or me.
3. Financial contributions to aid the less fortunate, including funding to summer camps and scholarship, education, sports and music programs for the underprivileged.
4. Efforts to raise further monies for the Clifton clean-up and for the disadvantaged.
5. Financial contributions to further the development of Clifton Heritage National Park so that the park can be enjoyed as an educational, entertainment and historical resource for local Bahamians and tourists and its rising attendance can help it become financially sustainable and independent.
6. Agreement on a solution for Nygård Cay that accounts for both what is best for the environment and my rights as property owner.
Mr. Nygard says “with the Summer Olympic Games and other terrific events and milestones to look forward to, 2016 should be an incredible year for The Bahamas and all Bahamians. Let’s all help get the year started the right way by burying our differences and finding a way forward that helps lift up the Bahamian people.”