IT has been a long time coming, but the first of several trials facing Peter Nygard began yesterday.
A Canadian court heard of accusations of sex crimes against the former resident of the Nygard Cay property in Lyford Cay – and the legal proceedings against him will have ramifications here in The Bahamas.
Among the various claims against Mr Nygard are allegations by nine Bahamians that he raped them – along with a non-Bahamian – in documents filed in the Southern District of New York.
That lawsuit alleges that Mr Nygard evaded exposure by bribing local police and members of the ruling Progressive Liberal Party.
Eight of his alleged victims were aged between 14 and 18 at the time.
Until now, the allegations against Mr Nygard have not been properly tested by the courts – but that process begins now.
It is even claimed that he kept a database of potential victims that was maintained by the IT department of his company.
The size of that database is staggering – if accounts are true, there were more than 7,500 women and girls stored on it by the mid-2000s.
The scale of the claims against Mr Nygard make clear that, if they are true, then it was not just a one-man operation. To maintain such information and to allegedly cover up such activities would be abuse on an almost industrial scale.
That is what the courts will reveal – and that is why the courts must be given the chance to properly examine the allegations, to find out what is true, and what is not.
But if they are true, and if indeed some Bahamians helped to cover up the extent of the abuse perpetrated, those responsible should not rest easy. They too should answer for their part in such activities if they are proven to be true. Equally, their names should be cleared if the allegations are not proven.
These are cases with great resonance for our own nation. We should all be watching with interest.
• MARIA Daxon should be ashamed of herself.
She posted a message to a Whatsapp group that celebrated the death of Minister of Social Services, Information and Broadcasting Obie Wilchcombe.
Now, she says that she forwarded the message to the group rather than writing it – but she has been far from apologetic about it.
The deputy leader of the Coalition of Independents says she forwarded the message to the group without reading it. Deputy leader, let us repeat, a member of the leadership of a party – or whatever the coalition is – that seeks to win people’s votes at the next election, who does not even read what she is sharing.
When challenged in the group, did she apologise? No, she told the person challenging her not to tell her what to do. And she has gone on to defend the writer – whoever it is, her or otherwise – because “this is a free country, right?”
We hope that freedom extends to those sections of the community who have been scapegoated by members of the coalition for the country’s ills.
It is crass in the extreme, and it is irresponsible for a would-be leader of the country – if what she says is true – to share along such views without even reading them.
Let us see if other members of the coalition raise their voices in criticism of their deputy leader – for if they don’t, they ought to be held to the same level of contempt. This party ought to distance itself from such views – and smartly.