Gov’t. Proposed Lease Of Reclaimed Crown Land To Nygard

The Government proposed a 21-year lease of reclaimed Crown Land at Nygard Cay to its fashion mogul owner, with an annual rental rate pegged at $25,000.

Documents reveal that the Christie administration sought to justify the lease on the grounds that it was needed to support an “estimated $50 million touristic development” at Nygard Cay.

The August 3, 2012, letter from Richard Hardy, the Department of Lands and Surveys’ acting director, provides the first concrete confirmation that the Government was assessing its options for granting a Crown Land lease – the issue at the heart of recently-launched Judicial Review proceedings.

The letter, described as a Memorandum, does not go into detail about the nature of the tourism project proposed by Peter Nygard for his Lyford Cay property.

However, the $50 million sum referred to matches the figure discussed at a meeting between Mr Nygard and Bahamas Investment Authority (BIA) officials, which was held two months’ prior to Mr Hardy’s letter.

Previously obtained notes of that June 2012 meeting revealed that Mr Nygard was proposing a $25-$30 million investment to rebuild his fire-destroyed Nygard Cay home, with the balance earmarked for a stem cell research and treatment facility targeted at medical tourism. It would thus appear this proposal is what Mr Hardy is referring to.

Mr Hardy’s memorandum, addressed to the permanent secretary in the Prime Minister’s Office, and which bears the director of investments’ (Joy Jibrilu) stamp, dated August 15, 2012, is headed: ‘ Proposed Lease of Land at Nygard Cay for a proposed touristic development’.

Referring to an August 1, 2012, missive he had received, containing two proposed “plans”, Mr Hardy disclosed that the minister responsible for Crown Lands – who is Prime Minister Perry Christie – had decided to lease a portion of the reclaimed seabed at Nygard Cay to Mr Nygard.

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