December 18, 2016
Early in the new year, the Free National Movement (FNM) intends to formally announce its former chairman, Michael Pintard, as its candidate for Marco City.
According to a high-level FNM source who spoke with National Review over the weekend, the FNM's Marco City Association wrote the candidates' committee informing that Pintard was its pick.
His ratification will come 10 months after he resigned as chairman and as a senator in what he said was a move to ensure the FNM
was not distracted from defeating "an incompetent and unethical" government.
Pintard resigned a week after he declared he would not allow the government to make him a scapegoat in the controversy surrounding a feud between Canadian fashion mogul Peter Nygard and his billionaire Lyford Cay neighbor Louis Bacon, which dominated the mid-year budget debate in Parliament.
In making his announcement back in March, Pintard said it was not an admission of guilt about anything.
He maintained that he did nothing wrong and said he feared no "legal or ethical wrongdoing" in his role in meetings with "PLP/Nygard operatives".
Court documents submitted on March 9 outlining an alleged murder plot against certain members of the Save The Bays environmental group, identified Pintard as the individual who uncovered the alleged criminal conspiracy following meetings with two "gang members" -- Livingston "Toggie" Bullard and Wisler "Bobo" Davilma -- who were allegedly paid to carry out the purported plan.
In an audio recording widely circulated in March, Pintard could be heard discussing how to marshall evidence.
Pintard had sought to portray himself as a hero in the elaborate scheme, but instead brought great embarrassment to the FNM, which was already plagued with problems on multiple levels
The former chairman's nomination will likely push back into the spotlight a saga which has ensnared the FNM.
It will also likely bring renewed attention to the embarrassment caused specifically to FNM Leader Dr. Hubert Minnis, who admitted to meeting with Bullard on three occasions at his (Minnis') house. Minnis became a laughing stock when he claimed Bullard had come to ask him to warn Pintard not to attend a meeting as he was about to be set up.
Minnis also said Bullard came to bring him fish on two occasions.
We have had difficulty trying to understand what Pintard was thinking when he worked behind the scenes to help uncover what Bacon and several members of the environmental group alleged was a plot to have them murdered.
Pintard was a member of Save The Bays. As the controversy raged, he told us he was a consultant for Callenders & Co. and was paid by the law firm, not the environmental group.
Minnis had suggested on the floor of the House of Assembly that Pintard was being paid by Save The Bays.
After the Save The Bays members filed their lawsuit in the Supreme Court in March alleging the plot to have them killed, the FNM quickly called for a police investigation into the matter.
Again, the FNM chairman allegedly had been aware more than a year earlier of the reported criminal plot, but did not bring it to the attention of the police.
In March, when we asked Pintard why he failed to report the matter to the police, he responded: "I am satisfied that I carried out my primary responsibility, which was to inform my friends and colleagues who were at risk about the claims, which included past illegal and or unethical behavior and other illegal and or unethical actions they were supposedly contracted to carry out."
We also asked him whether, at the time he was working behind the scenes, discussing the plot, he considered at any time he could be in conflict as chairman of the opposition party and a paid consultant for Callenders.
We wanted to know whether he considered the difficult position he was placing his party in, given that the ultimate goal was for this very serious issue to be brought into the public domain via the court filings.
Pintard told us he would need legal advice before answering that question.
At the time, we opined that his had been a dull-witted and ill-considered political move.
Today, we still wonder whether we have fully been informed over the magnitude of Pintard's involvement in the saga, and whether Minnis will have any more questions to answer.
It is baffling that the FNM will risk resurrecting this controversy by providing a level of political legitimacy for Pintard months after he resigned over a matter that brought the FNM into disrepute.
He and the party may be challenged in explaining to the public how his nomination is acceptable given his resignation over the sordid affair.
The plan to ratify him reflects a low standard that conflicts with Minnis' stated commitment to ensure integrity in public life.
The perceptions that are still attached to Pintard's involvement in this matter are not favorable for him politically or for the FNM, which should be running away from controversy.
Of course, at the end of the day, Bahamian voters will decide whether Pintard is acceptable to them.
That he is acceptable to the party is concerning.
The people will get the kind of representation they deserve. The standards they accept are the standards that will prevail.
Choosing Pintard demonstrates compromised standards and an 'anything goes' approach to the selection of candidates.
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News date : 12/18/2016 Category : Nassau Guardian Stories