Sean Connery joins Bahamas campaign to stop billionaire developing mansion

Activists claim fashion mogul Peter Nygards proposed development risks environmental damage to beaches

Sat 12 Jul 201416.00 BSTFirst published on Sat 12 Jul 201416.00 BST

Sir Sean Connery has added his name to a lawsuit designed to stop fashion billionaire Peter Nygard from developing his mansion in theBahamas.

As reported by theObserverlast week,the Save the Bays campaign claims the property development risks environmental damageto some of the islands most famous beaches, including those where the Bond andJawsfilms were set. The group, including Connery, 83, who starred in seven Bond films, filed its lawsuit last week in an attempt to force a judicial review of the Bahamas governments treatment of the development plans in Nassau, on the northern peninsula.

In a statement to theObserver, Connery said: Anything that disturbs the natural habitat of the bay has to be examined. They have to sort it out and not tamper with the natural coastline.

Connery, who has been based on the islands since the 1990s, is one of more than 100 residents and campaigners who say the way the government has dealt with the development plans filed by Nygard, founder of the Nygard fashion empire, has been flawed.

The Save the Bays campaign claims that there is a risk of damage to the ecology of the Clifton Bay area, including Jaws beach, where the third film in the blockbuster series was filmed, and they are seeking to prevent further development.

As reported in this newspaper last week, the group claims that through building structures and laying down sand and concrete in the waters, Nygard has increased the size of his estate from three to six acres.

In a statement issued in response to the judicial review, Nygard denied that the development of his property risked causing any environmental damage.

The businessman claimed the Save the Bays campaign was the tool of a billionaire neighbour, Louis Bacon, with whom he has engaged in a long-running row over land.

Nygard said: Recent reports regarding efforts to rebuild Nygard Cay have not been presented accurately. Peter Nygard has been a champion of the Bahamas and specifically the preservation of Simms Point and Jaws Beach for more than 30 years. Mr Nygard fully supports protecting the environment of theBahamas. it is the natural beauty of the island which led him to choose this country for his home.

It now appears Mr Nygards simple application for permits has been hand-selected and used improperly by Save the Bays, an organisation that is the front for the very secretive Louis Bacon, who is the owner of Moore Capital Management Louis Bacon has always wanted Nygard Cay for himself, and Mr Nygard has never been interested in selling his home. Over two years ago, Louis Bacon told Mr Nygard that he would get it one way or another.

Save the Bays acknowledges that Bacon is a large funder of the organisation, but the group says it is involved in a number of ecological issues throughout the Caribbean and is not targeting Nygard specifically.

A spokesman for the Save the Bays campaign said: The Clifton Heritage Park area is integral to the Bahamian film industry, and is a significant contributor to Bahamian jobs and the economy.

There is significant economic and environmental risk to the Clifton Heritage Park from the pollution impact of Nygard Cays construction and dredging activities. Equally, there is a significant risk to a loss of jobs, were the perception to occur that the Clifton Heritage Park is ecologically deteriorating.

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