While praising Attorney General Ryan Pinder’s “comprehensive” statement on the collapse of FTX, Shadow Minister of Finance Kwasi Thompson said the government’s response took too long, which caused irreparable damage to the country’s reputation.
Pinder delivered a national address on the fall of crypto giant FTX, an exchange that is headquartered in The Bahamas.
“We are dismayed that it took this long for a comprehensive
statement to be made,” Thompson said in a statement.
He added, “We agree with the attorney general that comments on this matter must always be responsible. The leader of the opposition and all members of the opposition have always spoken in the best interests of our country.
“This is precisely why I make these comments. The Bahamas’ reputation is under attack. We are a well-regulated and experienced jurisdiction with the best talent in the world and, in the interest of our country, we must act to protect our industry.
“I repeat my statements made in the House of Assembly. We are not saying enough to protect our industry; if we say we are leaders, then we should lead.
“Our leader warned that by leaving a vacuum, our competitors and enemies of our country would fill it with their narrative. Where is the communication strategy?
“One statement is not enough. Have we engaged an international PR firm? Why hasn’t the government met with the opposition and more importantly met with industry to manage the international message in a no-partisan way?
“The government must do more to protect our international reputation and the position as industry world leaders left in place by the FNM.”
In his national address, Pinder defended The Bahamas’ response in the wake of FTX’s collapse. He said any attempt to lay the blame of the company’s fall at the feet of The Bahamas is an “oversimplification of reality”.
“The dozens and dozens of companies involved, registered in numerous jurisdictions across the world, the scope of related parties, including some of the world’s most sophisticated investors, demonstrate the cross-border, multi-jurisdictional nature of this event,” he said.
“And it is deeply misguided to conclude that reluctance to communicate the details of an active investigation means that nothing is happening; in fact, the government’s discretion stems from how seriously we take our commitment to the rule of law and the independence of the securities regulator.
“We have been shocked at the ignorance of those who assert that FTX came to The Bahamas because they did not want to submit to regulatory scrutiny; in fact, the world is full of countries in which there is no legislative or regulatory authority over crypto, but The Bahamas is not one of them.”
FTX Digital Markets was incorporated in The Bahamas in July 2021 and the company moved its headquarters from Hong Kong to The Bahamas in September 2021, weeks after the Davis administration came to power.
Earlier this month, following a liquidity crisis, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas froze FTX’s assets and applied to the Supreme Court to put the company into liquidation.
Among his final acts as FTX CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in the US on November 11.