Mitchell suggests FNM blowing FTX out of proportion

Minister of Foreign Affairs Fred Mitchell accused the Free National Movement (FNM) of “making much more of this FTX thing than there is to it”.

“I’ve always found it very curious that the FNM always tries to have its cake and eat it, too,” Mitchell said in a video statement on Friday.

“We keep warning them that you can’t approbate and reprobate at the same time, and they’re making much more of this FTX thing than there is to it, just as they did with the spectacular collapse of the Izmirlian group.

“They went around saying that it was a fake deal but all it was was that the people were not able to pay the mortgage and the mortgagee foreclosed and the building was sold according to the terms of the court. Similarly here, FTX has collapsed.”

Mitchell said collapses happen every day around the world.

He described the FTX debacle as “unfortunate” and noted that people have lost money as a result of the collapse of the cryptocurrency giant.

Mitchell said authorities are involved with the matter.

“But now for you to come and say that the country’s reputation is going to suffer because of this, no more than Enron caused the reputation of the US to suffer or Bernie Madoff or the Keating scandal, none of those things had an impact,” he said.

“Banco Ambrosiano happened here before. That did not have an impact on us. Baha Mar and its collapse, that did not have an impact. So, this should be seen not as a regular occurrence but as something which happens in business.”

FTX was incorporated in The Bahamas on July 22, 2021, two months before the FNM was voted out of office. The company was founded by Bankman-Fried in Hong Kong in 2019 and relocated to The Bahamas in September 2021.

The company has since filed for bankruptcy in the United States and is in liquidation in The Bahamas.

In the House of Assembly on Wednesday, East Grand Bahama MP Kwasi Thompson said the reputation of The Bahamas’ financial services industry is under attack.

“The world continues to watch in amazement at the stunning and spectacular fall of FTX causing many in the financial area stress and anxiety as we talk about mental health,” he said.

Speaking in the House six months earlier, Thompson said that then-FTX CEO Sam Bankman-Fried praised The Bahamas’ regulatory regime, specifically the DARE Act, and said it was key in attracting the company to the country.

“We are, therefore, pleased to see the fruits of the Free National Movement have resulted in FTX moving to The Bahamas and we are pleased to see the other wonderful results,” he said.

“My only, and I say this selfishly, my only regret is that we were unable to get FTX to set up shop in Freeport or Grand Bahama as opposed to doing it in New Providence.”

In a voice note on Friday, Mitchell pointed to Thompson’s previous comments.

He described them as “interesting”.

“Our researchers were busy and found a video clip and some newspaper articles with Kwasi Thompson, the FNM’s shadow minister of finance, in a full-throated support of FTX and how great it was and the fact that it’s in Nassau and he was only sorry it wasn’t in Grand Bahama and how much of a game changer FTX was and how happy he was that the FNM had licensed FTX,” said Mitchell, who serves as chairman of the Progressive Liberal Party.

“Thank you very much. But the very same Kwasi Thompson who supports Michael Pintard now and Pintard, of course, is trashing the PLP, trying to fit in the collapse of FTX on the PLP but here he is again speaking on the other side of his mouth.

“I say again: what a web we weave when first we practice to deceive.”

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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