Free National Movement (FNM) Leader Michael Pintard on Friday marched to the Office of The Prime Minister (OPM) to demand answers about the implosion of FTX, a now bankrupt multi-billion-dollar cryptocurrency exchange that just a few days ago was among the largest in the world.
We think Pintard should carefully consider the wisdom of that move.
And we think he should more carefully assess the implications of what he said as it regards himself, his party and the nation.
First, Pintard, the leader of one of the two largest political parties in this country, appeared to draw fewer than a dozen people though the FNM circulated a flyer calling “all concerned Bahamians to join the FNM” at OPM.
We note that FNM Deputy Leader Shanendon Cartwright was a no show.
That the partly leader apparently could not persuade or organize any significant number of party supporters to show up is telling.
That Lincoln Bain, leader of the Coalition of Independents, which won not a single seat in the last general election, draws a larger crowd outside Parliament on any random Wednesday, should give Pintard serious pause.
The opposition leader also called on those in government and the political sphere to state whether they received money from FTX.
“All politicians before the election, after the election, should declare,” said Pintard.
“Did they receive any loans from FTX, campaign contributions or gifts? All members of Parliament ought to declare if they have a digital wallet with crypto currency. Did they purchase it from FTX or was it gifted?
“There are many questions that we wish to ask. Out of the abundance of caution, at every level of the investigation, we should ensure that there isn’t the appearance of conflict at any level – governmental level, regulatory level, all of it. “
We agree with Pintard in that politicians should declare whether they, or their party, received anything from FTX.
And since Pintard is spearheading the charge, we think the disclosures should start with him and the FNM.
And insofar as political donations are concerned, we do not think the disclosure should end with FTX.
We would be interested to know of all the donors to the Free National Movement before and since the last general election.
We would also be interested in who funded Pintard’s leadership campaign, so that we can have a clear understanding of who may or may not have influence with him in his constitutional post.
The fact of the matter is neither the FNM nor the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) is serious about transparency in campaign financing.
They both lean on the idea when it suits their needs, but we have no certainty about who funds the FNM or PLP.
What we have learned is that savvy business people usually play both sides.
Pintard also said all administrations that had interactions with FTX should indicate when the company first came to The Bahamas.
He said they should also indicate who FTX met with and when FTX officially began operating in The Bahamas.
“What year was it?” Pintard asked.
“Was it two days, three days, four days after a change in government? And to what extent was the country armed with all of the relevant information on the functioning of the company prior to its final approval and beginning of operation?”
According to documents filed in New York by liquidator Brian Simms, KC, last week, the digital asset exchange was incorporated as FTX Digital in The Bahamas on July 22, 2021 as an International Business Company.
Pintard should be aware that he was part of the administration that was in place when FTX came to the country and passed the legislation designed to attract companies like FTX.
He should not have to ask.
He should also be aware that FTX’s fall from grace started less than two weeks ago.
Though it is now an international embarrassment, it was a boon to the economy that gave generously to many charities that desperately needed aid.
There was previously nothing unseemly about rubbing shoulders with FTX.
We, too, want answers as to whether FTX was properly vetted and what, if anything, could have been done by our regulators to prevent this calamity.
And we would like to know how deep FTX’s tentacles reached into the state.
But Pintard’s calls for transparency with regard to FTX in the manner he made them come off as political theater and fall flat when confronted with the reality of the continued opacity of political funding in our country.