By LLONELLA GILBERT
Bahamas Information Services
#TheBahamas, December 1, 2022 – Attorney General and Minister of Legal Affairs Senator the Hon. Ryan Pinder made a National Statement on behalf of The Government of The Commonwealth of The Bahamas, on the current situation regarding FTX Digital Markets Limited.
The AG explained that The Bahamas is a place of laws and the rule of law, and the exercise of due process, characterizes the integrity of its jurisdiction. “As the third-oldest democracy in the western hemisphere, our legal, regulatory and financial sectors have stood the test of time.”
He said given how quickly things have moved, it is hard to believe that it was only on November 2, that an article first appeared on the news site CoinDesk, with the details of a leaked financial statement of Alameda Research, a trading company also founded by Sam Bankman-Fried founder and CEO of FTX US Derivatives.
“I want to pause here to emphasize that among the over 100 companies located in dozens of jurisdictions around the world, FTX Digital Markets is the only entity regulated in The Bahamas,” AG Pinder said.
“Alameda Research is NOT regulated in The Bahamas. To the extent Alameda Research is found to have committed any improprieties in The Bahamas, then of course it will be subject to our jurisdiction.”
He said the balance sheet of Alameda Research, CoinDesk reported at that time, revealed that a large portion of their assets were held in FTT, a token issued by an FTX entity, that granted token holders a discount on trading fees.
He said this announcement prompted many FTX investors to withdraw hundreds of millions of dollars in digital assets from FTX – causing a liquidity crunch.
“In short, FTX was experiencing the equivalent of a ‘run on the bank,’ when customers all rush to withdraw assets simultaneously. Two days later, on November 8, it was reported that Binance had entered into a non-binding agreement to buy FTX. However, the very next day, November 9, Binance pulled out of the deal.”
Attorney General Pinder noted that one day later, November 10, the Securities Commission of The Bahamas, announced that it had taken action to freeze the assets of FTX Digital Markets, had suspended the registration of FTX Digital Markets as a licensee under The Digital Assets and Registered Exchanges Act, also known as the “DARE Act”, and applied to the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, pursuant to its regulatory authority under the DARE Act, to place the company into provisional liquidation.
“The speed with which the Securities Commission was able to move was remarkable by any standard. Over the course of eight days, market confidence was lost in a company which at one point had a $32 billion valuation.”
He said, “The Securities Commission deserves the highest praise for moving so swiftly and decisively to suspend FTX Digital Markets’ license and appoint provisional liquidators.
“In addition, the Securities Commission recognized that given the nature of digital assets, and the risks associated with hacking and compromise, placing FTX Digital Markets into provisional liquidation was not sufficient to protect the customers and creditors of the company.”
The AG said, therefore, pursuant to their authority under the DARE Act, and pursuant to an order of the Supreme Court of The Bahamas, the Securities Commission secured the assets of FTX Digital Markets to be held on behalf of and for the benefit and restitution of clients and creditors of FTX.
He explained that the Commission was the first regulator in the world to take significant steps with respect to the FTX group of companies, which has operations and regulated activities throughout the world. This was done for the purpose of protecting the interests of FTX’s customers and creditors, as well as the integrity of the Bahamian financial services industry.
Attorney General Pinder said, “The Securities Commission was able to move so quickly because of the strength of the legislative framework which was already in place in The Bahamas to regulate digital asset companies like FTX Digital Markets. No other jurisdiction in the world moved or could have moved this quickly in circumstances such as these.”
U.S. Supports the RBPF With Additional Crime Fighting Vehicles on The Bahamas’ “Road to 50”
#TheBahamas, January 31, 2023 – Since 1973, the United States and The Bahamas have enjoyed a long-lasting security partnership. To mark this valued friendship, the United States Government, on January 31, 2023, renewed its support for the Royal Bahamas Police Force (RBPF) with 20 new Ford Police Inceptor Hybrid SUVs valuing nearly $1.4 million. The United States’ Chargé d’Affaires Usha Pitts; Prime Minister, the Hon. Philip Davis; Minister of National Security, the Hon. Wayne Munroe and RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander were on hand for the donation at RBPF East Hill Street Headquarters.
The 20 hybrid vehicles will be added to the 32 vehicles previously donated to the RBPF by the US government to help replace crucial infrastructure lost during Hurricane Dorian. Recovering from a hurricane is an arduous process that requires support at many levels, from roads and housing to mental health services. The U.S. government hopes these vehicles will contribute to one key step in the process: citizen security. These vehicles will not only assist the RBPF’s efforts to combat crime but will also reduce greenhouse gas emissions on the islands.
In her remarks Chargé Pitts noted, “these vehicles are just one example of the United States’ continued efforts to help for The Bahamas’ keep its citizens and visitors safe.”
Prime Minister Philip Davis showed his appreciation for this timely vehicle donation as it will assist with added capacity and increased saturation patrols on the streets. The Prime Minister added that residents will notice an increased police presence and the police will have new capacity to respond quickly to any criminal activity.
RBPF Commissioner Clayton Fernander highlighted that “we have noticeably taken more illegal firearms and ammunition off our streets in 2022. We have also seized more illegal drugs including marijuana and marijuana plants than in [previous] years. Suffice to say, we have efficiently utilized all 32 vehicles previously donated by the U.S. government in our crime fighting efforts.”
In recent years, the U.S. Government, through U.S. Embassy Nassau, has delivered more than $25 million to assist The Bahamas with efforts to fight crime. On behalf of the Bahamian people, Minister of National Security Wayne Munroe extended his gratitude for the U.S. government’s assistance noting “It seems that when we’re together there [is] always an occasion where they [U.S. government] have helped us and assisted us substantially.”
Captions: Credited to U.S. Embassy Nassau
Minister of Health & Wellness thanks Cuban nurses for their service during the COVID-19 Pandemic
The Ministry of Tourism, Investments & Aviation on Visitor Arrivals
#TheBahamas, January 30, 2023 – The Ministry of Tourism is extremely excited to announce that visitor arrivals to The Bahamas eclipsed seven million in 2022, signaling a return to pre-pandemic tourism numbers.
In total 7,000,706 visitors came to The Bahamas in 2022.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation Chester Cooper praised The Bahamas’ performance and the work put in by industry professionals across the board.
“The fact that we have exceeded expectations and attracted more than 7 million visitors to our country in 2022, something only done once before in a single year was no accident,” he said.
“Countless stakeholders in the Bahamian tourism industry, including our international partners, worked tirelessly to achieve this. We sought to strengthen relationships to open new air routes. We sought to make travel to The Bahamas easier, more accessible, and affordable and took the message that we were open for business during our Missions and provided insight on our wonderful offerings to the world.”
“According to statistics the second half of 2022 outperformed the second half of 2019,” he said. In 2022, 1,470,244 visitors came to our shores by air; another 5,530,462 visitors arrived by sea.
Nassau and Grand Bahama remained our most popular destinations by air, while Nassau and The Berry Islands remained our most popular destinations by sea. Foreign air and sea arrivals for 2022 were up by 233 percent over the same period in 2021 and just 3.4 percent shy of record arrivals in 2019. December 2022 saw total arrivals eclipse 900,000 visitors, more than any month in our history. Cruise arrivals in 2022 increased by nearly 400 percent over 2021 and were less than 1 percent below 2019 cruise arrivals.
Air and cruise arrivals monthly from July to December 2022 surpassed the corresponding month in 2019.
Occupancy rates for 2022 eclipsed occupancy rates for every corresponding month in 2021.
The average daily room rate in 2022 outperformed that category for every corresponding month in 2021. The Bahamas carved out new ground with more than 55 percent of first-time arrivals to The Bahamas, with increases in the United States, Canada, Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East.
DPM Cooper confirmed that the last six months are the strongest The Bahamas has ever seen. He firmly concluded by saying; “What the Ministry of Tourism, Investments, and Aviation are forecasting so far and what forward bookings indicate, is that we are on track to break records in 2023. We don’t see this slowing down anytime soon.”
Mrs. Latia Duncombe, Director General of Tourism added that everyone should understand that tourism is critical to our economy and all Bahamians, even those who do not directly work in the tourism industry, should always seek to lift the industry up.
“We are all in the tourism business in The Bahamas. And it’s a great business to be in. We want to keep our brand fresh and evergreen. And that’s everyone’s job, especially mine. I have a great, hardworking team at our ministry and we have some incredible things in store this year.”
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