Deputy Premier viewed FTX as too risky; no TCIG funds invested
By Dana Malcolm
#TurksandCaicos, December 16, 2022 – The Finance Minister of the Turks & Caicos expressed extreme skepticism about investing in Cryptocurrencies, adding that no TCI Government monies went down in the epic billion dollar collapse of FTX Digital Bahamas.
In a statement obtained by Magnetic Media E Jay Saunders, TCI Deputy Premier and Minister of Finance said, “I’m not sure if anyone from the TCI invested in FTX, but I wouldn’t be surprised,” he said, directing us to the Financial Services Commission.
What Saunders could tell us though was that no Government funds had been caught up in the affair. In response to our queries he replied with, “No, of course not. I’m very, very cautious when it comes to Crypto – mainly because it allows for the globalization of crime – and I certainly wouldn’t sign off on the TCI Government or Statutory Bodies investing in it.”
The statement by Saunders rings true over and over again as new CEO John Ray III revealed that hundreds of records have just disappeared into thin air. He said FTX’s collapse was caused in part by a complete lack of experience in its senior leadership and little to no proper governance structures in the company in a hearing before the US Congress on Tuesday December 13.
“The FTX group’s collapse appears to stem from absolute concentration of control in the hands of a small group of grossly inexperienced and unsophisticated individuals who failed to implement virtually any of the systems or controls that are necessary for a company that is entrusted with other people’s money or assets,” he explained.
The fill-in CEO who has extensive experience in managing failed companies like FTX said this was the worst one he had ever seen.
Not only did senior management have free access to customer funds and could move them at will, the security which protected the private keys for millions of dollars was ineffective and poorly encrypted. Another company owned by SBF and headed by an ex-girlfriend of his, Alameda was able to borrow as much FTX funds as it wanted at will.
Ray said the company also could not provide complete documents made for more than 500 investments with company funds and there was a lack of personnel in financial and risk management functions, which are usually present in any company close to the size of FTX Group.
Alarm bells about FTX which has its home in The Bahamas began to ring all across the globe when the company filed for Bankruptcy on Friday November 11 and customers were suddenly locked out of their trading accounts, unable to withdraw the millions they had stored with the company.
Bowing to the desperate pleas of its citizens who had invested, the United States launched a federal fraud investigation alleging that former CEO, Sam Bankman-Fried had been intentionally using customer funds for his own gain.
Ray says he has already found $1 billion worth of assets but is convinced that may not be everything and says Bankman-Fried or other senior officers may have squirreled away funds on thumb drives.
Complete recovery will be difficult because of the extremely poor record-keeping done by Bankman Fried and his team but Ray is committed to the task and says US investors will recoup their assets.
For now, it is unknown if Turks and Caicos Islanders were drawn in by the lure and promise of lucrative returns pitched to the global community by FTX, once the world’s third largest crypto currency exchange.
Magnetic Media has reached out to Nigel Dakin, TCI Governor, who oversees the regulatory aspect of the FSC for answers.
Photo Caption: Some 3.5 Million people have viewed the FTX Hearing on PBS News Hour alone. Sam Bankman-Fried, the former CEO of FTX Digital in The Bahamas was due to appear at this hearing on December 13; he was arrested in Nassau, Bahamas the day before and arraigned on the day of this hearing designed to unearth and expose the alleged misdeeds of the crypto currency exchange which filed for bankruptcy in the US. Testifying was John Ray III, who is the interim CEO of FTX, which is based in The Bahamas.
FBI and Bahamas looking into woman’s death
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – The FBI is investigating a woman’s ‘suspicious’ death on a Carnival Cruise ship in February. The unnamed woman and her husband boarded the Carnival Sunshine on February 27th, for a trip to the Bahamas, but she was dead before they arrived in the port in The Bahamas.
The FBI said Carnival’s team had administered life saving measures when the woman was reported unresponsive, but they were unsuccessful. The body and the woman’s husband were released to the Bahamian authorities when the cruise arrived in the country.
In a statement shared with US media houses, Carnival Cruises claimed the death has been a natural one. The Nassau Guardian said a source told them the police findings had concurred with that assessment saying it was a “normal sudden death of a tourist who wasn’t feeling well.”
The FBI was waiting for the cruise and when it got back to South Carolina on March 4th, they immediately boarded and began to investigate the room based on ‘evidence of a crime.’ The FBI also searched the couple’s car.
No updates have been shared to contradict the currently established cause of death.
Why Sargassum Matters
#TheBahamas, March 17, 2023 – “If you don’t like it, go to another beach!” Is what Aaron John, an Education Officer from The Bahamas National Trust jokingly tells our news team about sargassum blooms; his quip, motivated by the necessity of nature when pit against the notion that there is a real threat when the stinky seaweed makes its annual appearance.
John can admit, he says, that Sargassum isn’t very pretty but life isn’t all about aesthetics and in this instance that ugly patch serves a purpose.
“We love our sandy beaches, but in order to keep them we need Sargassum. When storms come, they wash away all the sand off the beach but sargassum acts as a mulch to protect the sand from water erosion. It doesn’t look good, it doesn’t feel good but we need it.”
He said it also provides a habitat for small crustaceans, crabs, and insects that are all necessary to our ecosystem and islanders have found use for the weed.
“Historically, (in The Bahamas) we have been using sargassum as fertilizer, especially in the family Islands as far back as I know,” he said. “Birds don’t go on the beach unless there is Sargassum and what do they do? they feed – it’s beautiful.”
He encouraged residents to just leave it be if they came across it.
Sargassum isn’t harmful to humans, except for people with respiratory issues who may find the rotten egg smell triggers asthma. Despite this, it’s not advisable to walk through the weeds which may hide sharp rocks and bottles or vulnerable animals.
Experts say Sargassum blooms began to increase in size around 2011 and have continued to get bigger and bigger since. This year‘s bloom is around 5000 miles long and 300 miles wide and visible from space.
“I know it’s not a general outlook, but I would like to change the perspective on sargassum,” John said, pointing out The Bahamas National Trust is actively working to decrease alarm over the less worrisome events like sargassum as it raises the profile on the environmentally devastating.
Lease agreement approved for diaspora office
#TurksandCaicos, March 17, 2023 – The Turks and Caicos’ Bahamas Diaspora Office is moving closer and closer to opening day, following the Cabinet’s approval for the signing of a lease agreement.
The lease will be signed with FINCEN ltd in the Bahamas. Several weeks ago, Arlington Musgrove, Minister of Immigration confirmed to our news team that the location had been found and was being finalized; now a lease is approved at the Cabinet level.
The interest in the TCI from TC Bahamians was evident in the diaspora meetings held in early February. The two meetings held in Nassau and Grand Bahama were completely full and over-subscribed by hundreds.
It’s interest which the Government hopes will translate to real life population growth, bolstering the local population before the native population ‘goes extinct’.
The Opposition PDM is on the record with what it feels is a far more viable solution to a dwindling native population; seek out the country’s own citizens and bring them back home.
Cabinet did not state when the office will open.
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