EDITORIAL: Double standards in judging nations

AS the FTX crypto platform collapsed in spectacular fashion, one of the aspects of the whole affair that left a bad taste was the attitude displayed towards our country in international commentary.

There was this nudge nudge, wink wink approach from some who suggested that something nefarious was going on from the start and that is why the company set up shop in The Bahamas.

This completely ignored the facts, however, including the regulations and laws which we have in place, or that FTX has branches elsewhere, such as the US.

Perhaps the worst example of this commentary was a column in a national US newspaper that loudly declared that the first red flag over FTX was its relocation to The Bahamas then plunged into a history of our country going back to pirate days that have nothing to do with the modern realities of digital finances. It was simply muttering oh they used to be pirates, you know, and the implications that go with that, reiterating a stereotype far removed from how people live today.

We have discussed the snobbery and borderline racism that such attitudes exhibit in this column before – but we return to it because of a recent interview featuring Mia Mottley, the Prime Minister of Barbados.

She was asked by a Swedish TV interviewer earlier this month why vulnerable countries are debt stricken and have corruption.

Perhaps the first clue in what was coming was when she asked the interviewer: “You really want me to answer you? Ok.”

She then proceeded – and here is her answer in full: “Why is that every time we talk about countries from the south the first allegation is corruption. Last time I checked, in the USA and the UK and Europe, they’re riddled with corruption but nobody says they’re not capable of achieving their objectives because of corruption.

“Why is it that we’re not talking about the fact that these countries became independent having allowed those countries that colonised them to extract significant portions of their wealth such that we had no proper housing, no proper education, no proper healthcare systems, no proper legal systems, no proper … across the whole stream. And certainly nothing to do with building social capital like community development and cultural enterprises.”

She went on: “And what has happened is therefore that we have spent the time since independence trying to give our people what the global north has taken for granted and has supported by the extrication of centuries of wealth to give their people out of our blood, sweat and tears.

“Now when our blood, sweat and tears finances the industrial revolution, and the industrial revolution then causes the climate crisis, and then I have to pay for the consequences of the climate crisis because of the industrial revolution financed by our blood, sweat and tears, then I think that they have no moral authority to tell me anything about the financing of the climate or about why we don’t have enough.”

We see countries that have caused damage and long-term problems for other nations continue to judge, blacklist and find reasons for failing to offer support or pay recompense.

Let us return to the collapsed crypto platform FTX for a moment. When it collapsed, around the world, fingers were pointed at The Bahamas for no good reason.

As the court process has continued, some of those sides who criticised our jurisdiction have come round to praising it for the actions carried out. So far, it seems, we were right in doing what we had to do. The praise has not rung out as loudly as the criticism, however.

Contrast that with another crypto firm, Phoenix Community Capital. Have you heard of it? Probably not. But yet it seems to have completely disappeared last September, taking with it huge chunks of investors’ money. Its website has gone and its investment portfolios have become inaccessible since that date.

The firm, which boasted a value of $800m or so, also had links to members of Parliamentary groups in the UK. It was a sponsor of one all-party parliamentary group, and one of its founders spoke at another such group as well as appearing at events in Parliament.

It went from that to disappearing in a puff of smoke. Some of its assets have apparently been sold to a new company, according to the UK Guardian newspaper, run by an individual named “Dan”. No more than that. Just Dan. And investors have been told the new company has no obligation towards them.

And yet do we see articles about the first red flag for this company being its links in the UK? No. Not one.

It is hard not to look at that contrast and speculate as to the reasons why our nation becomes vilified for the collapse of a private business while another nation is treated with a shrug of the shoulders.

Another politician, an Irish Member of the European Parliament name Clare Daly, also highlighted some of the apparent double standards in operation.

She said earlier this month in the European Parliament: “If you read down the EU’s anti money laundering blacklist one of the things that immediately strikes you is that not one of the countries on the list is majority white and not one of them is what we would call the West because this blacklist is biased and inconsistent and has a lot more to do about lobbying power than a genuine assessment of risk.”

She pointed out that one of the criteria for featuring on the blacklist is a risk to financial integrity but then noted that Vanuatu, with an economy just nine percent of the size of Greece’s, is on the list. As she asked, is that really a threat to EU financial integrity?

We do not say this to pretend that our country is free of corruption – this newspaper has reported vigorously on such cases down the years – but there are other countries that do pretend they have no such corruption. And all too often, they are the ones judging others, including ourselves.

Sometimes it is not just about the questions being asked of others, but who is doing the asking.


birdiestrachan 1 year, 1 month ago

They did all they could to put the Bahamas iin a bad light , but what was so bad about the sitution is that Bahamians went along with what ever corruption and negatives that was published about the Bahamas they know who they are , it also became a political foot ball


ExposedU2C 1 year, 1 month ago

So the editorial staff of the The Tribune are content to remind us we still have more ways to go before we become the Nigeria of the Caribbean region.

Clearly The Tribune's editorial staff have become too defensively woke to criticize or accept criticism of the role our country played in the SBF/FTX debacle. LOL


Porcupine 1 year, 1 month ago

Glad to find out that the average Bahamian citizen is on par with all the other failed state's.citizens. This editorial is called whataboutism. Yes, the north is corrupt as hell. So, please let us languish in our own corruption. And, likewise, the papers in the north have given up any sense of fairness. Our papers may as well become as toothless and spineless as theirs. Really a sad world we are living in. Sad to see the newspapers become merely tabloids and a waste of time.


ThisIsOurs 1 year, 1 month ago

What the reporter said was true. What Mia Motley said was true. There is no either or

The Caribbean has been plundered by the European world throughout history AND the Caribbean is presently being plundered by greedy black men interested primarily in amassing their own wealth and in the process building and fostering corrupt systems to support their goal. Look at how they twist laws so they can serve even if found guilty of stealing public funds. What is that???.

"Contrast that with another crypto firm, Phoenix Community Capital. Have you heard of it? Probably not."

No. Noone heard of It before November 2021 either, unlike the social media darling FTX Because it did not have a 30 year old billionaire as its CEO, who was walking around in a tshirt and shorts claiming on viral internet ads that he would give away 90% of his wealth. It did not hold a crypto conference in The Bahamas in 2021 hosted by the likes of Scaramucci Bill Cljnyon and tkn yuh Blair. It did not have Tom Brady Gazelle and Mr Wonderful as public spokespersons and it did not place a million dollar superbowl add or take out a major sponsorship with a well k own football arena. It also did not become a spectacle when its CEO got into a public twitter battle with the CEO of a rival crypto firm, then ask the rival form to bail ot out a week later.

So, no, noone heard of it. This story is off track somewhat The basic facts are there but the nuances are all missing to spin a one sided story.

FTX collapsed primarily because it was UNREGULATED in a jurisdiction that boasted about its crypto legislation. Simple. I believe Sam and his crew read those laws and laughed


Sign in to comment