Thursday, March 23, 2023


US Admits Error on Chinese Influence in The Bahamas: ‘China Has Not Built the Biggest Embassy in The Bahamas’

In what appeared to be an initial attempt to play up China’s influence in The Bahamas, the United States is now laying it on the line–China did not build its biggest embassy in the Bahamas, as previously stated by US generals at a congressional hearing.

US Generals Laura Richardson and Glen VanHerck made the remark on Wednesday in front of the House Armed Services Committee as they warned of China’s influence in the Bahamas and other Caribbean nations, “neighbours” of the United States.

VanHerck said China is “very aggressive” in the Bahamas,where they have built the biggest embassy in the world, with an ambassador who “uses the information space to undermine us each and every day.”

The Chinese embassy had since hit back on Friday. “It can not be further from the truth to suggest that China has built its largest embassy in world in The Bahamas. We’re not even the largest Chinese embassy in the Caribbean.

“Anyone who is familiar with Nassau knows which embassy is the biggest one on the island.”

And in a social media post, Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas Dai Qingli said, “What a compliment!” as she showed a CNN news report of the claim.

The US embassy in The Bahamas responded, “The embassy would like to set the record straight: contrary to recent US congressional testimony, the PRC has not built the biggest embassy around the globe in The Bahamas.”

China and US, both world powers at a tense era in its relationship, have been competing for influence in the region but China has long stressed that its influence is based on mutual benefits and needs.

Chinese Ambassador Hits Back as US Accuses Her of Undermining Them in The Bahamas

As US-China relations sharply deteriorate, Chinese Ambassador to The Bahamas Dai Qingli is not backing down and hit back at the United States after US generals say China is expanding in The Bahamas, where it has “built its biggest embassy in the world.”

Qingli, in a social media post, made light of the accusations, “What a compliment!”

US and China’s relationship is fraught with tension after a Chinese surveillance balloon was spotted in the US and was eventually shot down last month. Washington also accused China of aiding Russia in its fight for Ukraine.

Now Senior US Generals have accused Qingli of using the information space in the Bahamas to “undermine us each and every day,” prodding US lawmakers to assign an ambassador to the country, since it has not had a permanent US ambassador since 2011.

“We’ve got to pay more attention to this region,” General Laura Richardson, a commander of the US Southern Command, warned on Wednesday, in a committee hearing.

“The proximity matters. They (The Bahamas and Caribbean countries) are on the 20-yard line of our homeland. We are in a neighborhood, these are our neighbors, and we have got to pay attention to them.”

Richardson and General VanHerck, a commander of the US Northern Command told the House Armed Services Committee that China’s expansion in the Bahamas and other Caribbean countries is “aggressive.”

“The [People’s Republic of China] has the capability and intent to eschew international norms, advance its brand of authoritarianism, and amass power and influence at the expense of these democracies,” Gen. Richarson said.

“The PRC has expanded its ability to extract resources, establish port, manipulate governments through predatory investment practices, and build potential dual-use space facilities — the most space facilities in any combatant command region.”

The US and China are two world economic powers that are jostling for the number one spot. The US has long worried that China is gaining major influence in the region, accusing Beijing of pushing smaller countries into “debt traps.”

China has denied it is competing for influence in the region and said that its relationship with The Bahamas and the Caribbean is rooted in mutual benefit and needs.

Can FTX Founder Sam Bankman-Fried Fight and Win Against US Extradition?

The Sam Bankman-Fried saga is getting worse and he is now facing a slew of charges in the US after his arrest and a request for extradition was filed in the Bahamas. His criminal charges range from fraud to money laundering while the Bahamas conducts its own investigations after the implosion of FTX, the world’s second-largest crypto exchange.

But before he is extradited, Bankman-Fried must appear before a Bahamas court for proceedings and waive his rights to be extradited.

What is extradition and what is the agreement between the Bahamas and the US?

Extradition is when one country hands over a suspect to face trial for alleged crimes.

It is a process and the circumstances were established by a treaty signed in 1990.

Whenever the US wants to put a suspect before its court, its prosecutors ask the Bahamas government.

The suspect is sent to a Bahamas court where the judge examines the request made and is convinced that the suspect is indeed wanted by the USA.

The judge does not need an admission of guilt by the suspect. In this case, the US only needs to explain to the Bahamas court that there is a case that Bankman-Fried needs to answer.

What is Sam Bankman-Fried Accused of?

Eight charges were levied against the 30-year-old crypto genius: Conspiracy to commit wire fraud on customers, wire fraud on customers, conspiracy to commit wire fraud on lenders, wire fraud on lenders, conspiracy to commit commodities fraud, conspiracy to commit securities fraud, conspiracy to commit money laundering, conspiracy to defraud the United States and violation of campaign finance laws.

Before the charges were filed, Bankman-Fried denied he defrauded investors in media interviews and chalked up losses to accounting errors.

But today, a South District New York Court stated that he defrauded investors in “good old fashion embezzlement,” and described it as “a house of cards” that crumbled. Customers lost $8 billion said Gretchen Lowe of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission.

Can Sam Bankman-Fried refuse to be extradited?

Bankman-Fried plans to put up a fight to avoid extradition by not waiving his rights.

If Bankman-Fried had waived his rights or agreed to the extradition, the Bahamas would have been able to immediately extradite him.

His rejection on Tuesday may delay the extradition but his attempts, most likely, won’t be successful.

It’s unknown now how quickly the extradition would happen.

His next extradition hearing is scheduled for February 8, 2023.

Photo credit: Cheyenne Ligon/CoinDesk

US Supreme Court Overturns Roe v. Wade; States Can Ban Abortion

Associated Press: The Supreme Court has ended the nation’s constitutional protections for abortion that had been in place for nearly 50 years in a decision by its conservative majority to overturn Roe v. Wade. Friday’s outcome is expected to lead to abortion bans in roughly half the states.

The decision, unthinkable just a few years ago, was the culmination of decades of efforts by abortion opponents, made possible by an emboldened right side of the court that has been fortified by three appointees of former President Donald Trump.

Both sides predicted the fight over abortion would continue, in state capitals and in Washington, and Justice Clarence Thomas, part of Friday’s majority, called on the court to overturn other high court rulings protecting same-sex marriage, gay sex and the use of contraceptives.

West Virginia’s lone clinic performing abortions stopped after Friday’s decision.

The ruling came more than a month after the stunning leak of a draft opinion by Justice Samuel Alito indicating the court was prepared to take this momentous step.

It puts the court at odds with a majority of Americans who favored preserving Roe, according to opinion polls.

Source: Associated Press

Monkeypox is Spreading Globally. What You Need to Know about the Sudden Outbreak

Monkeypox, a common virus in Central and West Africa, is increasing in several countries in Europe and now in the United States of America.

There have been more than 100 cases reported worldwide and the UK Health Security Agency says the outbreak is “significant and concerning” though the risk to its population “remains low.”

The first case was discovered in a man from Massachusetts who traveled from Canada, and a recent case was detected in Florida.

Though anyone is susceptible to the virus, experts say most of the cases were found in gay men.

President Joe Biden said “people should be careful” but it does not “rises to the level of the kind of concern that existed with Covid-19.”

Belgium, with four cases reported on Monday, though, is taking precautions and is the first country to introduce a mandatory 21-day quarantine for monkeypox patients.  Close contacts are not required to self-isolate.

How Monkeypox spreads

Experts said the virus does not seem to spread easily between people but can spread through close physical contact with somebody infected.

The early symptoms are the flu, fever and chills, and a rash that can spread from the face to other parts of the body.

The rash of raised spots turns into blisters which clear up within two to four weeks.

Experts say the smallpox vaccine can be used to help limit the spread.

President Biden said vaccines were being offered to close contacts but there were no plans for an “at scale” vaccination program.

“We do have vaccines procured at significant numbers but given the nature of this and how we know it’s spreading, it’s thought to be no clinical requirement for that sort of at scale campaign,” he said.

Haitian Migrant Inflow Grows Concerning


The southern islands of the Bahamas have been inundated with the influx of Haitian migrants over the weekend.

Authorities captured nearly 400 Haitian migrants on Sunday on an uninhabited island in the Ragged Island chain, after fishermen noticed a partially submerged vessel in the area.

This comes after 500 more migrants were captured in Matthew Town, Inagua on Saturday.

Officials said the groups will be deported as soon as they are processed.

In a video, Deputy Prime Minister Chester Cooper is seen speaking to the lively group in Inagua as they sit under a tent.

He tells them through an interpreter, “…You’ve had enough food and enough water. We are asking you to be patient. It is important that you follow the instructions of the officers. We want you to know that you have landed in the Bahamas illegally. Therefore we will help you, we will process you to return to your home,” as the migrants clapped.

ZNS reporter Lloyd Allen said in a social media post that the government was seeking to provide temporary housing for the migrants.

This influx comes as the authorities in the United States cleared a border camp in Texas, USA that sprung up with well over 30,000 Haitian migrants under a bridge.

According to Reuters, 12,000 migrants will appear before US immigration judges for stay, 8,000 were returned to Mexico and 2,000 were sent back to Haiti. The others were detained as the state decides its next move.

Trump or Biden? What the US Election Means for the Bahamas

The world is watching the U.S presidential race. The Bahamas too, is keeping a close eye on the 2020 elections.

We care about who will win the election set for Tuesday because the next president impacts the Bahamas’ relationship with the world’s ‘superpower’ and it affects our economy.

President Donald Trump represents a different type of leader, who is unorthodox and is not considered a ‘politician.’

And we’ve been introduced to Joe Biden as President Barak Obama’s vice president, described as a moderate politician but fast becoming a leftist, based on some people’s opinion.

The USA’s economic influence on the Bahamas

The United States provides the Bahamas with 80% of its tourism market, greatly influencing the economy of this small island nation where the sector is our primary industry. The millions of tourists that visit the Bahamas from the United States each year, help with the circulation of the American dollar into our economy.  And, jobs in the Bahamas are created from our dependency on tourism.

But COVID-19 has shutdown our tourism market as countries like the US are lockdown to contain the spread of the virus. The fewer people travel from the U.S.A, the greater the negative impact on our economy.

Both presidential candidates have a different perspective on the economy and the handling of the virus in the United States.

President Trump’s loose approach invites the reopening of the country and the end to lockdowns against the advice of the CDC and health officials. He predicts that the economy will rebound and touts that a vaccine will soon be available.

Trump rallies thousands at Miami-Dade County airport | Miami Herald
President Donald Trump speaks at a rally in Miami. Photo credit: Miami Herald

On the other hand, Vice President Biden has cautioned against reopening the US. He says if elected as president, he will follow the advice of health officials advising against reopening. In fact, Biden said the US economy cannot recover until the virus is contained.

Joe Biden's low-key campaign style worries some Democrats – The Denver Post
President candidate Joe Biden speaks to a small crowd as he practices social distancing. Photo credit: USA Today

The decision made by the next President of the United States directly affects the Bahamas, one way or another.

On November 2nd, the Bahamas moved forward with reopening to tourists, hoping that more tourists will visit sooner and regrow the economy.