‘The money is gone’: Bahamas tries to turn page after FTX – The Associated Press – en Español
NASSAU, Bahamas (AP) — Dressed in a canary blue suit on a warm December night, sweat dripping from his brow, Bishop Lawrence Rolle belts out the lyrics to his latest hit song for the hundreds of children and adults gathered to celebrate Christmas.
“FTX!,” he sings, bent over and shaking his head for emphasis. “The money is gone!”
“FTX!,” his backup singer and audience scream back. “The money have done gone!”
The cryptocurrency exchange FTX was supposed to be the crown jewel of the Bahamian government’s push to be the global destination for all things crypto, after years of having an economy overly reliant on tourism and banking. Instead, FTX is bankrupt and Bahamians are trying to figure out what’s next for their country and whether their national crypto experiment has failed. Regulators are trying to locate FTX’s customers’ missing money.
Meanwhile, charities like Rolle’s and dozens of contractors now out of work hope that another company will come along and bring new opportunities to the island nation, without the complications and embarrassment of an alleged billion-dollar fraud.
Rolle, a Pentecostal preacher known as the “singing bishop,” is a prominent figure in the Bahamas. For decades, he’s cooked and donated food to the poor and provided school lunches from his neighborhood kitchen at International Deliverance Praying Ministry in Over-The-Hill, one of the most impoverished parts of the capital of Nassau. Rolle and his staff feed roughly 2,500 people a week.
Rolle had been invited by Kirby Samuel, the principal of Mt. Carmel Preparatory Academy, to sing as part of the school’s Christmas celebration. His act consisted mostly of a half dozen Afro-Caribbean gospel songs, but one number stood out — his social media hit about the recent collapse of FTX.
Rolle’s ministry received $50,000 from FTX in early 2022, one of several donations FTX made to the Bahamian people when it relocated to the Caribbean island nation in 2021. It was money, he said, that was used to restore a food storage trailer and make additional food donations. Rolle said it cost upward of $10,000 a week to run his food donation program.
Asked about the failure of FTX, Rolle described it as a sad distraction from …….