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Spotlight on Ambassadors and Ambassadorial appointments

The end of the last week has been abuzz with news of Grenada’s latest(?) ambassadorial appointment, the appointment of one, (Yuchen (Justin) Sun, a Chinese national to the World Trade Organisation (WTO) based in Geneva.

While this appointment had made news in Grenada, to date, I have been unable to find any news release that has come from either the Ministry of Foreign Affairs or the Government Information Service.

The news item on Now Grenada emanated from Mr. Sun’s company, TRON. Who is Mr. Sun? Who selected him/how was he selected? On what criteria has Mr. Sun been chosen to represent the Government and people of Grenada in this important international organisation?

Who is Justin Sun?

The information hereunder is some information that I have gleaned, courtesy Google.

Tron Foundation, Crypto-billionaire: He is described as a cryptobillionaire , a leading figure in the crypto and blockchain sphere is best known as the Founder of TRON , one of the world’s largest and most popular blockchain platforms.

According to Bloomberg, his company TRON has a market valuation of US$8.8 billion.

Resident in Grenada 2019: Bloomberg also advises that Mr. Sun said that he has been a resident in Grenada since 2019.

Comment/Query/Observation: What activities/project(s) has Mr. Sun been engaged in Grenada? How is it that such a celebrity has remained under the radar? Was he under observation and evaluation at this time and by whom?

Not a Paid Role: The position of Ambassador will not be a “paid role,” and “one of [Sun’s] goals is to represent and make blockchain mainstream by bringing it to the global political arena via [the] WTO.”

The article added that Sun loves promoting crypto to influential names, and he pays generously for the opportunity if necessary.

Comment/Query/Observation: Is Grenada selling diplomatic positions? Is Mr. Sun paying Grenada for this title? How will he be rewarded for his services to Grenada? From whom will Mr. Sun be taking instructions? To whom will he be reporting?

Stepping Down as CEO: Various news articles including Yahoo Finance, advise that Mr. Sun is stepping down from his role as CEO of Tron Foundation and “is joining the Government of Grenada as its new full-time ambassador to the World Trade Organisation”.

According to the report, Sun’s proficiency within the blockchain industry will give so much needed boost to the regional economy, especially since Grenada and CARICOM (the Caribbean Community) has been hit hard with a tourism shutdown due to Covid-19.

The article also noted the following observations of Mr. Sun:-

Blockchain Related Businesses: Grenada has several advantages for blockchain-related businesses and could become “a hotbed” of future blockchain developers.

USA and China: USA and China may be prompted to “hurry with their block chain efforts” especially “if the legitimisation of the blockchain industry in countries such as Grenada proves to be a success”

Comment/Query/Observation:

(a)   How will be success measured and for whom? Is it for members of the Eastern Caribbean Block Chain Association (ECBA)?   Has the ECBA been involved in any way in influencing Mr. Sun’s appointment?   Is it success for the Eastern Caribbean Central Bank which launched the pilot DCash Project in March 2021?

Related:  Happenings in a timing: What do they mean? Whose interests? Whose agenda?

Controversial/Hype Man: A feature article on Mr. Sun’s acquisition of BitTorrent, Hype Man of the Century, on The Verge platform, gives an insight into the character and personality of Mr. Sun – his business practices, his relationship with/treatment of employees, his run-ins with the Chinese etc.

The following paragraph from The Verge feature is insightful:- “If cryptocurrency and the BitTorrent protocol were technologies built on the idea of decentralisation, Tron’s acquisition of BitTorrent seemed designed to centralise power on Sun. Cribbing Ethereum’s white paper would be just the beginning in a series of ethically dubious moves by Sun: giving away Tesla cars and bidding millions on a showy power lunch; launching products that effectively rewarded piracy and products that exploited pornography. Then there was his alleged abusive conduct, which ranged from threats of violence to actual physical violence in the office.”

Run-ins with Chinese Authorities: Also worthy of note are his run-ins with the Chinese authorities. Among the incidents cited in the article are:- the crackdown on his company’s Initial Coin Offerings (ICOs) which forced his company to refund Chinese participants US$70 mn.

When he paid US$4.57 mn dollars, as a marketing stunt to have a charity lunch with US businessman, Warren Buffet who dismissed crypto currency as “rat poison squared”, to which he also invited Donald Trump.

He was asked by the Chinese authorities not to go through with the lunch because of state of trade relations between China and USA, described in the article as a “looming trade war”.

When he refused to comply, in order to get their message through, the Chinese authorities raided his organisation’s office in Bejing, detained his six top employees and his father in another advising that he was under investigation for corruption. Mr. Sun postponed his lunch with Mr. Buffet.

Comment/Query/Observation:   In the statement carried by Now Grenada, coming from TRON, there was a very interesting last line in the final paragraph – “He is also expected to conduct himself in a manner that always positively promotes Grenada’s image in the international community.” What is in the mortar besides the pestle?

Visiting Grenada, Cuba, Barbados et al: A more recent release, also emanating from TRON, and carried by the Federal, advises that Mr. Sun “is recently visiting Grenada, Cuba, Barbados, among other countries.

According to the Government of Grenada, his appointment as its WTO representative “is conducive to the digitisation of its trade, investment, and governance”.

Heavyweight in Science, Technology et al: This news item also advises that he is also a “heavyweight in science and technology, art, venture capital investment, and charity work, etc.”

Comment/Query/Observation:

ALBA Summit in Cuba: Was H.E. Sun at the recent ALBA Summit in Cuba that was attended by PM Mitchell?

Besides, technology, I have not seen any reference to the other areas in which Amb. Sun is considered a heavy weight.

All in the Fullness of Time:  

There are many things about the appointment of this young Chinese crypto-billionaire that we the people do not know nor understand. But one expects that in the fullness of time, all will be revealed.

Sandra Ferguson