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Where’s the plan on what we do next?

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Gowon Bowe

By KHRISNA RUSSELL

Tribune Chief Reporter

krussell@tribunemedia.net

A FINANCIAL expert contended yesterday that the government’s comprehensive long-term post-coronavirus plan should already have been presented to Bahamians.

Gowon Bowe, Fidelity Bank (Bahamas) chief financial officer, told The Tribune the “danger” in Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ Monday address is that many would not understand why last week there was a need for a complete lockdown, but this week the nation is now poised to reopen.

Both elements together, he suggested, show there is no plan in place to steer the nation amid economic downturn due to COVID-19.

However, he agreed the country is at a point where an economic shutdown can no longer be sustained.

Mr Bowe said: “I would argue that when we stop and pause, even from March, the purpose of having lockdowns globally has been to devise a strategy in terms of how we live with COVID going forward and that has been lacking and still is necessary.

“I think the danger in the communication last night is a week ago we were told that we were on the brink of virtual collapse and needed to be in a complete shutdown. A week later we were told that some of that data may not have been accurate and we are now in a position where we can start opening up the economy.”

He continued: “… Either science was flawed, either the data left much to be desired - which appears to be the case - or we made a decision that is based on economic fortunes as opposed to health. The question will be well why wasn’t that decision made earlier because we have gone through a tremendous amount of economic downturn?

“So I think we have to be careful that that message is not perceived as being a situation where the country is safe to move around freely.

“I think the reality is we are at a point where economically we just cannot sustain being shut down because the little trickling economic activity that is taking place, if that is shut off then that would be irreparable.

“... Where there is no vision the people perish and ultimately there should have been by this point in time greater demonstration and presentation of a long-term plan. Not what is deemed to be phases, but a comprehensive plan that says these are the metrics that we are managing.”

Mr Bowe questioned yesterday why nothing had not been articulated so citizens had a clear idea of the government’s actions.

“If we know that we have x number of beds; we know we have x number of health professionals; we know what we can sustain in our medical system in terms of positive cases deaths etc, then on a metrical basis we should be able to say that when we hit these particular triggers then we are going to make more restrictive decisions and so it shouldn’t start from being the most restrictive or start from being the least restrictive. It should start on the basis of what is going to trigger and how different phases are going to come about.

“I think there has to be an acknowledgment that this is unprecedented but equally in the business world it’s very candid. If you don’t have the right advisors then you seek them and if you don’t have the right systems you purchase them.

“If you don’t have the right treatments to address it you ensure that you procure it and so the government has to take an all-out position that it will make sure that it is engaging the right persons to devise a strategy that is not thinking about next week or the month, but is thinking about the next 12 months or 18 months as it relates to how we live with it balancing the health officials, the economic contributors and also the social considerations.”

On Monday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis said the government was committed to a measured phased re-opening of the economy and society, based on specific health metrics.

This was hoped to act as an aid to the public, to gauge when there may be more relaxed or more restrictive measures.

While he did not go into specifics of what his administration’s economic recovery plan would look like, Dr Minnis said officials were working on a revised detailed phased plan to boost jobs and economic growth domestically.

Comments

ThisIsOurs 2 years, 1 month ago

"If you don’t have the right treatments to address it you ensure that you procure it and so the government has to take an all-out position that it will make sure that it is engaging the right persons to devise a strategy that is not thinking about next week or the month, but is thinking about the next 12 months or 18 months as it relates to how we live with it balancing the health officials, the economic contributors and also the social considerations."

From what I've seen there are a tremendous amount of buzzards with access to the PM. Many of them are white, foreign and in the tech sector. Some are ablely assisted by buzzardy Bahamians and some are buzzardy Bahamians. They advocate for half asp digital systems and charge millions to implement. Then we're stuck with a system that's inadequate for the need and pour more money than expected to bring it to almost the level we need.

They're easy to identify, just look around at any "overwhelmed" system with less than 500,000 users.

This is happening EVERYWHERE. We need to get rid of the buzzards. All the bad advice should be identified and anyone giving that advice should be removed from advising the PM. They can advise a small business or something but not the man steering our country and its treasury

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newcitizen 2 years, 1 month ago

Well, we can skip past the racism of your post and move onto the failed thought exersize. Your position is that we better not upgrade anything because it will cost money and won't be good enough. Turns out our system already wastes way more money and is not good enough for 20 years ago. Might as well just sit and wait around until a perfect solution falls into our lap as the world passes us by.

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 1 month ago

it wasnt meant as racism. I love all peoples.

It's meant as fact. I can find Kwasi Thompson's statement on how he went in one room with the developers (white) "programming software for a wearable device" and was afraid he would get skewered by the public becayse tgey were all white, but he was relieved when he went in another room with the bahamians (I can only assume black Bahamians) where his guide told him those guys would install the software.

See? right there he tells you exactly what he thinks of black Bahamians. It wasn't my words

I could find the radio interviews with cabinet ministers saying we don't have Bahamian programmers so we have to bring them in, with the head off the tech hub saying It would take us 8 years to train Bahamians in tech so we have to import Indians.. and on and on.They reveal their attitudes to black tech workers consistently

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ThisIsOurs 2 years, 1 month ago

you missed my point. There are fabulous programmers of all races. What Im saying is our govt seems to fall prey quite often to the swindlers with the "right" packaging because they don't know what they need to make a good system. And the swindlers know they dont know. Thats my point. Didn't we just pay a bunch of money for a state of the art NIB system in the last administration? Now we're getting ready to pay more money. just one example...

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rodentos 2 years, 1 month ago

there is no plan, there never was and there never will be

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trueBahamian 2 years, 1 month ago

It's good that we gave this article here. We need more of these to highlight the gross incompetence of our government. Clearly there isn't a plan. The Economic Recovery Committee is a punchline for a bad joke. Unfortunately, the joke is at our expense.

The PM needs to get intelligent people with ideas who have a good understanding of how to build our economy. Like someone said you can have a very smart person in government, who has worked for a number of years, they may be excellent at what they do but is that the person you should ask how to stimulate an economy? If you have never ran a business to understand the complexity of what is happening now first hand, how can you advise anyone? You don't go to a good mechanic to prepare your financial statements.

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newcitizen 2 years, 1 month ago

As Henry Ford said "If I asked people what they want, they would tell me a faster horse". All our government can think of is a faster horse.

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TigerB 2 years, 1 month ago

The world doesn't have a plan...no one does, Ask Donald Trump, Check out Wuhan in China, zero plan, Ask Putin in Russa, none. We certainly don't have one, except like everyone wait for the vaccine. To add to that we done broke, Treasury, empty, NIB empty, the only plan I see is to find a way to make more money, that is open up. We will not get it anywhere else.

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tribanon 2 years, 1 month ago

I'm fearful Minnis might be a close blood relative of yours. That certainly would explain a lot about his cluelessness and lack of direction.

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trueBahamian 2 years, 1 month ago

Other countries don't have a plan? Really? On the economic side, the US government has passed Bill's for trillions of dollars in economic stimulus packages. The Federal Reserve is carefully watching everything to see.of there is anything they can do to boost the economy.

The US government has cleared the path for pharmaceutical companies to get vaccines approved faster. There's a drug, remdesivir that's already in use to treat seriously ill Covid-19 patients. If I recall this is an American pharmaceutical company. The government would have made things easier for them to get their drug to market.

No country can solve the spread of the disease, that's with people. But, each government can come up with some plan, even if it's simply clearing the path for progress.

We keep forgetting the population of this country is small enough, that you can pretty much run this like a corporation. We keep looking at the US or.other large countries and say, oh they couldn't do this so how can we? Is it the same challenge to run a household as it is to run a multinational business? A household is smaller and easier to manage, right? So, why shouldn't a small country be easier to manage than a very large one? We're too quick to accept nonsense and justify it by comparing ourselves to others far more complex.

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tribanon 2 years, 1 month ago

Bowe knows, perhaps more than most, that Minnis's level of intelligence, level of common sense, communication skills and leadership skills, are all markedly below the norm one should expect of the leader of a nation. Minnis is further handicapped by his arrogant, vindictive and distrustful ways that prevent him from attracting and availing himself of sound advice from the best minds in our country. He is power-crazed and enjoys being surrounded by those who are willing to kiss his butt and not question his decisions or authority. As a consequence of his many serious shortcomings, Minnis has repeatedly shown he is incapable of putting together a coherent and sensible national plan for anything. I fear he will remain clueless and directionless, and without good advisors, at a time when our country needs exceptionally good leadership more than ever.

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joeblow 2 years, 1 month ago

... sadly, I had a 30 minute conversation with a connected FNM yesterday and they cited most of the things you said about the PM.

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sheeprunner12 2 years, 1 month ago

With no real expectations of tourism (as we know it) to rebound for the next TWO years .......... what is the country's Plan B ....... or Plan C, D, E etc?????

We need to be able to earn at least 70% of our previous GNP level ($12 Billion per annum) to survive economic collapse.

Bowe is right .......... maybe the ERC has the plan that will be shared some time in September

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