Bowe criticises govt for failing to explain its policies properly


Gowon Bowe


Tribune Chief Reporter


THE government has failed to clearly articulate its rationale for relaxing restrictions on certain businesses leaving itself open to criticism that could have otherwise been avoided, according to a noted economist yesterday.

Gowon Bowe, Fidelity Bank Bahamas' chief financial officer, said the government needs to close the gap in information exchange with the public to give greater understanding of why certain decisions are being made.

On Sunday, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis announced several entities would be allowed to reopen in the capital under certain guidelines, while at the same time revealing COVID-19 cases had increased.

The businesses allowed to operate this week include auto parts stores, hardware and home stores and plant nurseries. Landscaping and property maintenance are also now regarded as essential services.

But judging from the long lines that have been associated with the new openings this week, Mr Bowe said the question of why these businesses needed to be operational moving forward should be answered. He said: "In the absence of having a clearly set out plan of action in terms of the basis in which you do things, the government leaves itself subject to criticisms where it is a lack of understanding versus a difference of opinion and they need to close that gap.

"I say that from the perspective that there may be very specific reasons why these particular industries or entities were allowed to open versus the apparent haphazard nature and in this time I think the most important element is we don't have a crystal ball to be absolutely clear, but what we do know is that the longer the economy is totally shuttered the more difficult it is to sustain because in the Bahamas we don't have the luxury of printing money like they do in Europe and the United States where the government can effectively pay people to stay home, meaning if you are unemployed you can receive a cheque that helps you to get through another month.

"I think that putting that into context there's a desire to say well how do we allow persons to earn that subsistence level. But what we have not had is a sufficient articulation of what are the factors that allow you to make various decisions almost like a matrix that if this happens these are the things that we are going to do," Mr Bowe continued.

"If we say that we believe the number of new cases is consistent so it does not appear that we are effectively increasing and we aren't spiking, we may have plateaued, but we kind of have a much lower number of new cases then there are three things that we consider: one, what I am going to call gross value industries that will allow the greatest number of employment to get back so that that there is an an opportunity to do things economically. Two that are safe so that you don't create a resurgence and then three, which I think is the most important which is to create positive sentiment because when you are shuttered and all you hear is the negativity there is a desire to have some positive news."

He also said: "(So) the failing of government is not the businesses they chose, the failing of government is the lack of setting out what is the thought process in order to enable it to happen. From a health perspective if there is any type of risk of these types of businesses creating spikes, which it appears it might do because these are lines so it's not like they were any different from the truly essential services, the question is was that based. . .on economics that's trumped health or was it one that they felt the health risk was actually minimal."

PLP leader Philip "Brave" Davis has also questioned the basis for the government's opening of additional businesses this week. He accused Dr Minnis of causing "anger, chaos and panic" through the changes.


DDK 4 years, 3 months ago

Sounds quite sensible and logical to me, Mr. Bowe, except that you are assuming "they" HAVE a thought process.....

birdiestrachan 4 years, 3 months ago

Perhaps the PM was instructed to open these businesses. it came out of the clear blue.

One can purchase car parts. but the mechanic shops are closed.

No rhyme, no reason. expect The PM says so.

BONEFISH 4 years, 3 months ago

Gowon Bowe is an accountant.He is not a trained economist.

He will tell you that.

The editors need to check these stories before they go to print.

sheeprunner12 4 years, 3 months ago

Gowan Bowe is masquerading as a financial expert ………. but he is just a closet 2022 candidate for the PLP …………. He is secretly hoping that Minnis dem mess up, anyway.

Well_mudda_take_sic 4 years, 3 months ago

Bowe used to be about as FNM as they come; but today, like so many of us, he probably has as much disdain for the Minnis-led FNM government as he has always had for any Pindling or Christie-led PLP government. Bowe does admittedly have one significant attribute in common with most politicians though. He just loves to hear himself talk....almost as much as I enjoy posting comments to this website!

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