Bowe: Lockdown reversal “equally as disconcerting”

Bowe: Lockdown reversal “equally as disconcerting”
Gowon Bowe

NASSAU, BAHAMAS — A well-known banker yesterday described government’s decision to reverse course regarding lockdowns as “equally as disconcerting” as an announcement of another lockdown.

Gowon Bowe, the Fidelity Group’s chief executive, warned that the move was “no substitution” for a long term COVID-19 plan.

Bowe was responding to the Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ announcement regarding the the reopening of commercial activity with certain restrictions next Monday, August 31.

He said the message should be take “with a grain of salt”.

“This is something that has to be methodically thought out and mapped out,” Bowe said.

“The worst thing that can happen is to have businesses make preparations and to have a reversal of course. The only way to ensure that risk is mitigated is to say what the actual elements are being monitored and followed up so that every business and every individual understands what is going to happen if certain things do or do not take place.

“I think the message should be taken with a grain of salt because it has to come along with a plan. The reopening is not a substitute for developing a plan to live with this long term. There has to be a very careful analysis.”

He said: “It’s not an exuberant message in my view. This is a message many in the business community has been clamoring for but it’s sort of a be careful what you wish for type of situation.

“We must be sure that there is a complete understanding of what it means going forward. To have reversal of course in such a complete and dramatic fashion is equally as disconcerting to me as would have been the announcement of another lockdown. We got here gradually and I would have expected a gradual rescinding of the orders.”

While health officials have admitted to “mix ups” that have resulted in delays in contact tracing and testing, Bowe noted that there will be concerns over the quality of the data.

“There are going to be concerns over quality of data mining because they referred heavily to highly automating the data collection and analysis,” said Bowe.

“That is something you would not have wanted to have heard and not have heard because you would have expected all along there was some automated tool being used.”

Minnis said during Monday’s press conference that early data on cases in New Providence, indicated the need for more restrictive measures.

However, the prime minister said over the last 24-hours, health officials reviewed the latest data and new analysis has shifted the recommendation.

Minnis said the health teams have seen “positive trends” developing in New Providence.