NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Former Central Bank Governor Sir William “Bill” Allen, KCMG and a “distinguished statesman”, died yesterday.
He was 83.
Sir William was remembered as one of the most accomplished Bahamians of his generation.
He joined the Bahamas Monetary Authority as manager of research in 1970.
He was named deputy governor of the Central Bank in 1974 and later became governor in 1980.
He was appointed to the Ingraham administration Senate in 1994 and served as minister of state in the Ministry of Finance and Planning.
In November 1994, Sir William was elected to Parliament for the Montagu constituency and appointed minister of finance — a position he held until the end of the Free National Movement’s (FNM) second term in May 2002.
Among his many successes in government, he was also instrumental in the capitalization and establishment of the country’s national flag carrier, Bahamasair.
Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II knighted him in 2000 in her New Year’s Honours List for his service to banking, civics and politics.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, who worked alongside Sir William, said he was greatly saddened to learn of the passing of his dear friend and former colleague
“Bill’s contribution to the development and advancement of our country is immeasurable,” Ingraham said.
“…Bill’s experience and advice were invaluable to me in each of the governments I was privileged to lead.
“I credit him for new the levels of discipline introduced into the government’s budget process and for setting the country on a path of financial reform that ushered in greater degrees of transparency and accountability in the government’s financing.”
Ingraham noted that Sir William’s health was declining for some time, and recalled that early last year he suggested that he knew his time was limited.
“He was gracious in expressing his appreciation in having the opportunity to serve our country,” he added.
“He said he believed we had made our country better, and of course we had, in no small way and no small part because of the commitment and dedication of men like him — men of great talent and character, who placed love of country and duty to public service ahead of personal gain.”
In a statement offering condolences to Sir William’s family, Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis noted that The Bahamas has lost a “distinguished statesman”.
“The Bahamas was fundamentally bettered by Sir William’s service,” Minnis said.
“He was a man of integrity who gave his all to his country. I also wish to express my gratitude for his advice and assistance when I served as leader of the opposition.
“On behalf of the government and people of The Bahamas, and on my own behalf, and that of my wife, Patricia, I offer condolences to Sir William’s wife, Aloma, his children, siblings and other family members and his many friends and former colleagues.”
Opposition Leader Philip Brave Davis also memorialized Sir William, insisting that he will be sorely missed.
“Sir William Allen clearly loved and served his country with pride, honor and distinction,” Davis said.
“He was always a gentleman and the consummate professional in his deportment and elocution.
“…He was a good man, a good friend and our beloved country benefitted measurably from his talents and contributions — even as he offered public advice and analyses on any number of public policy matters of national import well into his retirement years.”