Mr. Prime Minister, when you are going to shut down the country ahead of an act of God such as a tropical cyclone, one of the many things that need to be done is the government is to formally and in a timely manner, advise the Governor of the Central Bank, so that the Central Bank can cause the necessary to be done in concert with the Clearing Banks Association regarding the hours of operation for banks during that particular period of time.
This was not done as per standard government protocol, and because of it, it created a state of chaos which resulted in banks abruptly closing for the rest of the week, with its clients who were due to be paid at the end of this week being left unable to collect their salary.
The Central Bank and the Clearing Banks Association are not supposed to find out over the television or radio that they are supposed to close operations.
But, when the Prime Minister decided to make the announcement that he wanted establishments closed as of 7:00am Thursday without actually first advising certain establishments as per protocol, it threw everything for the banks at least, into a mess.
And so, Bahamians and residents throughout the country were furious to arrive at their banks Thursday morning to find them all closed with no prior notice – notice the banks would have been able to give if the government had followed its own protocol regarding the banking sector.
In fact, banks would perhaps have wished to remain open if only half day on Thursday, but once the Prime Minister of the country speaks publicly; it causes certain things to happen – either right or wrong.
In this case, it happened wrongly. Prime Minister Sir, you are not new to this job. What happened with the banking sector did not need to happen. As for those who could not collect their salary this week, when people are to be paid, they expect to be paid – but that ended up not happening because of how the government handled the closure of businesses ahead of the passage of Hurricane Sandy.
Hopefully the inability to collect salaries this week among other important things, did not result in persons being unable to prepare for Hurricane Sandy as they otherwise may have been able to.