Sir William Allen, who served as governor of The Central Bank of The Bahamas and later minister of finance, died at his New Providence home yesterday after a long illness. He was 83.
Former Prime Minister Hubert Ingraham, in expressing condolences to Sir William’s family, said his contribution to the development and advancement of The Bahamas is immeasurable.
Ingraham noted that Allen returned home from the United States in 1970 to take up a post as research manager at the Central Bank. He went on to serve as deputy governor and ultimately as governor of the bank. He was appointed to that post on June 1, 1980 after the resignation of the late Timothy Baswell Donaldson from the post.
“In 1992, I persuaded Bill to join my new government as a senator and accept an appointment as minister of state in the Ministry of Finance and Planning,” the former prime minister added.
“Following his election to Parliament in 1994, he became my portfolio minister of finance, a position which he held through to the end of our second term in office in 2002.
“Bill’s experience and advice was invaluable to me and to each of the governments I was privileged to lead. I credit him for the new 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 government financing.”
Ingraham said, “Bill has been in declining health for some time and early last year suggested to me that he knew that his time was limited. He was gracious in expressing appreciation for having had the opportunity to serve our great country.
“He said that he believed that we had made our country better. And of course, we had, in 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 2017, Ingraham hosted a luncheon in honor of Sir William, who turned 80.
At the time, he described his former minister as “one of the unsung heroes in terms of public service in The Bahamas”.
Zhivargo Laing, former minister of state for finance who was one of the former ministers who attended the luncheon, remarked at the time: “In almost every way that a friend and professional colleague could impact a person, Sir William Allen has impacted me.
“His intellectual capacity, his authenticity, his seriousness about the task and assignment and his desire to see you grow as an individual, was all the experience I had with him, as a Cabinet colleague, as a parliamentary colleague, and simply as a friend.”
In a statement last night, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis offered condolences to Sir William’s family on behalf of the Bahamian people and said he was saddened to learn of his death.
“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.”
Minnis said The Bahamas has lost a distinguished statesman.