Bowen and Bowen(B&B) Company Limited has contributed almost half a million dollars to the fight against COVID-19. Yesterday, twenty hospital beds with mattresses and five thousand surgical masks were delivered to the Ministry of Health. Instead of the monetary donation, Chief Executive Officer of Bowen and Bowen noted that the Ministry requested the equipment which is in demand.
Michael Bowen, CEO/ President, Bowen & Bowen Ltd.: “We contacted the Ministry of Health as well as the Director of Health Services and inquired with them what he needed and what they needed for the Ministry of Health so it was with that coordination between our team and the Ministry of Health and the DHS that we went through this list and picked up the items which were to be donated and they actually specifically requested that we donate the items rather than donate the funds for the items. It was tough because of the fact with the US regulations right now they won’t allow the re-exportation of these health items because they are being held back for the US health services. So we had to go through different sources, I think these are all coming through Mexico and it’s been taking a little while because of that regulation in the United States where you can’t ship through you can’t even ship through the United States actually so items coming from a vendor that’s outside lands in the US they will not re export it. It wasn’t so much of a headache as much as a delay in time so these would have been here earlier if it wasn’t for the fact that we had this difficulty in the re exportation of it so some of the items are here and the rest of the items will arrive on May 8th and May 15th. So what we have right now is 20 hospital beds and the 5,000 face masks that are arriving and will be delivered this week and then on May 8 and May 15, is the 8 ventilators, 10,000 Covid tests and as well as the PPEs, the face masks and the body suits with boots. When we contacted the vendors we got the specifications to the items we shared those specifications with the DHS and the Ministry of Health for them to verify that these items were meeting the standards that they require.”
Though they are handing out a generous donation, the company is also facing a loss due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Michael Bowen, CEO/ President, Bowen & Bowen Ltd.: “Like all the businesses in Belize we’re facing a significant reduction in earnings due to the COVID crisis and when it comes to a donation like this it’s part of our business plan and mission statement of pursuing excellence for a stronger Belize so for us to have a strong Belize is the only way we can have a strong company and for us to be able to donate this with the support of our 1,200 plus employees is where this is coming form. It’s for the support of Belizeans and even though the regulations are being lifted up and some of the restrictions are eased if none of these items are used for a COVID patient even the better but nevertheless they’ll all still available for future use and the development of the Belize healthcare system into the future. This month to date we’re down 60% in the beverage business. Across the board I think we are deflected off our top line cumulative earnings about 15% but that’s going to continue growing as we have a deficit for the next few months. We budgeted a COVID forecast of this month and next month at 60% down in sales and then 40% thereafter through the Q3 and then Q4 depends on whether tourism starts to come back or some more regulations but that’s our prediction through the year. The first week we were restricted to only selling water to our distribution systems so the trucks would go out to the customers and we could only deliver water however through the stores that we have at our sales centers we were still able to deliver and sell soft drinks and beer but that was all by pickup and it had to be pre-ordered for picking. The second week it opened up and we could sell softdrinks and beer but we weren’t able to produce more soft drinks and beer so this week we’re trying to catch up with some of the inventory because based on the regulations changing on Saturday we have been able to open the factories again.”
Considering the loss, the company still has its full staff on board, unlike several other businesses.
Michael Bowen, CEO/ President, Bowen & Bowen Ltd.: “We’ve not committed any reduction in headcount, we’re committed to our staff, we’ve been communicated on a daily basis with our leadership team and on a weekly basis we have companywide town hall. We’ve also opened up a suggestion box we’re taking and we want and soliciting feedback from all of our staff and all of our members as well as their concerns it’s amazing how the team has pulled together to understand for the safeguard of everybody that yes there have been some austerity motions, we’ve been doing some cost savings but these cost savings have actually come from suggestions from staff as well as even ideas of how to reach our customers. I mean you might have seen that we’ve implemented a home sale delivery system which we hadn’t done for years as part of this effort but our commitment is to our staff and to maintain them.”
According to a press release from B&B, they are awaiting the arrival of one thousand Personal Protective Equipment and one thousand face shields, both of which are vital for the protection of the front-line healthcare workers. Additionally, B&B is donating ten thousand COVID-19 Testing Reagents, which is a critical component for the testing process. They are also donating eight ventilators expected to arrive between May 8 and May 15.