GlobalHue won’t renew its contract

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The advertising agency at the centre of a storm of controversy over the past five years did not bid to extend its contract with the Department of Tourism this year.

GlobalHue was awarded a $13 million three-year contract in 2006 and a $28 million two-year contract in 2009. That contract expires in April this year. When asked if it would be extended, new Tourism Minister Patrice Minors said: “We have secured another option pertaining to the promotion of Bermuda as a tourism product.”

We asked her if she was unhappy with the company’s work, or had found a company that could do it for less, the Minister said: “Well its term limit expires… they haven’t expressed an interest to continue.”

Ms Minors declined to name the new firm that was chosen, or reveal anything about them. Nor did she respond to a query about the tender process. When GlobalHue’s contract was first announced sources claimed the company got the contract because its owner was friendly with former Premier Ewart Brown and had helped organize civil right’s leader Reverend Al Sharpton’s visit to the Island. Dr Brown denied the claims.

It made headlines again in 2009 when former Auditor General Larry Dennis said in a special audit report that he had “misgivings about the appropriateness of some payments to GlobalHue” for the 2007/2008 fiscal year.

He said the Department of Tourism may have paid $1.8 million too much to the company, which earned commissions as high as 186 percent for its work.

Soon after the report was released the company’s contract was extended through the sole tender process, meaning no other company was given the chance to bid for it.

In July last year, the House of Assembly’s cross-party Public Accounts Committee concluded that GlobalHue got its contract with Tourism without an open tender process, in a clear breach of Government’s own financial rules.

As a result of the finding Auditor General Heather Jacobs Matthews called for financial instructions to be tightened so that multimillion-dollar contracts must be put out to tender. The Department paid GlobalHue $41 million over five years to place television, radio and advertisements through media-buying agencies in the US, particularly a company called Cornerstone Media.

GlobalHue has previously denied over billing Bermuda. GlobalHue VP Jaqueline Reynolds The Royal Gazette’s previous contact no longer works with the company.

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Published Feb 17, 2011 at 10:00 am (Updated Feb 17, 2011 at 10:00 am)

GlobalHue won’t renew its contract

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