Major contracts of Dr Brown's Premiership come to an end
Several contracts awarded under former Premier Brown have ended under Premier Paula Cox.
Yesterday United Bermuda Party Senator Michael Dunkley said his party welcomed the move but that future contracts need to be handled more transparently.
The contracts include the highest paid local consultants and international Mirrors consultants.
Dr Brown declined to comment on the contracts yesterday.
As has previously been reported contracts with GlobalHue and Kurron Shares of America Inc will not continue in the coming fiscal year.
Over the years there was speculation about both contracts because Dr Brown was a friend of both companies' owners.
GlobalHue was paid $41 million over five years to be Bermuda's advertising agency.
In 2006 Dr Brown said he would no longer answer “plantation questions” questions he said the media would not ask a white person after media asked “aggressive” questions about his relationship with GlobalHue president Don Coleman.
In 2009 former Auditor General Larry Dennis said he had “misgivings about the appropriateness of some payments” to GlobalHue and Government may have overpaid the company by $1.8 million.
Two weeks ago current Minister of Tourism Patrice Minors said the company had not bid for the 201½012 contract.
Yesterday, GlobalHue's public relations consultant Kathleen Mazzocco said the company would not comment when asked why they had not bid for the contract.
Last week Government quango Bermuda Hospitals Board announced it cut short the five-year $13.5 million Kurron contract by 18 months after a review of ways to “improve efficiency and find appropriate operational cost savings”. The spokeswoman said the contract, in addition to ending smaller contracts, saved BHB $4 million.
When the contract was announced in 2007 doctors claimed Kurron Shares was “minor league”. It was later revealed they beat out world-renowned Johns Hopkins Medicine International. Concern was also raised about Dr Brown's friendship with the head of Kurron, Corbett Price.
A comment by Opposition MP Grant Gibbons about an alleged donation made by Kurron to a foundation run by Dr Brown's wife prompted Dr Brown to say that black people had money and sometimes supported other black politicians. In a heated statement in Parliament, he added: “I would never call that member a racist dog, because I can tell that he is not a dog.”
Yesterday Sen Dunkley said: “ We are pleased to see that the Government has rethought these contracts, ones in which we in the Opposition have been very vocal about and in doing so made public our reasons for not supporting them.
“It is a sad testament that during this process none of our comments were addressed directly but in typical fashion were brushed off as racism and scaremongering.
“I suggest this review proves that constructive opposition will bear fruit for the people of Bermuda, most welcomed during these tough economic times when so many Bermudians are really feeling the pinch.”
He said contracts need to be “backed up by true accountability and transparency” in the future.
In addition to those contracts others under Dr Brown's tenure will not be carried on in 2011.
Eudora Browne Zuill's $103,800-a-year contract to research and draft policy statements ended on December 31, 2010.
Government MP Marc Bean's $92,400-a-year contract for representing Bermuda at Caricom meetings, reviewing the Bermuda Independence Commission and assisting with Bermuda's Race Relations Initiative ended in November 2010.
According to answers to Parliamentary Questions tabled in the House of Assembly in February last year they were, respectively, the highest and third highest paid local consultants and worked for the Cabinet.
Rolfe Commissiong was the second highest. His $103,200 a year contract to present the Bermuda Race Relations Initiative (BRRI), work on the Young Black Male Study and establish a visa waiver assistance programme had expired in November 2010.
However he has been hired on a six-month basis to assist with the implementation of recommendations from the Mincy Report.
A Government press secretary did not say how much he now earned a month.
Another consultant whose contract has ended is former PLP Senator Walton Brown. He could not be reached yesterday.
At the time the contract amounts were revealed Opposition leader Kim Swan said: “You have to consider some of these appointments in light of the fact that [Dr Brown] likes to surround himself with an entourage of personal assistants.”
He added that if someone audited the output of some of the consultants they would be hard-pressed to say the cost is justified.
The Royal Gazette can also reveal Government ended its contract with Uncommon Results, the Florida based company that ran Mirrors. Last year that contract was worth $448,500.
Contracts with Oxford Communication and Rock Media may also have ended.
The two companies, owned by Bermudian Cal White and American Jim Kerwin, had several contracts with the Department of Tourism worth more than a million dollars including the 2010 Bermuda Music Festival. The festival has been cancelled this year because Mrs Minors said there wasn't a “return on investment”.
Yesterday Mr White said he was not aware of the company having any Government contracts in 2010/1011.
However, he said he was not involved in the daily running of the companies and to contact president Jim Kerwin or Kerwin employee Brad Dyer. Mr Kerwin did not respond to several phone calls. Mr Dyer said he was not authorised to comment.
The Royal Gazette also contacted Eddy Benoit, the owner of Ambling Consulting Inc. Since 2008 the Atlanta-based development company, has had a $1.77 million in contract with Government for a variety of services including consulting on the Southlands land swap for a proposed hotel development as well as pre-development planning for the proposed Park Hyatt St. George's Resort.
Mr Benoit did not respond. The Royal Gazette did receive a ‘read' receipt from his e-mail address.