Brown hammers ‘scaremongering’ AG in e-mail exchange
Former Premier Ewart Brown has described the Auditor General as a scaremonger who makes “wild allegations” and is “not considered a neutral player in Bermuda”.
The allegations about Heather Jacobs Matthews were made in e-mails to US-based investigative journalist Jim Edwards, who reproduced the entire exchange between him and Dr Brown on the Business Insider website yesterday (see end of story).
Dr Brown wrote on May 5: “You should ... know that the Auditor General is not considered a 'neutral' player in Bermuda. She has made numerous allegations and has raised frequent questions about 'possible criminal conduct' but NOTHING ever came of her scaremongering.
“In fact, even the new Government has not seen fit to follow-up on her wild allegations.”
Asked by Mr Edwards if Ms Matthews, who is black, was a racist, Dr Brown replied: “No sir, by definition, she cannot be a racist. She can, however, cooperate with racists or obey the commands of racists. (See Django Unchained ... the Samuel Jackson [sic] character).”
Mrs Matthews could not be reached for comment yesterday and nor could Dr Brown.
In 2009, Mr Edwards reported on the controversial Department of Tourism contract awarded without tender to US advertising firm GlobalHue, when Dr Brown was Premier and Tourism Minister.
The contract was criticised by Mrs Matthews and her predecessor Larry Dennis, who released a report raising concerns about the appropriateness of Tourism payments to GlobalHue, as well as hefty markups from a media agency working for the firm and a failure to provide invoices.
Mrs Matthews said the deal highlighted the need for government's financial instructions to be tightened so multimillion dollar contracts were put out to tender.
Mr Edwards, who last wrote about GlobalHue in 2011, told
The Royal Gazette yesterday that the e-mails from Dr Brown “came out of nowhere”.
“I don't really know what prompted them,” he said. “They came to my personal gmail account, which I had never shared with Mr Brown. I really have no idea what this is all about.
“I thought it was one of those things that was just in the past — there's little more to say about the GlobalHue contract that hasn't already been said.”
Dr Brown sent the first message on May 2, when he wrote: “I trust that you saw GolbalHue's [sic] Superbowl [sic] Jeep ad and loved it.”
He told Mr Edwards: “There have been at least three investigations of the allegations about GlobalHue while the agency was doing a terrific job for Bermuda. Not one person has been charged with ANYTHING.”
He went on: “Bermuda Tourism arrivals have never been as high in this decade as they were in 2007, the second year of GH's contract.
“I do not know you, but my experience has taught me that people who write like you do are usually committed to a Racist agenda. I pray that you will stop practising Racism.
“Also, if you ever wish to debate these issues in Bermuda, I will cover your expenses to do so.”
Mr Edwards responded by noting that air arrivals to Bermuda had fallen by the time GlobalHue's contract ended in 2011. He asked Dr Brown: “Surely, at this late stage, you're willing to look back and honestly admit this was a huge failure?”
The former Progressive Labour Party leader replied that he was not. In a later e-mail, he said media reports implied GlobalHue won the contract because of his friendship with agency owner Don Coleman.
“That is untrue but it is consistent with Racist thinking which says that Black folks always make forward progress via devious means while White people win contracts thru [sic] their intelligence and hard work.”
He went on to criticise Mrs Matthews, adding: “I support the tightening of all government regulations that lead to greater efficiency but I reject 'tightening' of regulations because Black people learned how to do things that Whites did for years under the same regulations.”
Mr Edwards wrote in his Business Insider piece: “I'm not a racist, hopefully. I was gratified when, in 2012, Bermuda's Public Accounts Committee reviewed the GlobalHue billing and confirmed that the agency's handling of invoices was inappropriate.
“The spending was looked at twice, by two successive Bermuda auditors general. Both concluded spending on the account was questionable. The first auditor happened to be white, the second black.”
This is the e-mail exchange between former Premier Ewart Brown and Business Insider journalist Jim Edwards
From: Ewart Brown Re: GlobalHue
To: Jim Edwards
How are things?
I trust that you saw GolbalHue's (sic) Superbowl Jeep ad and loved it.
Since your inaccurate writings on GlobalHue, there are two facts that you should know.
1. There have been at least three investigations of the allegations about GlobalHue while the agency was doing a terrific job for Bermuda. Not one person has been charged with ANYTHING.
2. Bermuda Tourism arrivals have never been as high in this decade as they were in 2007, the second year of GH's contract.
I do not know you, but my experience has taught me that people who write like you do are usually committed to a Racist agenda.
I pray that you will stop practising Racism.
Also, if you ever wish to debate these issues in Bermuda, I will cover your expenses to do so.
Dr The Hon Ewart F Brown
From: Jim EdwardsHello,
To: Ewart Brown
Thanks for the note.
Globalhue's contract ran from 2006 through 2011. At the end of Globalhue's tenure, arrivals were down 35%:
The most recent information I'm aware of about Globalhue is this: The Public Accounts Committee found that Globalhue's CEO wrote an email to you in an attempt to destroy the career of a tourism official who did not want to pay the agency without receiving proper invoices:
Of course, Globalhue was replaced by a new agency in 2011:
Surely, at this late stage, you're willing to look back and honestly admit this was a huge failure?
Jim Edwards / Business Insider
From: Ewart BrownHello,
To: Jim Edwards
No, I am not willing to call the GlobalHue engagement with Bermuda a failure.
After the 2007 record numbers, the arrivals, especially from the US, began to decrease and we concluded that until the US economy improved there would be no significant recovery in the Bermuda numbers. That has proven to be the case.
Bermuda's challenge is product, not agency.
1. As long as you rely on the Royal Gazette as your source of facts, you will be inaccurate. Do you not know that the RG is in fact an organ of the anti-PLP sector? Please find a credible, non-racist source.
2. The email to which you refer was one in which GlobalHue wrote to me with an opinion that an individual in our NY office was incompetent and obstructionist. That was many months before the employee reported that GH's assessment of him was connected to invoices! He WAS incompetent and is no longer able to find a job in the hospitality industry.
You never said if you liked GH's Super Bowl ad.
Btw, do you think that a non-white agency can win a contract without crooked dealings?
Also, I noticed that you eventually corrected the lie about Don Coleman and I being longtime friends who went to Howard University.
Have you ever figured out why that mistaken report sounded so plausible to you?
From: Jim EdwardsThe Royal Gazette reported you and Coleman are friends:
To: Ewart Brown
From: Ewart BrownSir: The RG is not a reliable source, especially when it comes to reporting on Black people.
To: Jim Edwards
Fyi, I was introduced to Don Coleman around 2005. He BECAME my friend after he did excellent work for Bermuda on the PR for the launch of the Miami-Bda flight.
Anyone who worked well on behalf of Bermuda became my friend....including some White people who didn't attend Howard either!
The implication was that GlobalHue won the contract because of our friendship. That is untrue but it is consistent with Racist thinking which says that Black folks always make forward progress via devious means while White people win contracts thru their intelligence and hard work. Remember when Blacks weren't smart enough to be quarterbacks in the NFL?
The link that you sent merely shows that a Bermudian politician was censored because he made unfounded allegations about GlobalHue. He was censored by the House, not by me.
You should also know that the Auditor General is not considered a “neutral” player in Bermuda. She has made numerous allegations and has raised frequent questions about “possible criminal conduct” but NOTHING ever came of her scaremongering.
In fact, even the new Government has not seen fit to follow-up on her wild allegations.
I challenge you to come to Bermuda and SEE ALL the documents pertaining to your conclusions. Then, I will sit down and look straight into your eyes and determine for myself why you appear to be so anti-GlobalHue.
From: Jim Edwards The black female auditor general (Heather Jacobs Matthews) AGREED with the white male auditor general (Larry Dennis) she replaced that GH's billing was highly dubious. She even recommended in 2012 that contracting regulations in Bermuda be tightened to prevent the situation happening again.
To: Ewart Brown
Is she also a racist?
From: Ewart BrownNo sir, by definition, she cannot be a racist.
To: Jim Edwards
She can, however, cooperate with racists or obey the commands of racists. (See Django Unchained...the Samuel Jackson character).
What GlobalHue did with the billing was simply a creative way to get us more bang for our relatively small budget.
Surely, you must believe that if there one iota of criminal conduct, charges would have been filed against GlobalHue and possibly me. There are many people who believe as you do and they pray every day for people like me (counter-racists) to be put UNDER the jail.
I support the tightening of all government regulations that lead to greater efficiency but I reject “tightening” of regulations because Black people learned how to do things that Whites did for years under the same regulations.
My teacher once told me to remember that Whites embezzle and Blacks steal!
From: Jim EdwardsPlease explain to me why criticizing a contract awarded without a bid is racist. Two Bermuda government auditors both separately had the same criticisms of the way the Globalhue contract was handled. I don't understand why pointing this out makes someone a racist.
To: Ewart Brown
From: Ewart BrownI haven't called you a racist...and I won't until I have observed further. I did say that you were supporting the positions of Racists.
To: Jim Edwards
The initial GlobalHue contract was won through a tendering process. Their contract was renewed by a Govt. Committee, based on their performance. Actually, the Tourism contract has been renewed many times (J Walter Thompson) in the past without any review. But then the contractors were “normal” people!
Reproduced verbatim with the permission of Jim Edwards.