Sunday, November 29, 2009

7299: Globalhue’s Jeep Bermuda Mess.

Jim Edwards at BNET continues to report on the controversy surrounding Globalhue and the Bermuda Tourism account. The latest drama involves the official censoring of a former Bermuda auditor general who criticized the advertising agency. Hey, it would be great if someone would censor the Globalhue Jeep campaign too.

Bermuda Politician Censored for Criticizing Globalhue, the Island's Tourism Ad Agency

By Jim Edwards

Bermuda’s government has struck from its official record remarks by a politician who criticized the island’s tourism ad agency, Globalhue, and its relationship with the Bermuda premier, Ewart Brown (pictured). The move sends a curious signal to Bermuda politicians: Criticize Globalhue — whose handling of the account has been described as “possible criminal activity” by a former Bermuda auditor general — and you’ll be censored.

Globalhue has been accused of overbilling Bermuda Tourism by $1.8 million and building in media placement commissions of up to 181 percent (industry standard is 10 percent or less). The account is worth $14 million a year.

The remarks were part of an opposition reply to the Bermuda government’s “throne speech” (which BNET guesses is the equivalent of the U.S. president’s State of the Union address). The Royal Gazette:

… part of the UBP’s Throne Speech reply … claimed that multi-million dollar contracts went to friends of the Government untendered with huge cost overruns and no-one held to account were ordered to be struck from the record of the House of Assembly.

… the UBP claimed that Global Hue, a US advertiser, renewed its Government contract in May which was valued at $28 million over two years. The UBP said the contract was not tendered and described its owner, Don Coleman [below], as a “longtime friend” of Premier Ewart Brown.

The United Bermuda Party posted the full speech on its web site, in addition to the following statement: (You’ll need to use the scroller to find them both.)

Last Friday, during the House of Assembly debate on the Speech from the Throne, Government MPs, with the active support of Deputy Speaker Dame Jennifer Smith, ordered the removal of a passage in the Opposition’s Reply to the Speech that they disagreed with.

The “offending” sentence, delivered by Opposition Leader Mr. Kim Swan earlier in the day, read as follows:

“We get million dollar contracts that go directly to friends untendered and massive cost overruns with no one held to account.”

Mr. Swan later described the removal of the sentence from the official record as an “act of censorship.”

“This has certainly not been the strongest language ever used in a Reply, nor is it the first time this particular concern has been made,” he said.

“Indeed, our last Throne Speech Reply questioned why tens of millions of dollars in Government contracts ‘have been handed over to an axis of two or three construction bosses close to the Premier?’”

The following summary of major Government projects and expenditures is, we believe, enough to substantiate the wording of the excised sentence and to reveal its removal as an act of censorship:

Global Hue
• The US advertiser received a renewal of its advertising contract with the government in May 2009, valued at $28 million over two years.

• The contract was not tendered.

• Global Hue is owned by Mr. Don Coleman, whom The Royal Gazette has described as a “longtime friend” of the Premier’s. In a February 2009 special report on Global Hue, the Auditor General substantiated that description when he reported the ‘pressure’ felt by Tourism officials to approve payments to Global Hue because of the “close relationship that Global Hue has, and influence it has, with the Minister of Tourism and Transport.”

• The contract renewal was made despite significant performance questions. Competitive bids might have offered greater efficiencies and better advertising plans.

1 comment:

Sal said...

This is just tip of iceberg, when it comes to corruption from Ewart Brown and PAY-TO-PLAY, Bermuda's plp gov't

Take a look at my Bermuda news reports

-- As nightfall does not come all at once, neither does oppression - Justice William O. Douglas