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Bermuda Takes a Shot at Critics of Globalhue's No-Bid Tourism Account

Bermuda's official announcement of the renewal of its Tourism advertising contract with Globalhue contained a snide footnote directed at anyone who asks why the agency was rewarded after being accused of overbilling the $14 million account by $1.8 million. Here's what public affairs officer Malika Musson put into the statement:

In April of this year Cabinet made a ground-breaking decision to put Government-awarded contracts in the Official Gazette to support the spirit of transparency and good governance. It was also enacted with the hope of protecting contractors from having their reputations publicly sullied for partisan political purposes ...
First, the contract was awarded without competitive bidding -- a process that qualifies as neither transparent nor good governance. The lack of bids is interesting because if you read this 2006 article in Mid-Ocean News about how Globalhue got the business in the first place, it was in a competitive bidding process. (Although you'll note that Globalhue's primary qualification for the job was its owner's campaign donations to Al Sharpton, an ally of premier Ewart Brown.)

Second, what has sullied Globalhue's reputation is not partisan political bickering, but the fact that an audit by Bermuda's own authorities turned up financial discrepancies on the account. Lastly, a new wild card has been thrown into the mix. Auditor general Larry Dennis, who discovered Globalhue's billing problems, has been replaced by Heather Jacobs Matthews (pictured), a 27-year Bermuda government employee. The move comes as Globalhue's books are in the midst of a second audit of the tourism account.

If she is a Brown loyalist, then all Globalhue's problems will magically go away. If she isn't, it will be interesting to see what she turns up.

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