WEDNESDAY, MAY 23: Dr Ewart Brown is not ruling out a return to politics.
“I never say never,” he said yesterday, in a radio interview with Sherri Simmons on Magic 102.7 FM.
“I’m a political animal by nature,” he added, “and I have told the Premier I’m prepared to help as it seems fit for me to help.”
Dr Brown said he had taken a back seat since standing down in 2010 — although he had continued to offer advice on the quiet when asked.
He added: “It’s by design I stayed out of the media.”
And he said it was “not appropriate” for a former Premier to “second guess” a new administration.
Dr Brown added: “It’s like going to the gym — it’s discipline.”
He said he had been fishing, improving his golf game and seeing more of his family.
Dr Brown said he was assisting his US-based doctor son Kevin with an appeal against his 12-year sentence for sexual offences against patients.
He said that another son, Maurice, who was sentenced to 10 years in prison in America 2002 for armed bank robbery aged just 19, was now out of jail and studying for healthcare management qualifications.
Dr Brown said that it was “not a pleasant experience to have an offspring incarcerated”, but said it had deepened his understanding of what many families go through.
Dr Brown was speaking on the Sherri Simmons 102.7 FM radio show.
In a wide-ranging phone-in lasting an hour-and-a-half, Dr Brown was quizzed on his controversial decision to take in four Uyghurs (former terrorism suspects from the US jail at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, without consulting with the UK government); allegations of corruption in his administration; tourism and his approach to Government.
Dr Brown said that — despite the international row over the Uyghurs— he would have no hesitation in doing the same thing again.
One caller described his decision to bring in the Uyghurs, members of a persecuted Chinese Muslim, without consulting the country, as a “slap in the face” to Bermudians. Dr Brown said “there were times you wish you could discuss things with the public” — but talks with the Barack Obama administration had been “classified”.
He added that a civil action in Canada against two men alleged to have planted fake cheques in Government files to implicate himself and now-Deputy Premier Derrick Burgess as being on the take was continuing.
Dr Brown dismissed suggestions he had enriched himself in office — and pointed out he was a doctor, while his wife had worked in banking on Wall Street.
He said: “If I had wanted to line my pockets I would have done two things — never taken on the Premiership and I would never have encouraged my wife to retire as a merchant banker.” And he challenged: “If anybody in Bermuda has some evidence of bribery, of theft or any suggestion I have taken five pennies as a result of my job as Premier, come forward.”
Dr Brown admitted he had been frustrated by the slow pace of bureaucracy — which he said many in Government service were happy with — and adopted a policy of “just get it done”.
But he said: “That didn’t mean ignoring rules and regulations.” He added: “Impatience is a virtue — it helps to get things done.”
Dr Brown added that Bermuda tourism was “a stale product” and needed new, upmarket destinations to stimulate the industry. He said: “I am glad to see that some of the seeds we planted back in 2006 and 2007 are bearing fruit.”
Dr Brown added: “The next thing we have to do — and I think we’re doing that — is to move towards improving the product and the experience.”
But he added it was unlikely Bermuda, because of the cost, would ever be able to compete with more basic resorts in destinations like Jamaica and Mexico.
Dr Brown also explained a Government decision under his Premiership to pull advertising — which he said was probably worth $1 million a year — from The Royal Gazette.
Dr Brown said Government felt “it could do better” and that “it makes little sense to feed the animal that is attacking you”.