THURSDAY, MARCH 22: Dr Ewart Brown said today he has “nothing to hide” and would have “nothing to fear” from a Royal Commission of Inquiry into his administration.
Making his first public address since leaving office nearly 18 months ago, the former Premier referred to the activist group ‘Concerned Bermudians’ who had called for the inquiry.
He berated the group for “inventing improprieties” and smearing him without evidence.
Dr Brown, speaking at a regional conference in the Cayman Islands, referred to his controversial decision to bring four Guantanamo detainees to Bermuda: “I have already endured the aftermath of the decision and have been subjected to all manner of backlash as a result.
“In fact, it has become clear to me that some of the embarrassed British, and offended Bermudian residents who never liked me and my Government anyway, will stop at nothing.
“A tiny group calling themselves ‘Concerned Bermudians,’ who clearly have no concern for Bermuda at all, have invented improprieties with which they attempt to smear me, without offering a single shred of proof.
“Not content with maligning me, they seek to embroil Bermuda in a state of constitutional and economic turmoil by writing to England calling for a Royal Commission of Inquiry into my administration.
“They should know this: I have nothing to fear from a Royal Commission of Inquiry; I have nothing to hide.
“In fact, there are supporters who have encouraged me to call for one myself to clear my name and the name of the PLP Government.”
Dr Brown spoke to the conference about attempts made to implicate him in criminal activity during his time as Premier.
He said a case involving forged cheques should have been dealt with by Scotland Yard or through diplomatic channels.
Dr Brown added: “While I was Premier, someone altered cancelled checks and placed them in Government files to make it appear that a Minister and I received kickbacks on a Government job — a clear forgery and a clear attempt to frame a sitting Premier and a Minister for crimes... perhaps to bring down the Government.
“The Governor announced that the local police would investigate. The local police did investigate, but supposedly could find no chargeable culprit in Bermuda; he was said to reside in Canada.
“A case for Scotland Yard, or for diplomatic channels? I would think so. But our Governor did not request help from England.
“The criminal case against these persons who committed treason against the Bermuda Government was allowed to founder and die.”
The former Premier also referred — though without using names — to a fraud trail last year in which his name came up. In the case, a couple was cleared of fraud charges but convicted of misleading the Bermuda Monetary Authority.
He framed his comments in the context of what he sees a pattern of inertia by the UK authorities, reiterating his view that the interests of the overseas territories and the UK are not always mutual.
Dr Brown said: “Nine months ago, after I had ceased to be Premier, a convicted perjurer made the totally unfounded claim that I had attempted to coerce from him some part of his worthless company.
“No shred of evidence was presented, yet the Governor announced that the local police would investigate to see whether I had engaged in criminal acts.
“The Governor also later announced that he was requesting assistance from U.S. investigatory agencies, presumably the FBI.
“Mutual interests that would not call in Scotland Yard to investigate a conspiracy and crimes to frame a sitting Premier and Minister?
“Mutual interests where the UK would allow a criminal who committed crimes against a sitting Premier and Minister to reside peacefully in Canada without pursuit through diplomatic channels?
“Mutual interests where the UK's representative would call for an investigation of a former Premier and seek assistance from the U.S. based on the rants of a known, convicted liar, but seek no help from the UK when a crime has been known to be committed against a sitting Premier, Minister and the Government of the day.
“Mutual interests? I end where I started: Is the UK/OT relationship based on mutual interests? No.”
Dr Brown was speaking at the 50/50 Conference, which is being hosted by the University of the Cayman Islands in collaboration with the Sir Arthur Lewis Institute of Social and Economic Studies (SALISES), the University of the West Indies, Mona, and the International College of the Cayman Islands. The year 2012 marks 50 years since the end of the West Indies Federation. Premier Paula Cox is the keynote speaker.