Great call of china: The Far East country is just one of many visited by Dr. Brown. *iStock photo
Great call of china: The Far East country is just one of many visited by Dr. Brown. *iStock photo
China, Russia, India, Denmark, Dubai and South Africa — to name just a few.

Dr. Ewart Brown has travelled far and wide to promote the Bermuda brand. But the many trips — particularly those outside our traditional target markets — earned him criticism from all sides of the political spectrum.

His sternest opponents see him as a show pony — someone who courts the limelight and actively seeks out photo opportunities with the likes of Morgan Freeman or Desmond Tutu.

His supporters say his travels have benefitted the country and injected much-needed life into a flagging tourism industry.

Dr. Brown talked about his travel record during the recent media roundtable, claiming he had travelled less than his predecessors.

He recently completed a trip to India with his wife Wanda “on my own dime” — a clear rebuttal to those critics who seem to follow his every flight path.

The Premier is quick to point out that he is Tourism and Transport Minister as well as Premier and has always said his trips have been solely to benefit Bermuda and raise its profile in both tourism and business circles.

He told the Bermuda Sun yesterday that the overseas trips were about packing as much business as possible into a short space of time.

He said: “When you go to China for 48 hours you are on a mission. When you go to Russia for 48 hours you are on a mission. A lot of the trappings are reduced.”

UBP MP Trevor Moniz has branded the Premier’s globetrotting as “childish”.

He believes Bermuda has seen little reward from the long list of stamps on Dr. Brown’s well-used passport.

“I do not believe it has done any real good for the country,” he said. “His travels have been a long-running joke and demonstrate the kind of ego-centric leader he has been.

He has equated himself with a head of state and has always wanted to act like a head of state.

“It has been a splurge of wanting to be seen with celebrities such as [Michael] Bloomberg.

I don’t think anything can justify the expenditure — the travel budget seems to have spiralled and for very little reward.”

Leadership hopeful Dale Butler said he would not be following in the Premier’s well-travelled shoes should be appointed leader of the PLP tomorrow night.

But he believes Dr. Brown’s travels have helped him forge powerful and influential friends across the world.

Mr. Butler said: “I’m not sure all his travelling has led to any additional interest in Bermuda — many people see the trips as just jaunts and nothing more.

“It shows he wishes he was running a bigger country. He sees himself as some kind of world leader.

“The amount of travel this Premier has done has been very costly to Bermuda and should I become leader I will not be doing that amount of travelling.

“One thing I would be keen to do should I be elected leader is reduce the travel budgets, of not just the Premier but all Ministers.

“But having said that, he has an incredible network of contacts and I have benefitted from that in the past.

“He knows people all over the world who have answers to the questions you come up against.

“But we have a serious crime problem in Bermuda and cultural organizations that have serious funding problems — all this travel has taken him away from these problems.”

Many PLP MPs view their leader as a strong ambassador for his country.

They say the pink taxis in London and the pink streetcars in Canada were more than just gimmicks — they have drawn visitors here and helped the economy.

Some point to his success in attracting low-cost airlines and talk of him as a pioneer in tourism.

Wayne Perinchief said Dr. Brown’s travel has put Bermuda on the map.

He said: “He has used reasonable prudence to conduct his travel plans.

“He is not just Premier but Minister for Tourism and that is requires him to travel and sell the brand.

“He represents the country and has done that well abroad. Tourism in Bermuda is on the verge of a comeback and Dr. Brown has done a fairly good job in getting it there.”