By anguillian May 10, 2013 18:20



The recent action taken by Governor Alistair Harrison to dissociate himself from an Executive Council decision to award a public relations contract to the Britto Agency, worth almost a million EC dollars, has drawn a passionate response from Parliamentary Secretary, Tourism, Haydn Hughes.

Mr. Hughes charged in a Radio Anguilla interview on Tuesday this week that the Governor was unfair in how he dealt with the situation.On 27th February this year, the Executive Council agreed that the Britto Agency should be contracted to conduct services for Anguilla for a period of two years (1st March 2013 to 28th February 2015) at a cost of US$15,000 (to include all costs i.e. travel, accommodation etc.) per month.The Governor indicated then that he was not satisfied with the manner in which the matter was handled, and was therefore disassociating himself from the decision and would make a further statement.

That statement was made by Governor Harrison at a meeting of Executive Council on March 7. According to the Minutes, he said:

“I disassociate myself from the Executive Council decision to award MarvetteBritto a contact with the Ministry of Tourism worth almost EC$1 million over the next two years.
“I am not satisfied that due process has been followed in awarding the contract; nor that there is good reason to increase the sum paid to her compared to what she has been paid in past months; nor that the terms of reference will ensure good value for money.

“I am also concerned that the award of the contract involved persons who should not have become involved in the process.”

The comments by the Parliamentary Secretary in the Radio Anguilla interview were as follows:

“I think the Governor was very disingenuous about that entire situation. He was wrong. If he had done his homework he would have known that he was wrong. Here is the facts: In 2011 there was an RFP (request for proposal) for public relations for the island of Anguilla that was conducted by the Anguilla Tourist Board. There were a number of agencies out of the US that applied and came to Anguilla and did the RFP with the Marketing Alliance from the Anguilla Tourist Board; and it was comprised of other members of the Anguilla Hotel and Tourism Association – hoteliers, villa operators and so forth.

“The Government of Anguilla – the political directorate – had nothing to do with it. Out of that, the Britto Agency won [to do] the public relations in Anguilla.They won it. That was done clear and fair. What transpired afterwards is that the Ministry – and I am not saying the Minister— the Ministry of Finance articulated that they did not have the financial wherewithal topay for the Britto Agency contract at the time because the Anguilla Tourist Board was engaged in the development of the St. Maarten dockand the money could not spread around. So that contract was put on hold; so while that contract was put on hold, and the expiration date came up for the Turnstyle Marketing that was operating out of New York representing Anguilla for the past nine years, when that contract expired, there was an RFP for sales and marketing in Anguilla. In that RFP again, the political directorate had absolutely nothing to do with it. As a matter of fact when the interviews were being conducted the politicians were in the House of Assembly debating the budget.

“This happened in December 2012, so the truth of the matter is that we ended up ina situation where we had an agency who won the public relations fair and square, through the Marketing Alliance and the Anguilla Tourist Board, and then we had another agency, through another process, through theMinistry of Tourism — and when I say the Ministry of Tourism – I am not talking about Hubert Hughes and Haydn Hughes — because we had no involvement whatsoever. None whatsoever. Occasionally we were told something – occasionally. This is a matter of fact.”

Mr.Hughes, whosaid there was a need to have more marketing agencies to help promote Anguilla, continued. “We have to have marketing representatives out there, and I don’t know why is that we are harping over the Britto Agency and the Cheryl Andrews Agency. The more we have out there the merrier. We don’t only have those agencies. We have an agency in England; we have one in Germany; we have one in Italy; we have in Canada; we have in Latin America; we have agencies everywhere. But there is one defining commonality among all those agents and they all look a little different than us. But the two agencies that look similar to us – the Governorhas an issue with – and that is the Britto Agency and that is Turnsytle Marketing by Marie Walker. But if they were white male we wouldn’t have a problem.”


By anguillian May 10, 2013 18:20


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