Dr. Ewart Brown, the former premier of Bermuda accused in a lawsuit of accepting bribes to push business to Lahey Clinic, is a former track star and 1960s campus activist, whose tenure as the island’s premier was known for its controversies.
Brown was born in Bermuda and attended high school in Jamaica, where he played cricket and ran track, according to a biography posted by the Bermudian news website Bernews. He is from a political family; his mother and aunt served as members of Parliament, according to online biographies of Brown.
An accomplished athlete, Brown represented Bermuda at the 1966 Commonwealth Games, finishing in the middle of the field in the men’s 440 dash, according to results maintained by the Commonwealth Games Federation.
He studied chemistry and medicine at Howard University, a historically black college in Washington, D.C., and then earned his master’s of public heath from the University of California at Los Angeles.
At Howard, Brown was president of the student assembly and a leader of a massive 1968 student protest, in which hundreds of students occupied a school administration building in a five-day sit-in, over the leadership and direction of the university.
He became a US citizen and opened a medical practice in Los Angeles in the 1970s, before returning to Bermuda permanently in the early 1990s to begin his political career. Brown had to renounce his US citizenship before taking political office, according to a 2012 report in a Caribbean newspaper.
He served as a member of Parliament from 1993 to 2010. In 2006, Brown became premier of Britain’s oldest colony, holding the job until his retirement from politics in 2010. He also served as tourism minister during his premiership.
Brown, 70, and his wife, Wanda Henton Brown, have homes in Bermuda, Turks and Caicos, and Martha’s Vineyard, the Bermuda Sun reported in 2013.
His tenure as premier was bumpy — his administration weathered accusations of cronyism and wasting public money, according to press reports. Brown was accused of living lavishly on the backs of taxpayers, which the premier’s press secretary publicly denied in 2007, defending Brown’s frequent and pricey travels as critical to promoting Bermuda’s tourism industry, according to a BBC report.
While in power, Brown fought with the island newspaper, The Royal Gazette, and complained of unfair press treatment.
He was severely criticized in 2009, after negotiating a deal with the US to permit four prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to resettle in Bermuda, without consulting the British government, which is responsible for the island’s security and foreign affairs, according to a Daily Mail report.
Brown claimed last year that he was the target of a witch hunt by the Bermuda Police Service, which he said has spent millions of dollars investigating him for alleged political corruption, according to a 2016 report by the Caribbean News Agency. “There has been a long string of malicious slurs and false allegations, with the real target being me because of my past political views as a former premier,” Brown said at the time. He held a press conference last June to challenge the police to either charge him with a crime or drop their “fruitless investigation,” The Royal Gazette reported.
Just this past weekend, police from the Organized and Economic Crime Department executed warrants at two clinics Brown runs on the island, and confiscated boxes of records, according to a Royal Gazette story published Monday. The warrant cited grounds to reasonably suspect “corrupt practices and conspiracy to defraud,” the paper reported.
Two of Brown’s four sons have been sentenced to US jails on serious charges, according to the Daily Mail. In 2012, Brown’s son Kevin, a doctor in Los Angeles, was convicted of sexual battery and related charges for attacks on nine patients and sentenced to more than 12 years in prison. A younger son, Maurice, was jailed in California for armed robbery, the Mail reported.