Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle has come under fire over a decision to place her photograph on medals given to young people during National Youth Month observances.
Rolle was excoriated in social media circles over the matter.
Responding to the criticisms, her ministry said in a statement, “The Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture seeks to clarify the photo of a commemorative medallion that has recently been circulated on social media.
“The commemorative medallion, which has two sides, is not an award and did not replace the National Youth Award nominee medals issued to nominees during the national youth month celebrations. The medals issued displayed on one side the ministry’s name and theme and on the other side the coat of arms as is standard.”
The ministry said the medallions were issued to youth parliamentarians during a courtesy call to the minister on October 22.
It said Rolle provided them “as a memorable gift directly from the minister to the young people paying the courtesy call to her office”.
“The commemorative medallion circulating in social media showing one side with the minister’s photo and another commemorative medallion showing the coat of arms is not a true reflection of the national youth month nominee medal issued, or the commemorative gift presented to youth parliamentarians during the courtesy call,” the ministry said.
“Any narrative and/or image circulated with the intent of communicating that the commemorative medallion replaced the National Youth Award nominee medal is false.”
In a post on social media, Nahaja Black, a Guardian Radio 96.9 FM talk show host, wrote, “I have no words for this youth medal right here. No words. I’m hoping that this isn’t real.”
In response to Black’s post, one user said, “This must be a photoshop product because I can’t see the minister wanting this nor can I see the PS (permanent secretary) allowing this.”
Throughout the day, some Bahamians edited their faces onto dollar bills and other bills in response.