Dr. Nicola Virgill-Rolle has resigned as director of the National Insurance Board (NIB) and will be joining the Lyford Cay Foundations (LCF) as its executive director, a move that took Minister of Public Service and National Insurance Brensil Rolle by surprise he said.
Rolle said Virgill-Rolle verbally informed him last Wednesday that she was leaving NIB and later put it in writing over the weekend.
“Yes, I was. I was surprised at that,” Rolle said yesterday.
“I was surprised because we had set a strategic plan and we were following the plan to improve, not only the quality of service to NIB, but to improve the whole social assistance program.
“That’s why I was surprised, particularly in this environment, but, she found a better offer.
“… I am grateful for her assistance to NIB and this country and I wish her all the best.”
Speculation grew for most of yesterday that Virgill-Rolle had quit NIB.
Shortly after 3 p.m., the rumors were confirmed when the Lyford Cay Foundations issued a press release touting Virgill-Rolle as its new executive director.
“Dr. Virgill-Rolle is the quintessential leader for Lyford Cay Foundations,” LCF Chairman Basil P. Goulandris said in the release.
“Her professional career is truly exceptional and bodes well for the future success of the organization”
Through a variety of programs, the Lyford Cay Foundations “assists children in school as they prepare for college, students leaving high school with scholarships to attend college in The Bahamas and internationally, and community organizations providing learning opportunities”.
The Guardian spoke with Rolle following the release of LCF’s statement.
Asked whether he was disappointed that Virgill-Rolle’s new employers issued an announcement before the public was informed she was leaving NIB, Rolle replied, “That’s not the way it’s done but I don’t know what the negotiation was with them or with her.
“I don’t know what that is. I don’t want to make any comment on that particular aspect of it now because, like I said, we were engaged in trying to have her settled in this job. So, we did not reflect on what was taking place at her new employer.”
Virgill-Rolle was appointed director of NIB on July 1, 2018. She previously served as the director of economic development and planning in the Office of the Prime Minister, where she oversaw the creation of the Over-the-Hill Revitalization Program.
The Nassau Guardian asked Rolle whether the former director had indicated that she did not like the political inference at NIB.
“She’s never communicated that to me directly, but my position to her, as I would say to any senior government official that is appointed in any position: there will be and there will always be a degree of political involvement,” he replied.
“To the extent that she had issues with that, I don’t think so because NIB is not, certainly not under this regime, operated under a high political profile, no.
“She had the rights to make the professional decisions. That is how we were operating. There was always discussions in our decisions.
“I don’t think that was an issue for her. It may have been privately, but certainly not something that we were made aware of. She almost had total control of how the organization was to function.”
As for the way forward, Rolle said any new leader at NIB will have to follow the current five-year strategic plan that is in place.
“For example, one of the things that we just included in the plan was to convert the NIB card to ensure that every single person born in The Bahamas will get a card,” he said.
“…The second thing, as a result of COVID for example, we want to be in a position to make that card similar to a credit card, a national card, so that instead of us sending checks to the sports center, for example, they will send the money directly to the NIB card. That’s a massive program that we hope to bring forward to NIB as quickly as we can. We just got the approval from Cabinet.”
He concluded, “So, any new leader will have a plan with specific footprints on what to do.”