The Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) yesterday called for the resignation of Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle, accusing her of an “abuse of power”.
In a joint statement, Mangrove Cay and South Andros MP Picewell Forbes, the opposition spokesman for sports, and Senator Jobeth Coleby-Davis, the opposition spokesman for youth, said, “It is clear to all and sundry that the Cabinet does not support and repudiates minister Rolle’s policy decisions and ministerial conduct.
“In the circumstances, Westminster conventions require minister Rolle to resign her post as Cabinet minister or be dismissed by the prime minister.”
Earlier this week, Rolle was excoriated on social media after the circulation of an image depicting a medal with her face on it. The medal was presented to young people last month.
During a contribution to the House of Assembly on Wednesday, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced that Rolle will reimburse the government for the production of the medal.
“Mr. Speaker, in view of what has been personalized, it is the government’s decision that that was a personal picture on medals and the government should not have paid for anything that is personalized, and therefore the monies that were spent for that, the minister would reimburse the government for the $582.40 that was spent by the government,” Minnis said.
However, yesterday, Forbes and Coleby-Davis said that the prime minister’s actions were “not enough”.
“Further, in publicly calling for minister Rolle to reimburse the government over the National Youth Award medallion controversy, the prime [minister] concedes that his minister is guilty of abuse of power,” they said.
The statement added, “In the past, prime minister Minnis hid behind Westminster conventions in dealing with three other members of his caucus who were subject to the whip of the executive.
“Lanisha Rolle is also subject to the executive and cannot make decisions and conduct her office in a manner that brings Cabinet into ill-repute.”
Privately, some senior FNMs expressed embarrassment over the matter, opining that the decision reflected poor judgment on the minister’s part.
Since she entered politics, Rolle has at times been a controversial figure.
She resigned from the Senate in 2016. Though she cited personal reasons, her resignation came amid controversy that had surrounded her.
Last year, Minnis removed her from the Ministry of Social Services amid reports that she was not getting along with staff.
And Rolle recently came under fire from the Junkanoo community over decisions related to the upcoming Junkanoo parades. The Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence said this week it felt disrespected by the minister.
That prompted more social media debate around Rolle’s performance as minister.
Minnis also addressed that matter in the House on Wednesday, indicating that this year’s parades will proceed as normal — the suggestion being that a decision supposedly made by the minister in relation to the parades will not stand.