Rolle: I won’t resign

Amid calls for her resignation, Culture Minister Lanisha Rolle said yesterday that she is “not perfect”, noting she and her ministry are doing their best “to get it right”.

“Persons can say whatever they like, but I am here to fulfill a government’s mandate as it relates to the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture,” Rolle told The Nassau Guardian.

“Certainly, I would’ve indicated at the beginning and offset that I am not perfect. And I say, ‘ Who is?’ And the ministry is not perfect, and I say, ‘Which ministry is?’

“But, certainly, we are going to continue to do our best to get it right, to make it right, to perform in a manner and at a standard that is pleasing to the Bahamian people. And that takes time and it takes work.”

Rolle noted that people call for resignations every day, although “whether it’s warranted or justified is another question”.

“But, at the end of the day, what we do and what I do, in particular, is take from the criticism, take from the concerns of the public – that which is legitimate – and what we need to correct and what we need to fix and what we need to amend and we do just that,” the minister said.

“Because at the end of the day, we serve the Bahamian people and that’s just the bottom line.”

Last month, the Progressive Liberal Party (PLP) called for Rolle’s resignation as a Cabinet minister, accusing her of an “abuse of power”.

On November 7, 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.”

The comments came days after 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.

She also recently came under fire from the Junkanoo community over decisions related to the upcoming Junkanoo parades. The Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence has said it felt disrespected by the minister.

Earlier this week, Bahamians around the country and abroad took to social media to react to images of the massive Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture’s official Bay Street Christmas tree that was erected in Parliament Square.

Some were not happy with its appearance, labeling it a “Lucky Charms” tree.

The decorations have since been taken down.

 “…The company thought – I understand – to start off with an under the sea theme and the work had just started the night before and so they were not completed,” Rolle said yesterday.

“However, upon getting the feedback from the public, I think the ministry would’ve encouraged them to get sort of a traditional look to the tree. They were very amenable and they made some adjustments. I think that the company seems to be very professional.

“They’re handling the public and public criticism very well, but we are here to serve the public and they understand that. We are here to please the Bahamian people. So, I believe that they have adjusted quite fittingly.”

Although she wasn’t able to give a specific cost for the decorations, Rolle said, “…I don’t think that it is more than $20,000…”

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.

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Jasper Ward

Jasper Ward started at The Nassau Guardian in September 2018. Ward covers a wide range of national and social issues. Education: Goldsmiths, University of London, MA in Race, Media and Social Justice

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