Friday, November 8, 2019
By KHRISNA RUSSELL
Deputy Chief Reporter
THE Progressive Liberal Party has accused Minister Lanisha Rolle of “abuse of power”, insisting her recent conduct warranted resignation or dismissal.
Following Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis’ intervention in two controversial issues involving the Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, the Opposition said it was clear to all that Cabinet does not support Mrs Rolle’s conduct.
On Wednesday, Dr Minnis admitted in Parliament that government should not have paid for medals featuring a photograph of Minister Rolle on them. However, he said, Mrs Rolle would reimburse the government $582.40 – the cost of the medallions.
The prime minister also addressed another controversy involving Mrs Rolle and the Junkanoo Corporation of New Providence (JCNP), saying nothing will change with the parade, which is just about seven weeks away. However, he said, the minister, the JCNP and all relevant agencies will have a discussion in February as to the way forward so that by the end of March issues would be resolved.
It came after the JCNP expressed frustration that the minister was overstepping her authority and showed them disrespect by announcing a new Category B group that was denied membership due to their late application.
Under such circumstances, the PLP said Westminster conventions require Minister Rolle to resign her post as Cabinet minister or be dismissed by Dr Minnis.
“It is not enough for the prime minister to publicly reverse a decision made by his Cabinet colleague Lanisha Rolle on Junkanoo,” the party said in a joint statement by Mangrove Cay and South Andros MP Picewell Forbes, shadow minister for culture and sports, and Senator JoBeth Coleby-Davis, Opposition spokesperson on youth.
“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.
“Additionally, there is a specific legal and regulatory regime governing the use of the country’s national symbols, therefore, personalising the Coat of Arms requires official permission. If Minister Rolle failed to secure the requisite approval, she is in gross violation of the law. This is all the more reason for the prime minister to take further and decisive action.
“It is clear to all and sundry that the Cabinet does not support and repudiates Minister Rolle’s policy decisions and ministerial conduct.”
The statement continued: “In the circumstances, Westminster conventions require Minister Rolle to resign her post as Cabinet minister or be dismissed by the prime minister.
“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.
“In light of the foregoing, Minister Rolle must resign or be dismissed by the Prime Minister.”
Calls and messages to Mrs Rolle for comment yesterday went unanswered up to press time.