By RICARDO WELLS
Tribune Staff Reporter
THE Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture is committed to taking all necessary steps toward resolving the reported tensions between Minister Lanisha Rolle and the Bahamas Olympic Committee, according to a senior ministry official.
Rhoda Jackson, permanent secretary in the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture, yesterday said that while no formal discussions have been had between the two sides to date, ministry officials stand prepared to chart the “best way forward.”
Ms Jackson’s comments came yesterday after The Tribune was referred by Mrs Rolle to Director of Youth K Darron Turnquest for comment on the BOC’s claims.
When contacted, Mr Turnquest said he was in no position to comment, as he was on vacation and had no first-hand knowledge of the dispute. Mr Turnquest then referred this newspaper to Ms Jackson for comment.
Ms Jackson told The Tribune: “We know that there is definitely need for a discussion, so steps will be taken to bring all of the stakeholders together… steps will be taken to determine how to proceed.”
Earlier this week, the BOC demanded Mrs Rolle either sit down for formal talks with the various sporting federations or be removed as minister.
BOC Secretary General Derron Donaldson on Tuesday stressed that the organisation’s position on Mrs Rolle was not political or discriminatory.
He said despite the BOC’s willingness to hash out many of its issues with the Sea Breeze MP, things remain at an impasse.
Mr Donaldson at the time asserted that an immediate resolution would be needed if all sides were to move forward amicably.
Mr Donaldson said things between the BOC and Mrs Rolle came to a head following her decision to travel to Yokohama, Japan, last month for the 2019 IAAF World Relays without seeking BAAA accreditation.
He claimed sporting procedures and protocols mandate that state officials seek accreditation at a national level via that country’s national sporting body prior to accepting any international invitations.
The local body would then write its international counterpart to arrange all formal aspects of the trip.
“You see, that did not happen,” he told The Tribune. “She travelled by virtue of an IAAF invite without note to the BOC president. That’s not protocol at all. Added to that, she took meetings there and didn’t even make an attempt to arrange to have the local sporting bodies, on the ground for the event, present at those meetings.”
Mr Donaldson continued: “We wrote her on this and in her response letter she said she was not subject to, or bound by, any agreement of protocol relative to the BOC. We as a sporting community demand more and we deserve more. Hence our position.
“We accept that she may be unaware of certain things relative to the post of minister of youth, sports and culture, that’s why we are asking that she sits down with us as we look to fix the issue.
“But if she isn’t interested in doing that, then we can move to the next step. But this is all up to her,” he added.
Beyond the letter submitted to the BOC, Mrs Rolle has remained silent on the matter.
Opposition Leader Philip “Brave” Davis on Tuesday urged Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to step in and bring about a resolution in the dispute.