By LEANDRA ROLLE
Tribune Staff Reporter
SEVERAL Cabinet ministers yesterday dismissed speculation that the Minnis administration is “falling apart” following Lanisha Rolle’s resignation, with one MP saying “not everyone is going to make the full five-year term”.
They spoke after a letter to Governor General C A Smith with Mrs Rolle’s signature was leaked yesterday, announcing her resignation from her ministerial post.
Mrs Rolle’s resignation was later confirmed by the Cabinet Office in a brief statement yesterday, which added that “certain matters” had been brought to the attention of Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis and are now being investigated.
Yesterday, Cabinet ministers refused to comment on Mrs Rolle’s resignation specifically, with some of them telling reporters they had not yet been fully briefed on the matter.
However, when asked about morale in the party, they all expressed confidence in the leadership of Dr Minnis and insisted that the Free National Movement is still the best option to lead The Bahamas.
“This is the second time I have served in Cabinet. This is the administration that I believe is on very sure footing,” Deputy Prime Minister Desmond Bannister said before going to Cabinet.
“We have outstanding leadership and we are leading this country in a manner that I have never seen leadership exist, very, very strong leadership, very assured leadership and like I said leadership that has taken us through the pandemic in a manner very few countries have been able go.”
Mrs Rolle is the fourth Cabinet minister to resign from the Minnis administration this term. The move comes after East Grand Bahama MP K Peter Turnquest resigned last November as Minister of Finance and Deputy Prime Minister in November over a lawsuit alleging a $27m fraud, which he has denied, and in which he was named.
Earlier in 2020, the then-Health Minister Dr Duane Sands resigned after a controversy over him allowing Americans with COVID-19 test swabs to enter the country without following the established protocols at the time. Brent Symonette resigned as Minister of Financial Services, Trade and Industry and Immigration, citing personal reasons, in 2019.
Yesterday, Mr Bannister said it’s not uncommon for ministers to resign after being elected to office and said at the end of the day, the government will be judged by the electorate on its overall performance.
“I think in any Cabinet, you’re going to see resignations. In any Cabinet, not everyone is going to make the full five-year term. But this Cabinet will be judged on the basis of what we have done,” he added.
“All of us have seen what’s happening in the manner that we have been able to survive the pandemic so far. That is leadership and the Bahamian people are looking at that. I walk in Carmichael every week, all the time and there’s tremendous confidence in Carmichael and I will be venturing in other constituencies.
“I’ve seen what’s happening in the Family Islands. I am confident that the Bahamian people respect the leadership that we have. There’s no question that there’s going to be a second Minnis term (with) as Prime Minister.”
For his part, Immigration Minister Elsworth Johnson said there have been instances where MPs have resigned from Cabinet and still remained loyal to the party.
He told reporters: “(The party) is not falling apart. I think one thing that you have seen with the Minnis administration is that he has called on his ministers to account and you all know the circumstances and some ministers have resigned and they remain committed to the party.
“And that is sometimes what is necessary. You know some persons will run again and some persons will not run again… either way, life goes on and we must conduct ourselves in the way that’s best for this commonwealth.”
Education Minister Jeff Lloyd also dismissed concerns that the FNM is falling into disarray, saying he has every confidence that the party will again secure victory at the polls.
“I don’t mind the noise and the naysayers,” the South Beach MP stressed. “Let’s put the record on the table for the Bahamian people to see and any objective, reasonable minded individual can only conclude that we have done under the circumstances a very good job.
“I have no doubt that the Free National Movement is the best choice for the Bahamian people and for what is best for the commonwealth of the Bahamas.”
He also wished Mrs Rolle the best in her future endeavours.
The Sea Breeze MP has already said she will continue to serve her constituency for the remainder of her term.
Central Grand Bahama MP Iram Lewis has been appointed the new minister of youth, sports and culture. Mr Lewis will demit his post as the State Minister of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction, which falls under the Office of the Prime Minister.