PLP Chairman Fred Mitchell.
PROGRESSIVE Liberal Party Chairman Fred Mitchell has called on Prime Minister Dr Hubert Minnis to “come clean” about the resignation of former Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture Lanisha Rolle.
“When the government released its statement on Tuesday, February 23, confirming the resignation of Lanisha Rolle, the government also confirmed an investigation into the operations at the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture,” Mr Mitchell said in a statement issued on Friday.
“The prime minister is reported in the media today confirming that Mrs Rolle is not being investigated. This revelation by the prime minister begs the question of why the youth minister resigned her ministerial post in the first place.
“If Lanisha Rolle is not under any investigation as the prime minister asserts, then why did the minister resign and why did Prime Minister Minnis accept her resignation from the Cabinet?”
Earlier this week, the PLP called on Dr Minnis to “provide a full and frank explanation on the reasoning behind and the circumstances” surrounding Mrs Rolle’s resignation.
“To date, he has not done so and has not levelled with the Bahamian people on this serious matter.
“The PLP again calls on the prime minister to come clean to the Bahamian people on this serious matter,” Mr Mitchell said.
On Thursday, Dr Minnis said Mrs Rolle is not being directly investigated after an internal audit he is said to have requested uncovered findings that led to the resignation of the Seabreeze MP.
Asked if Mrs Rolle was directly a part of that investigation, Dr Minnis said: “No she is not.”
A letter to Governor General C A Smith with Mrs Rolle’s signature was leaked on Tuesday, announcing her resignation from her ministerial post.
A statement released from the Cabinet Office confirmed the resignation later that day, noting that “certain matters have been brought to” Dr Minnis’ attention and are currently under investigation. Yesterday, Dr Minnis did not reveal what those matters were.
However, The Tribune understands that when ministry officials and the board of the National Sports Authority became concerned that established processes and procedures were allegedly not being followed at their agencies, they took their concerns to Dr Minnis on Saturday, February 13.
Dr Minnis is said to have then immediately requested a “lockdown” of the ministry, ordering that no cheques or contracts be issued.
The following day, Sunday, February 14, he asked Financial Secretary Marlon Johnson to launch an audit into the Ministry of Youth, Sports and Culture and to report its findings within at most four days, this newspaper understands.
Dr Minnis received the report from the ministry’s internal audit department on Thursday, February 18. The Office of the Auditor General is now auditing the National Sports Authority.
Mrs Rolle is the fourth minister to resign this term, joining Brent Symonette, Dr Duane Sands and Peter Turnquest. She was also previously the only woman in Dr Minnis’ Cabinet.
Iram Lewis, previously the minister of state for disaster preparedness, has been appointed the new minister of youth, sports and culture.