Saturday, July 2, 2022


Komolafe Resigns as Green Party Leader Over Election Failure and Financial Strain

DNA Leader Arinthia Komolafe announced her resignation from the Democratic National Alliance, after the party’s third unsuccessful attempt at the electoral poll.

Komolafe made an official announcement at the party’s headquarters on Friday, citing various reasons, including a financial strain on her personal resources.

Komolafe acknowledged the difficulty of third parties to secure funding for campaigns, while admitting that she spent nearly six figures to fund the DNA’s recent political campaign.

“Third party politics in the Bahamas is brutal and extremely difficult. It involves taking on established guards of the PLP and the FNM,” she said.

Komolafe lamented the current model of operation within the party stating it is unsustainable since the party depends on volunteers. Komolafe said during her tenure, she served as the financier of operations, writer of press releases and charged the administrative work of the party.

She said the candidates in the recent election personally funded their campaigns.

The big picture

Arinthia Komolafe succeeded the party’s founder Branville McCartney, to become leader of the party in 2017.

In the run up to the election, the party faced internal turmoil and fighting made public.

In the 2021 early election, the party suffered its worst support, garnering only 1,742 votes in 22 seats; in 2017, the DNA received 7,537 votes in its run for 39 constituencies; and in 2012, the DNA got more than 13,000 votes in 13 constituencies.

Why it matters

A third party has never won a general election nor seats in the House of Assembly. Leaders of third parties wound up joining the established parties after being wooed by positions and support.

Komolafe was praised as the first woman leader of a political party. However, she seemed to have never electrified her base.

What’s next?

Komolafe said she will not leave front line politics. But at the moment, she will focus on personal endeavors.

The party’s deputy leader Steven Nesbitt becomes interim leader.


Roberts Threatens to Reveal Damning Details on Bain if Pushed

Former Coalition of Independents member Wellington Roberts said he would reveal damning details about the party if members persist in criticizing his decision to leave and support the Progressive Liberal Party.

“I ain’t tell the full story. If I tell the full story, the wall of Jericho will come crumbling down,” Roberts warned.

When Roberts initially resigned from the COI, he cited health, safety, and financial concerns after receiving the nomination to run for the party in the North Andros and the Berry Island constituency.

However, on Monday, Roberts insisted there were other reasons why he left the party, “that I would not mention at this time.”

Since the move to leave the party, Roberts has received backlash on social media with many calling him a “traitor.”

Roberts said on Monday during a social media live, “I ain’t tell the full story yet. I am begging you and your organization to leave me alone. The slick jeers, the slick comments…you’ll leave me alone.”

He spoke directly to Bain, “Talk to them, because you’ll control them. They are you’ll ‘blackanites,’ ‘COInites,’ ‘Lincolnites.’ Talk to them. Leave me alone. Let sleeping dogs lie. I ain’t tell the full story.”

Why it matters

Roberts was considered an influential member of the third-party COI before his resignation. He garnered a large number of social media followings as he worked with Bain to expose “corruption” that they said are in the governing party and the PLP.

On the day of his resignation, he was seen dressed in a PLP shirt standing with Opposition Leader Philip Davis, while campaigning for the party.

Roberts said he now supports the PLP’s candidate for the North Andros and the Berry Islands Leonardo Lighbourne

What Cheque? Rolle Denies Any Financial Impropriety

Former Cabinet Minister Lanisha Rolle said a resignation letter released by Cabinet has caused her “hurt and harm.”

During her presentation in the House of Assembly on Tuesday afternoon, Rolle sought to clarify the rumors surrounding her resignation from her ministerial post as Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.

“…I requested further clarification of the statement made by the Cabinet, which incorrectly insinuated that my resignation was as a result of some investigation. The good member for Killarney (Prime Minister Hubert Minnis) to some degree clarified in a public statement to the press that there was no investigation concerning this member. I thank him.

“Sometimes, however, what you give to the world, you can not take back. Appreciating the hurt and harm this has caused me, I do not wish on any other…”

The big story

In February, after Rolle, the only woman minister in the Minnis-led administration, submitted a resignation letter to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis, Cabinet soon released a confirmation letter of Rolle’s resignation as Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, stating that, “certain matters have been brought to the attention of the prime minister and are under investigation.”

Rolle was then replaced with Iram Lewis who now serves in the post.

What Lanisha Rolle says

“…No ministry I kept, held money. I want to make that clear because the public seems to think that there was some chest of money that a minister holds…What cheque? Ministers don’t sign cheques. Minister don’t hold cheques…No ministry I kept, held money…” she said.

Rolle said all financial transactions can be verified.

She then asserted that as a woman minister, she was bullied and was not protected.

“But I stood my ground. Even if I stood alone.”

Why it matters

Speculations swirled that Rolle was involved in some impropriety within her ministry, which led many people to believe her resignation was a result of financial wrongdoing.

Since, February, Rolle nor Cabinet has directly stated the reason for her resignation.

Rolle ‘Disappointed’ FNM Did Not Ratify Her. ‘It’s How You Do It,’ She Says

Former Cabinet Minister Lanisha Rolle broke her silence on Tuesday for the first time since the FNM’s decision to not renominate her for the upcoming general election.

During the budget debate, Rolle used the opportunity to set the record straight in regard to the party’s decision to nominate a new candidate for the Sea Breeze constituency, at times scolding the government in its handling of the issue.

In her critique of the government’s handling of her, Rolle said, ” It’s not what you do. It’s how you do it.”

The party recently nominated Maxine Rolle instead for the constituency, which Rolle won in 2017 when she ran on the FNM’s ticket. Rolle has since become a controversial figure within the party with numerous complaints coming from the two ministerial posts she once held–Minister of Social Services and Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture.

Rolle said she is disappointed that the party did not renominate her for the 2022 General Election, saying that her interest was to serve the constituents of Sea Breeze.

“Approximately three weeks ago, the Free National Movement chose to ratify another candidate in my stead to contest the upcoming general election. Given the truth of my labour, investment and sacrifice, given the overwhelming support of the Sea Breeze executives up to the time of that decision, and the ongoing support of the Sea Breeze constituents over the last 5 years, this decision and the events leading up to it, is most disappointing,” she said.

She added that her intention was to continue to serve the constituency, however, “the party has its perogative and can exercise its power intrusted in it, and can do as it sees fit.”

“It is well,” Rolle expounded. “My only wish is that your words be guided with the truth.”

Rolle said she received “overwhelming support from the executives of the Sea Breeze constituency” adding that the executives “were all disappointed to see the position the party took, notwithstanding their expressed support” for her.

“I hold no malice or ill-will. I wish the FNM all the best,” she said. But the situation, like many, most unfortunate, in my mind, was distasteful,” she said.

Rolle said when she realized that she was not ratified early like other parliamentarians, she then wrote the party notifying it that she would not seek renomination for 2022.


Lewis Makes Pledge to Sporting Community after Rolle’s Resignation

In his new appointment as Minister of Youth, Sports and Culture, Iram Lewis said he commits to further develop sports and the country’s youth since the resignation of former minister Lanisha Rolle.

Why it matters

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis appointed Lewis, a former athlete, to the new ministerial post. Lewis is the former minister of state for Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction.

The big picture

Former Sports Minister Rolle resigned yesterday, not giving any reasons for the resignation. But a statement later released by the Cabinet’s Office stated that “certain matters have been brought to the attention of the Prime Minister and are under investigation.”

What Lewis says

“As a former athlete, a constant supporter of our young people and their potential, and as someone committed to our creative cultural communities, I am excited to take on this responsibility.  I look forward to engaging with the cultural and creative arts community in the ongoing development and promotion of Bahamian arts, culture and heritage. Because the development of our young people is at the heart of national development, I will be a champion for Bahamian youth and young adults.

Lewis continued, “I also understand the vital role that sports play in the holistic development of young people and our communities. In keeping with the recent announcement by the Prime Minister, I look forward to the reintroduction of the Bahamas Games.

“I pledge to work in a spirit of respect and courtesy with those in my ministry and the various youth, sports and cultural groups with whom we engage. I will listen to advice. I will work to bring people together to advance causes that help our athletes, young people and cultural groups. The Bahamas is a great little country. Our people have so much talent.

“My focus will be on helping nurture that talent in a spirit of unity and togetherness,” Lewis said.

Investigation Underway After Rolle’s Resignation

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis is investigating matters in the Ministry of Youth Sports and Culture after Lanisha Rolle announced her resignation from the post as Minister.

“Certain matters have been brought to the attention of the Prime Minister and are under investigation,” according to a statement from the Cabinet Office.

Why it matters?

Lanisha Rolle presented her resignation from the ministerial post on Tuesday, to the Governor-General. She did not cite her reasons for abandoning the post, only thanking Minnis, cabinet colleagues, support staff at the ministry, and her family for their support while she served as minister.

May be an image of 1 person, standing and outdoors
The executives of the Seabreeze association gathered at LWFM Church on Sunday.

Rolle said she remained committed to serving as the Seabreeze MP for the remainder of her term as their representative.

The big picture

Minnis has accepted Rolle’s resignation.

Rolle is the fourth Cabinet minister to resign from the Minnis administration, joining Peter Turnquest, Dr Duane Sands, and Brent Symonette.

Who replaces Rolle?

thebahamasweekly.com - National Report by Minister of State Iram Lewis

Minister of State in the Ministry of Disaster Preparedness, Management and Reconstruction Iram Lewis will demit his post to become the substantive Minister of Youth, Sports, and Culture.

The Prime Minister has advised His Excellency the Governor-General to appoint the Hon. Iram Lewis to the post that Rolle once held. Minnis thanked Rolle for her service.

Moultrie Resigns FNM To Become Independent Parliamentarian

House Speaker and Member of Parliament for Nassau Village has formally resigned from the Free National Movement, becoming an independent member of Parliament, according to a letter seen circulated on social media.

In a letter addressed to the Secretary-General of the FNM, Sefrent Rolle, Moultrie says “with immediate effect, I formally end my seven-month consecutive withdrawal from the  Free National Movement, by tendering my resignation thereby cancelling my membership.”

The big picture

Moultrie joins Centerville MP Reece Chipman and Golden Isles MP Vaughn Miller in resigning from the party to become independent parliamentarians. Miller has since joined up with the Progressive Liberal Party.

Why it matters

Moultrie in recent times has publicly criticized the government, citing his convictions on the lack of autonomy and independence of the legislative body.

In the resignation letter, he makes mention of the faults he has with the party, again citing, “convictions on fundamental essentials of democracy and good governance such as the separation of powers, autonomy and independence of the legislature and judiciary, accountability and transparency, freedom of information and respect for the constitution.”

OK, Turnquest Resigned. Now What?

By now we are aware of Peter Turnquest’s resignation as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister as Finance following allegations of fraud when he served as a manager and director in two aviation companies. The writ filed in the Supreme Court does not name Turnquest as the defendant in the case, but mentions him in his role as manager of the company responsible for the “bogus loans” that totaled nearly $30 million.

Turnquest in his resignation letter maintains his innocence, calling the matters “unfounded” and “untrue.” However, in the court of public opinion, some have found him guilty. It is important to remember that these allegations are simply accusations that need to be proven by the court system.

However, Turnquest saw it necessary to resign considering his post as Minister of Finance, and determined that the allegations will distract the work of government as it seeks to maneuver the country’s economy through the pandemic.

Who will replace Peter Turnquest?

Turnquest was second in command to Prime Minister Hubert Minnis and rose to the position in 2014 when other party members opposed Minnis’ leadership. He eventually became finance minister in 2017 when the Free National Movement won at the election poll.

Under Turnquest’s watch, we have seen an increase of Vat from 7%– introduced by the Progressive Liberal Party, to 12% and a number of downgrades. But all in all, Turnquest has handled them decently, while remaining steady-handed and committed to public finance reform.

Minnis said he will become interim Finance Minister and will make an appointment in “due course.”

Scanning the Cabinet, Tourism Minister Dionisio D’Aguilar will make a superb minister of finance considering his background in accounts and the many successes he’s had in the country’s primary industry, tourism, and his shrewd business skills.

Agriculture Minister Michael Pintard is well suited for the position of Deputy Prime Minister. He is young, articulate, thorough, and well-liked. Pintard is a man of few words in the House of Assembly, but when he speaks, it’s substantive. In addition, heading into the 2022 general election, Pintard is best suited to go head-to-head with PLP’s Deputy Leader Chester Cooper, who may change voters’ minds at the polls if they reconsider Minnis as prime minister.

Pintard can be to Minnis what U.S Vice President Mike Pence is to President Donald Trump. Pintard balances Minnis in every way.

For now, it’s a waiting game to see what happens next.

Read Turnquest’s Full Resignation Statement

It has been my great honour and privilege to serve my country in public office. I have done so with total fidelity and adherence to the tenets of our democracy and the Westminster conventions by which we are guided.
As consequence of all the unfounded and untrue claims that that have been circulating in the mainstream press as well as in social media, to protect my family, and in the best interest of my Constituency and my Party, I have offered my resignation as Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Finance to the Prime Minister with immediate effect.
I will continue to serve out the term of my election as the Member of Parliament for East Grand Bahama for whose prayers and support, I continue to be most humble and grateful.
My focus as Minister of Finance has been to deepen our democracy by enacting legislation that reformed and modernized the management of our economy and the public’s finances. I am confident in the team of young men and women at the Ministry of Finance who will continue that work.
When I met with the Prime Minister today I informed him that while I am confident that once the allegations against me has been fully ventilated through the courts, my reputation of transparency and accountability will be vindicated, I did not want a private business dispute, which occurred prior to my taking public office, to become a distraction to the Government, or to the important national work that lies ahead.
Our nation is undergoing an unprecedented time in its history. We are fighting a global pandemic, resulting in unprecedented economic challenges and a difficult road ahead to maintain stability and recovery. We must all continue to commit to doing our part.
I look forward to putting this matter behind me and continuing to encourage modernization and reform in our country to which, I remain so grateful for allowing me to serve.
At an appropriate time, I will have more formal comments to make in regards to the circumstances of the allegations made against me and the actors that have perpetuated it.

PM and Cabinet Mulling Over Turnquest’s Future

As calls for the resignation of Deputy Prime Minister PeterTurnquest grow louder, Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says Cabinet is deliberating that decision.

Why it matters

The Minister of Finance is accused of fraud and a writ as since been filed in the Supreme Court alleging “bogus loans” when he was director and manager of Sky Bahamas and Aviation Oversight, which was owned by a former business partner Randy Butler.

Prime Minister Hubert Minnis says the resignation is being discussed in Cabinet

When asked by reporters to respond to calls by the opposition for the minister to resign and an official investigation be launched in the case, Minnis said, “It’s a court matter right now and Cabinet is deliberating on it. We will get back to you as soon as Cabinet completes our deliberations and discussions.”

What Opposition Leader Philip Davis says

Opposition leader Philip Davis said he awaited a response from Minnis on the matter while calling for Turnquest to resign. He said, “First, the Prime Minister must be reminded that he has a duty to act when his ministers refuse to take the honourable course.”

Davis said if Turnquest does not resign willingly, then Minnis must fire Turnquest.

Attorney John Wilson says no reason to resign

Attorney John Wilson, QC, says not so fast. He said he sees no reason for Turnquest to resign considering the writ is only an allegation, which he called, “uncalled” and “untested.”

“I really see no justification why anyone should resign over simple allegations in a writ of summons because that is all it is, allegations,” he tells Eye Witness News.

“It has not been tested in a court of law and it has not been subjected to any sort of proof; not to mention the fact that from what I have seen, and I can only opine as to what I have seen and circulating on social media, so I say this with this caveat.

“The minister has not been named in these proceedings at all.

“And having not been named in the proceedings, I don’t quite understand why his name featured so prominently in the allegations in the writ itself.

“One would have thought that if there was a case to be made against him, he ought to have been made a party to proceedings.”