Andre Rollins in the House of Assembly.
By TANEKA THOMPSON
Tribune News Editor
FORT Charlotte MP Dr Andre Rollins has dismissed calls from some in the Progressive Liberal Party to resign from his seat and force a by-election.
Dr Rollins, who quit the PLP last Wednesday, said he suspects that the call from some members of the PLP for a by-election is because web shop operators may be expected to heavily fund the process.
He added that it is questionable that he would be asked to vacate his seat while the PLP says nothing about the lack of representation in the House of Assembly from Elizabeth MP Ryan Pinder.
Dr Rollins suggested that since Mr Pinder left Cabinet to take up a lucrative post with Deltec Bank, which he called a conflict of interest, he has been chronically absent from Parliament.
Mr Pinder held the post of minister of financial services before he was wooed to become a senior executive at the private bank.
The newly independent MP was asked to comment after PLP Trustee Valentine Grimes urged the “unsatisfactory” MP “to do the right thing and allow the residents of the great Fort Charlotte a chance to get their voice back” in a by-election.
“I would respond to Mr Grimes by saying that I will not entertain the thought of wasting taxpayer dollars to force a meaningless by-election,” Dr Rollins said yesterday. “The people of Fort Charlotte - PLP, FNM and DNA - will continue to have a forceful voice in Parliament through my representation. This is what a strong Bahamas needs from its elected representatives. I urge Mr Grimes and the PLP leadership to consider the fact that while they wish for me to resign in Ft Charlotte, they have condoned Ryan Pinder’s chronic absence from the House’s proceedings while he works as a lobbyist for a private bank on the public’s dime. In the process, the people of Elizabeth have no representation in the House of Assembly, but for obvious reasons Mr Grimes and the PLP leadership find no fault with Pinder’s blatant conflict of interest.
“Furthermore, I suspect another motivating factor in Mr Grimes’ call for a by-election is the expectation that the web shop operators will be used to heavily fund a PLP by-election campaign. “ . . .This is yet another reason why our democracy needs campaign finance legislation. So, my response to Mr Grimes is no, I shall not be resigning my seat from the House to be a part of any wasteful and abusive exercise that would only serve narrow political interests at the expense of the Bahamian people. Hopefully, Mr Grimes turns his attention to the far more important business of (the) government’s efforts to reduce national unemployment and violent crime instead of attempting to create political distractions and conjure schemes to raise campaign contributions.”
He added that it was silly to ask a sitting MP to resign his seat only to run for re-election in that same area.
“Not only would it be a complete waste of taxpayer dollars, but it would make a complete farce of our system of government,” Dr Rollins said.
Last Friday, in the wake of Dr Rollins’ resignation, the PLP’s Fort Charlotte constituency branch said it welcomed another opportunity to work along with former area MP Alfred Sears, saying he was an effective representative who was well loved by constituents.
Dr Rollins’ departure from the governing party came a little more than a week after Marco City MP Greg Moss quit the PLP, citing leadership issues at the party and executive level.