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DPM Turnquest on The Estate of the Late Derek Rolle
Jan 30, 2019 - 12:41:03 PM

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Delivered by K Peter Turnquest, Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Finance in the House of Assembly on the Alleged Role of Government Officials and Agencies in Rumoured Inheritance related to the Estate of the late Derek Rolle

Mr. Speaker,

I rise to make a brief and what I hope shall be a final statement on the matter of the alleged role and knowledge of the Bahamas Government in a purported Inheritance left to the now deceased Derek Rolle.

Honourable Members and the general public would largely be aware of the story of late Derek Rolle that goes back some twenty years plus. Without rehashing the entire tale, the substance of the matter is that the late Mr. Rolle would have allegedly inherited a fortune from a deceased American couple.  Mr. Rolle would have alleged that his efforts to obtain this inheritance had – up until his death - been thwarted by officials of the Bahamas Government.  The allegations also have stated that government officials and unscrupulous bankers had conspired to hide and steal this inheritance.

These unfounded allegations had spanned administrations, but had died down over the years.  However, recently they have re-emerged and have been become a mini-viral phenomena on social media.   In some versions of the story, the value of the inheritance is up to $79 billion. Further, as the current iteration of this fanciful tale goes, the government had rushed the recent Dormant Accounts Bill through Parliament so as to abscond with the multi-billion inheritance to the disadvantage of the estate of Mr. Rolle.

Neither the Ministry nor the Central Bank nor the named commercial bank elected to respond formally to this patently absurd tale, simply because it was and is a patently absurd tale.   However, given that the matter had been raised by a Member of this House, the government feels that it is important to state its position formally for the record.

Mr. Speaker, neither the Ministry of Finance nor the Central Bank – nor any other government entity - were or are aware of this alleged inheritance that was supposedly left to Mr. Derek Rolle.  Further, and it would follow from this, neither the Central Bank nor any other public entity has had or does have knowledge or possession of any funds related to this alleged inheritance.  

Neither the Ministry of Finance, the Central Bank, the Attorney General, the Ministry of National Security nor any other relevant agency have been approached by any domestic or international entity on any matter related to the investigation of this issue.  

Further, the government is not aware of any legal action that has been commenced in The Bahamas or any other jurisdiction in respect to what is alleged to be the largest theft of monies ever recorded. One would certainly believe that there is more than sufficient incentive for this matter to have been advanced over the last twenty years.   There would be literally thousands of lawyers from across the world who would fly to the Bahamas – or the relevant jurisdiction – today to commence action if $79 billion was on the line.

While the government cannot speak for private entities Mr. Speaker, I do wish to point out for completeness that the Ministry had reached out to the commercial bank that had been named in the stories.  The named bank has similarly indicated that it has no knowledge or possession of any such funds related to Mr. Rolle.

Mr. Speaker, as far as the government can ascertain, this story is untrue in its entirety.

With that said though Mr. Speaker, I do want the Estate of Mr. Derek Rolle to understand that if they or anyone else has information and material evidence to support any claim of any inheritance or other funds that is owed to the Estate – then the Estate should avail itself of all available channels, both in the Bahamas and abroad, to ensure that matter is resolved.

The government continues to hear any number of wild accusations being levied at government agencies and even at specific individuals.   The government cautions all those who choose the slander the names of individuals with unsubstantiated claims to cease forthwith.   Simply put, it is time to put up or shut up.

Until such time that someone is able to present credible evidence to substantiate any element of this story, the government shall not comment further on the matter and shall consider the matter closed.

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