BNT Selects Lakeshia Anderson-Rolle as New Executive Director (Effective January 1st, 2023)
Incoming Executive Director and BNT Council are eager to focus efforts on National Park System fundamentals so as to ensure an environmentally sustainable future for all Bahamians
November 17th, 2022 – Nassau, The Bahamas
Incoming Bahamas National Trust (BNT) Executive Director Lakeshia Anderson-Rolle will be the first female to lead the country’s foremost environmental stewardship organisation as it charts an ambitious course towards a sustainable, climate resilient, and well-managed future to the benefit of all Bahamians.
Having worked with The Bahamas National Trust for more than a decade, Anderson-Rolle has now ascended to the highest level of leadership within the organisation. In 2011, she started at the BNT as a Parks Planner; in 2014 she was promoted to Grand Bahama Parks Manager; and since 2017 she has served on the senior leadership team as Director of Parks, managing a department of 45 BNT staff in an organisation of approximately 80 persons. Anderson-Rolle has deep working knowledge of the BNT and the key conservation and stewardship roles the organisation plays across the length and breadth of The Bahamas.
Anderson-Rolle said, “It is a true honour to accept the role of BNT Executive Director and the incredible responsibilities and opportunities that come with it. I now have the amazing opportunity to fulfill my life’s work to protect and sustain the natural resources of The Bahamas for future generations. The Bahamas’ National Park System is our country’s unique crown jewel – there is nothing like it anywhere in the world.
“Our national parks preserve and protect our way of life. The BNT’s focus moving forward will be rooted in effective national park management and engaging the Bahamian people and the world in this crucial work. Together we will accomplish great things for The Bahamas as we focus on the BNT’s core priorities: Parks, Science, and Education.”
As a former Assistant Fisheries Officer in the Department of Marine Resources and long-time BNT National Parks Manager, Anderson-Rolle is keenly focused on the critical environmental and economic challenges facing The Bahamas. Today, all Caribbean nations face increased climate disasters, the economic impacts of the fast-spreading coral pandemic Stony Coral Tissue Loss Disease (SCTLD), the sharp decline of key fisheries, and severe wetland and terrestrial habitat loss. As Executive Director, Anderson-Rolle will lead The Bahamas National Trust and the Bahamian public headlong into these realities. She is deeply committed to forging innovative solutions and driving results for future generations.
Anderson-Rolle knows first-hand the urgent need to protect both national park ecosystems and at-risk species like conch and grouper from the existential threats of poaching and overfishing. As BNT Parks Director, Anderson-Rolle has a proven track record at the forefront of protecting and restoring The Bahamas’ globally important mangrove and pine forests and other critical habitats. She knows these are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the diverse and difficult challenges confronting conservationists in The Bahamas. As a front-line community leader, pragmatic environmental advocate, and longstanding public servant, Anderson-Rolle is uniquely qualified to meet the tasks at hand.
After enduring several challenging years due to the devastating Hurricane Dorian and the COVID-19 pandemic, both in terms of the availability of funding and the ability to properly staff national parks during lockdowns, the BNT has emerged stronger than ever led by BNT Council President Geoff Andrews, Deputy President Joanne Smith, and a committed 29-member governing Council. The BNT Council expressed their gratitude to Executive Director Eric Carey and his fifteen years of service as Executive Director and his hard work over the last year as the organisation readies for transition. A $2,000,000 annual advancement campaign, now nearing its goal through an unprecedented public outpouring of support, was launched in April 2022 to honour the outgoing leader’s 20-year BNT legacy.
Of Anderson-Rolle and the road ahead, BNT Council President Geoff Andrews stated, “This BNT leadership team is committed to making an environmentally sustainable future for all Bahamians and uplifting our National Park System at home and around the globe. We believe that Lakeshia Anderson-Rolle is the ideal leader to help us recruit all Bahamians to the cause of protecting and restoring the precious, delicate ecosystems that play such a fundamental part in making this the best country in the world to live.
Andrews continued, “Lakeshia emanates passion for our country’s national parks and brings to the table a strong background in management, strategic planning, multilateral and institutional funding. She is skilled at consensus building with Government and other key stakeholders, and has an in-depth knowledge of the relevant science and a great deal of hands-on experience across all aspects of the BNT’s work. We see her appointment as the culmination of intentional and ongoing efforts to develop internal talent and we are so excited that the system is clearly working out as intended. The entire BNT Family could not be more proud.”
Outgoing Executive Director Eric Carey has enthusiastically endorsed his replacement. “I am extremely pleased that Lakeshia has been selected to take the BNT through the next chapter of its incredible conservation history. She is highly respected by her BNT colleagues, as well as the Bahamian and international conservation communities. Lakeshia has consistently exceeded the BNT’s expectations, rising to every occasion on the journey across her tenure. Lakeshia is without question the environmental leader for the future of The Bahamas,” he said.
Anderson-Rolle concluded, “I believe now is the right time, and we have the right team in place, to partner with Government, non-government organisations (NGOs), civil society, and the Bahamian public to effectively handle the complex climate change challenges we face today while we aim to take the BNT to the next level.”
To learn more about the role the BNT plays to manage terrestrial and marine national parks, protect species that inhabit them, and inform environmental policy, please visit its website: www.bnt.bs and follow/subscribe to various social media channels: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and YouTube.
Media Contact: Leah Carr | firstname.lastname@example.org | (242) 429-7902
About the BNT:
The Bahamas National Trust (BNT) was created by an Act of Parliament in 1959 to build and manage the national park system of The Bahamas. Possibly the only non-governmental organization in the world charged with such a responsibility, the BNT works daily to conserve and protect the natural resources of The Bahamas through stewardship and education for present and future generations. There are currently 32 National Parks managed by the BNT with more than 2 million acres of marine and terrestrial areas protected.