Dr. Rolph Balgobin resigned as Chairman; the alleged victim of sexual harassment was fired; Terrence Bharath was installed as Chairman at Angostura Holdings Limited.
That is how history will record the sordid events related to sexual harassment at Angostura Limited during the two year period 2016/18. Meanwhile, as one woman lives with the painful memory of resisting sexual advances by her boss, the women on the factory floor at Angostura Holdings Limited maintain a quiet composure.
On July 02, 2018 I wrote to to the new chairman and suggested that he should engage a transparent, independent and thorough investigation of the charges of sexual harassment in order to provide closure for the more that 200 female workers employed at Angostura. I further suggested that such an investigation would demonstrate his commitment to ensuring that Angostura Holdings Limited retains a sound reputation amongst 50% of its customers and to a process of procedural fairness at all levels of the organization.
The goodly chairman responded to me indicating that since neither persons were “with” the company, Angostura no longer has any legal authority to pursue the matter and dismissed my concerns with the terse statement:
“In any event, this matter has engaged the attention of the Company, its Attorneys and Board, for a sufficiently long period and the matter is now considered closed”.
As one of the country’s leading companies, it would be unfortunate for Angostura to dismiss the issue of sexual harassment without ensuring the implementation of a sexual harassment policy. As an indirect shareholder, I need to be advised about when the policy was implemented and whether there was sensitivity/awareness training accompanying its implementation. The underlying issue is: can Angostura provide the assurance that there is a clear process for any employee to bring a claim of sexual harassment to the management and that it would be dealt with openly and transparently?
Once this issue remains unresolved it casts a shadow on the safety of the work environment especially for the 200+ women employed at Angostura Holdings Limited. I am acutely aware that when the rights of one woman are trampled, the collective rights of women are in jeopardy. Angostura must demonstrate leadership on this issue and do the right thing. Sexual harassment in the workplace impacts the safe working conditions and cannot be dismissed or back-burnered.