You are cordially invited to
The Daily Requiem for all victims of sexual harassment at
Angostura Holdings Limited and indeed throughout Trinidad and Tobago.
The chief celebrant will be
Mr. Terrence Bharath,
Chairman, Angostura Holdings Limited.
In anticipation of his sermon here are two quotes from previous sermons. On July 17th, 2018, his response to my letter said in part:
“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”. Ltr to DDemming 17July2018 SIGNED
His response dated September 18, 2018 said in part:
“Angostura is a company registered under the Companies Act, there are rules and regulations which govern it its operations and dissemination of information. As a member of the Public I’m afraid that you are not entitled to the information which you seek in your letter of 10th September.” T. Bharath September 18
Here are the questions I posed to the Chief Celebrant:
- Is there a sexual harassment policy at Angostura?
- When was it implemented?
- Was it accompanied by sensitivity/awareness training?
- How can a member of the public (an indirect shareholder) access the policy?
- What specific actions have the Board taken to ensure that the issue of sexual harassment is ventilated throughout the organization, taking into consideration that sexual harassment is not gender-specific.
- What is the clear process for an employee to bring a claim of sexual harassment to the management?
These are simple questions, the provision of whose answers could be easily dispensed with in order to close the matter.
But maybe, just maybe, if he answered the questions, it would be clear that the sexual harassment policy was not implemented until after the claim was made under the Whistle Blower policy. It was a situation of post facto implementation.
Maybe, just maybe, if he answered the questions, it would become obvious that there has been no sensitivity training for employees at Angostura Holdings Limited.
Maybe, just maybe, if he answered the questions, we would realize that the sexual harassment policy is opaque.
Mr. Terrence Bharath was a member of the Board of Directors which presided over three failed attempts to investigate exactly what happened. He is now slapping his female workers in the face by using the Company’s Act as a shield against the legitimate questions and he might be right, but there is a larger dilemma to be considered.
What is the responsibility of companies which are partly owned by the State? Was the Prime Minister not acting on behalf of the people of Trinidad and Tobago when he appointed the Board of Directors? Shouldn’t the tenets of accountability and transparency apply? Don’t we (members of the Public) have a right to be informed of the policies of companies which are partly purchased by our tax dollars?