Angostura board to review sexual harassment allegations after protest

Angostura's board said it will meet to discuss sexual harassment allegations against chairman Rolph Balgobin after workers protested on Tuesday, calling for him to step down.

The company said sexual harrassment is not condoned or tolerated in the workplace and all employees are made aware of their rights, roles and responsibilities if they feel they have been a victim of harassment.

"Angostura Holdings Limited has a policy framework which is outlined in its Employee handbook and a Whistleblower policy in place. Under the Whistleblower process, employees may anonymously report matters including issues of sexual harassment without fear of retaliation. It also guides the Company to protect the confidentiality of harassment allegations as an investigation pursues.

"A Board of Directors meeting is scheduled for later this week and this matter is expected to engage the Board's attention."

"Angostura Holdings Limited policy on the issue is clear."

"Sexual harassment is not condoned or tolerated in the workplace and employees are made aware of their rights, roles and responsibilities if they feel they have been a victim of harassment."

"We treat all accusations of sexual harassment allegations very seriously regardless of whom they are directed toward."

In keeping with Angostura Holdings Limited's policy and as a matter of responsible corporate behaviour, as the investigation proceeds and for the protection of the complainant, records of the complaint of harassment will not be shared in the public domain."

The National Trade Union Centre (NATUC) joined members of the Seamen and Waterfront Workers Trade Union (SWWTU) who marched outside of the company's head office on Tuesday, saying that until he has been cleared of the allegations, he should step down from his post.

"The NATUC supports the view of the SWWTU that the Mr. Balgobin should step down pending investigations into the allegations of sexual harassment filed against him by a senior female executive of Angostura Holdings Limited.”

“The SWWTU believes that transparency and accountability go hand in hand and should be of high relevance for any company or organisation.”

“We believe that until these allegations are refuted, it would be principled on the part of Mr. Balgobin to vacate the position of Chairman.”

Media reports revealed that the board of Angostura had not reviewed complaints against the chairman after a police report of sexual harassment was filed in November 2016.

The complaint included a polygraph to substantiate the report and was submitted to the Audit Committee of Angostura for investigation in November 2016.

Balgobin, who is also President of the Trinidad and Tobago Manufacturer's Association (TTMA), said the allegations are false. 

Angostura was also recently the subject of controversy after a report revealed that the company's exported products may have breached international quality standards by using imported rum. 


See also: Angostura refutes rum allegations