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Fixin T&T: Bar owners fear victimisation
Angostura Holdings Limited employees are afraid to speak out against wrongdoing for fear of losing their jobs, says the president of Fixin T&T Kirk Waithe.
He was commenting on reports of an email being circulated by a top official of the company which hints at repercussions for any bar owner or person supporting a campaign calling for the removal of Angostura’s chairman Dr Rolph Balgobin.
The email reads: “Folks, any petition against Angostura being signed by bars or anyone who enjoys credit from us will not be perceived in a positive light. I trust that this is being monitored closely by your good selves. Let me know how this is being managed and if I may add value to any of the deliberations, I am only a phone call away.”
Waithe, who has given the Government and Angostura Holdings Ltd until Friday to remove Balgobin, is spearheading a campaign for a boycott of Angostura’s products. He said many bar owners are in favour of the boycott but are apprehensive about possible repercussions.
He claims an employee was suspended over the circulation of the email.
So far, three restaurants, Trotters, Prime and Buzo have signed on to the petition, along with promoters DJ Cin, ValeVibe, promoters of D original Breakfast Party, and Sunny Side Up events, which promotes the Carnival Breakfast Party.
“Many others agree in principle but are concerned about consequences,” Waithe said.
At a press conference on Monday, attorney Ramesh Lawrence Maharaj gave Angostura two weeks to reopen an investigation into sexual harassment allegations against Balgobin.
Maharaj said after a senior employee filed the complaint under the company’s whistleblower policy, Angostura appointed the Diana Mahabir-Wyatt Investigating Committee to probe the allegations.
However, in October, the company hired retired Judge Rolston Nelson to complete the investigations and the Committee’s appointment was terminated.
Maharaj has given Angostura 21 days to reopen the investigation.
“We believe that Angostura should act within the next two weeks and the government should act within the next week or two also and therefore we believe that within the next 21 days we should see the committee back in action. If that does not happen we will consider our legal options but that has to be our last resort,” he said.
Contacted yesterday, Angostura’s senior manager of Public Affairs and Communications Giselle Laronde-West said the company had no comment at this time.