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Fixin’ T&T again calls for removal of Angostura chair

Saturday, November 11, 2017

Watch dog group Fixin’ T&T is giving the Government and Angostura Holdings Ltd board two weeks to remove its chairman Dr Rolph Balgobin, who was recently cleared of allegations of sexual harassment against him by a female executive at the company.

Failing that, Fixin’ T&T head Kirk Waithe said he would push for a national boycott of Angostura’s brand.

One businessman who has openly pledged to support Fixin’ T&T’s call is Peter George of the Trent Restaurant Group, which manages Trotters, Prime and Buzo restaurants.

In a release issued yesterday, Fixin’ T&T called for a “national boycott” of Angostura’s products until they deal with the allegations against Balgobin’s in a “transparent and meaningful manner.” Waithe said he will give Angostura until November 24 to “remove” Balgobin as chairman pending the outcome of a thorough transparent and independent investigation into the allegations.

“The Government and board has to do the right thing,” Waithe said.

Last month, Balgobin was cleared of the allegation in a report done by former judge Rolston Nelson.

But yesterday Waithe said sexual harassment remains pervasive throughout many work places in T&T, while victims suffer in silence. He said the allegations of sexual harassment against Balgobin span for more than ten years.

In a letter sent to Waithe on Tuesday, George said after careful consideration of the facts and implications, Trent Restaurant Group “is joining the stand against sexual harassment in T&T and is fully prepared to revisit our relationship with Angostura brand products pending corrective and appropriate measures being taken.”

George said sexual harassment against women was an odious part of society “that we believe must be addressed frontally and aggressively.”

As an employer of over 250 women, George said “this is a matter that is of particular importance to us” which society should not continue to dismiss.

He said Angostura has the opportunity “to take strong leadership in addressing and confronting this scourge,” adding Angostura “should encourage and demand a thorough investigation of the claims against their chairman with the intention of not just ascertaining his innocence or guilt, but bringing the national spotlight on sexual harassment and hastening its demise.”

Yesterday, Waithe said several other businesses have given a commitment to not support Angostura’s products.

“I take no pleasure in doing this. This is painful for me to do because Angostura is an indigenous brand of international repute, but it’s now being tarnished globally,” Waithe said.

George did not respond yesterday to two Whatsapp messages sent to him.

Balgobin also did not respond to a message left on his cellphone.

When Angostura’s corporate communications manager Giselle Laronde-West was told of Fixin’ T&T’s call for a total boycott, she opted not to comment on the matter.