Angostura Ltd. has noted several interventions in the media regarding the outcome of an investigation into a complaint of sexual harassment by an employee of the company. The aim of these interventions is to suggest and
assert without foundation that the complaint was not thoroughly and independently reviewed.
Angostura rejects these assertions outright and wishes to place the following on the record for the elucidation of the public and all concerned parties. Addressing the misguided and inaccurate information in the public domain requires us to strike a delicate balance between two competing virtues, that of transparency and accountability on the one hand and confidentiality on the other.
The investigation and consideration given to this complaint was, and remains consistent with the highest tradition of Angostura’s commitment to excellence, transparency and accountability, with fairness and respect to all concerned. Angostura therefore regrets the unfortunate dissemination of inaccurate information regarding its handling of this matter. We have taken
more than 194 years to build our legacy and have simultaneously marketed Trinidad and Tobago to the world.
Sexual harassment is a nefarious practice which far too often mars the landscape of workplace relations. We all have a part to play in excising this debilitating blight which does incalculable harm to both women and men, and to which female employees are particularly vulnerable. Angostura wishes to assure the general public and our customers that we offer no quarter to those who choose to engage in sexual harassment and will take decisive action to address any such complaints as we have demonstrated in
our treatment of the instant complaint.
1. November 3, 2016,v a complaint of sexual harassment made under the terms of the Angostura Whistle blower Policy was received by the Secretary to the Board of CL Financial Limited. The complaint was instantly forwarded to the Chairperson of the Audit Committee of Angostura Holdings Limited in accordance with the Whistleblower Policy.
2. November 2016, investigation was launched by the Chairperson of the Angostura Audit Committee.
3. The Chairman of the Company was advised of the complaint and recused himself from all meetings and discussions relative to this matter.
4. The Policy contains specific requirements regarding the prompt reporting of complaints, the investigative procedure and the manner, burden and standard of proof on the complainant. It empowers the company to obtain external legal, accounting or other expertise to assist in its internal investigation which must be conducted in the strictest of confidence.
5. January 2017, the Board of Angostura Holdings Limited established an independent three-member committee with a mandate to investigate the
complaint and produce a report on or before February 14,2017.
6. September 2017, with no report yet delivered and with escalating costs, the mandate of the investigating committee was terminated.
7. The Board of Angostura Holdings Limited decided to engage the services of Mr. Rolston Nelson, S.C., retired Judge of the Caribbean Court of Justice and former Justice of Appeal at the Supreme Court of Trinidad and Tobago. Mr. Nelson has enjoyed a distinguished and respected career in this country and the region, spanning over 40 years.
8. Mr. Nelson was retained to review the available information inclusive of witness statements, recorded testimony, correspondence from the complainant and the accused, reports and material communications
and advise on whether the complaint of sexual harassment was made out.
9. He immediately communicated with both the complainant and the accused seeking any further material which they wished to be considered.
10. Mr. Nelson found that the complainant’s accusations, when fully considered against the backdrop of the requirements of the Whistleblower Policy, the available information and the relevant legal and evidential standards, did not substantiate the allegations of sexual harassment.
11. Given Mr. Nelson’s thorough examination of the matter and his reasoned approach, the Board of Angostura Holdings Limited accepted his recommendations and dismissed the complaint.