“Darryl Smith should have been fired”

Spread the word
What is the message from Prime Minister Keith Rowley on sexual harassment in the workplace?

Doesn’t the Prime Minister understand what sexual harassment is?

Sexual harassment is bullying or coercion of a sexual nature, or the unwelcome or inappropriate promise of rewards in exchange for sexual favors.

Harassment can include “sexual harassment” or unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors and other verbal or physical harassment of a sexual nature.

The offensive conduct becomes a prerequisite to continued employment or the conduct is severe or pervasive enough that a reasonable person would consider the work place intimidating, hostile, or abusive.

Globally, recent sexual harassment headlines have now made this issue a hot topic; both the private and public sectors are demonstrating that they are no longer prepared to condone any type of sexual harassment allegations.

With the exception of the Keith Rowley-led PNM Administration!

Two very senior PNMites have been accused of sexual harassment, yet the Rowley-led PNM Administration refuses to deal with the issue.

Minister of Sport and Youth Affairs Darryl Smith’s alleged unwanted advances to former a personal staff member were at the heart of the staffer’s trade dispute with the Ministry, which led to a TT$150K pay off with taxpayers’ money.

And then Camille Robinson-Regis, the MP for Arouca/Maloney and Minister of Planning and Development insults all our women who are victims of sexual harassment by dismissing the issue of $150K of taxpayers’ money being used to settle the wrongful termination/sexual harassment lawsuit as a “non-story”.

Really… a non-story?

Instead of terminating Smith’s appointment, Rowley has transferred Smith to a Minister in the Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Why transfer Smith to another Ministry?

Is Rowley implying Smith’s behavior was due to his presence at the Sports Ministry?

One wrong just creates another wrong.

Smith should have been fired, not transferred to another Ministry after these serious and damning allegations have been made against him.

The other high-ranking official accused of sexual harassment is Rolph Balgobin, Chairman of CL Financial Limited and Angostura Holdings Limited.

A former female executive made a complaint of sexual harassment against Balgobin. She bought the allegations in 2016 and accompanied the allegations with a lie detector test confirming her claims and by filing a report with the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service.

The allegations were initially dismissed without an investigation before media reports surfaced that Balgobin faced similar allegations spanning more than a decade.

CL Financial and its publicly ­traded subsidiary – Angostura Ltd, have spent roughly $3.5M in defence of Balgobin against these allegations of sexual harassment.

In any other country both Smith and Balgobin would have been terminated.

But not under Keith Rowley’s watch.

It’s the accusers who have been terminated.

The message being sent to those who are the victims of sexual harassment in Trinidad and Tobago by the Rowley-led PNM Administration is clear… you will not be protected!

Capil Bissoon

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