Sun | Oct 20, 2019

Hanover MC launches sexual harassment probe

Published:Thursday | August 15, 2019 | 12:22 AMBryan Miller/Gleaner Writer

Western Bureau:

Allegations of sexual harassment have surfaced at the Hanover Municipal Corporation (HMC) as four female employees have pointed the finger at a male supervisor, who has allegedly denied any wrongdoing.

A well-placed source at the HMC confirmed that the matter has sparked an internal probe by senior administrators at the Lucea-based municipal corporation.

“This situation has been going on for quite a while,” the source told The Gleaner yesterday. “The women have decided they have had enough and they threatened to resign ... as a group unless their complaints were addressed as they are no longer prepared to tolerate the behaviour of the supervisor,” the source said.

One of the alleged victims, who has been quite vocal in demanding action, claimed that her life was also threatened when she raised the allegations.

“Even female students who were here on the summer-work programme [have been] approached by this individual for sexual favours,” the source added.

As news of the allegations hit the streets of Lucea, the leadership of the HMC hunkered down in an emergency meeting and decided to launch a probe.

Verbal and written submissions have also been taken from the women, The Gleaner has been informed.

“A file has been created with copies of the written statements from the four women and they are to be submitted to Mayor Sheridan Samuels, the chairman of the HMC; David Gardener, the CEO; Devon Brown, the minority leader of the HMC; Compliance and Enforcement Manager Craig Oates; and Director of Administration Ricardo Rhoden,” the source said.

While a number of other HMC employees have confirmed that they are aware of the probe, none were prepared to go on record with a comment.

The Gleaner’s attempts to reach Gardener and Samuels proved futile.

When contacted, Superintendent Sharon Beeput, who heads the Hanover Police Division, said she was hearing of the matter for the first time.

“We have not had any reports from anyone on this matter, but if it is true, the victims are always welcome to lodge a formal report to the police,” she said.