Women allege sexual harassment by Ministry of Works official

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Copies of a number of letters alleging sexual harassment were shared with OBSERVER media yesterday, by more than a dozen female workers in the Security Department at the Ministry of Public Works in St John’s.

The women are refusing to work with a top official there, claiming that they are being sexually harassed on a daily basis.

The eight letters received indicated that they had all communicated their discomfort in writing to the Minister of Public Works, Lennox Weston, and the Permanent Secretary, Clarence Pilgrim, from as far back as January 19th, 2019.

One of the alleged victims of the unwanted sexual advances claims that the individual would come to her home, very late at nights, requesting that she should come to his home to sleep.

She said in her letter to Weston that she is “fed up” and wants him to stop harassing her.Meantime, a security guard, who has three children, also claims that after she took up a side job as a janitor at the man’s home, he became obsessed with her and the relationship became physical.

The woman is accusing the alleged perpetrator of beating, chocking, and squeezing her. The security officer said in her letter that she fears for her life and is afraid that she won’t live long enough to see her children grow up.

In another letter dated June 2019, also obtained by our newsroom, another security officer alleges that the man constantly uses indecent language while he is speaking to her.She said he forced himself on her and when she refused, he claimed that she will never get another man like him.

Most of the letters make similar claims of unwanted sexual advances being committed against them by the said male official.

In fact, another missive obtained by OBSERVER media, which was addressed to the alleged perpetrator and signed by the Permanent Secretary, Pilgrim, stated that as a result of an “Internal Investigative Committee report dated July 3rd 2019,” the top official is “hereby suspended for a period of two weeks starting Monday 8th July 2019 and end on 26th July, 2019.”

The correspondence also stated that he was being reassigned to another office and he was further advised to “become familiar with the regulations, policies and norms that governs a successful working environment.”

But according to the women, the individual was never transferred is still in that position and, to date, is still sexually harassing and making unwanted advances toward them.  

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