By Richard Baysah (Contributor)
In the wake of an alleged sexual harassment as reported by Green Advocates International (GAI) against the Salala Rubber Corporation (SRC) management, several community residents, including the chiefs, and employees of the corporation have vehemently denied the claim, describing it as “rubbish.”
But GAI said it compiled the two-year investigative report in May, 2019. “GIA conducted the investigation in collaboration with a Switzerland-based NGO, Bread for All. So the article is authentic,” GIA said through its Monrovia office source.
At a well-attended meeting held in German Camp #4 on Tuesday, June 4, 2019, the various speakers, including women, were unanimous in proclaiming that at no time has the SRC Management carried out any form sexual harassment against women or requested sex as a precondition for employment, as contained in the GAI’s report.
Oldman Kollie, Chairman of the Salala Agricultural Workers Union, emphatically rejected the allegation. Kollie worked with the SRC for over 15 years in various capacities before he was elected as head of the workers’ union.
“In all the years I have worked for the SRC, no one has ever reported such a claim, specifically from a female employee that any of them were ever sexually harassed,” Mr. Kollie said.
According to him, the GAI report against the SRC was nothing new to the management and workforce, “because over the years, GAI and other partners is not surprising, consideration that the entity has over the years continued to print lies and misinformation, as well as incite local residents against the SRC.”
Kollie said that since 2010, GAI, and the SRC management have not been at good terms with the GAI having accused the SRC of land grabbing, and water pollution with twist in 2019, which the GAI has reported of an alleged sexual harassment and exploitation of women employees, and those seeking employment.
“This report is baseless, unfounded and has no iota of truth,” Mr. Kollie said.
Emmanuel Saye, a staff association president, said it was a very dangerous precedent for an acclaimed advocacy group and its auxiliaries to make such a grave allegation against the SRC without authenticating the information.
Saye said that the GAI as an NGO, only way of securing funding from donors is to report lies and spread misinformation against anyone or entity they are working against.
“Our livelihood is tied to the SRC, and if the GAI feels that is the only way to solicit funding from their donor partners is to write such report against their own brothers and sisters and the country, then is quite unfortunate, Mr. Saye said.
Fatu Morris, a female employee, recalled that since 2007 she was employed by the SRC, she has not experienced, or heard of any sexual harassment of women employees, and those seeking employment. “So the GAI allegation against the SRC management is a big lie intended to spoil the corporation good image.”
The chairman of the community leaders, William Julye said that the GAI has been manipulating their minds with lots of falsehood against the SRC to the extent that it put some of the employees at some point under the impression that the company owed the employees a little over US$10 million.
A claim yet to be substantiated up to date.
Also, some SRC former employees have denied the GAI’s report, which they termed as “false and misleading coming from an entity that want to criminally generate money; and to exploit the from the SRC by inciting the locals with spread lies.
At the same time the paramount Chief of Gibi District, and chairman of the Traditional Council of Margibi County, Peter Banyou has cautioned the GAI to refrain from publishing such a report against the residents and the SRC.
Banyou said his people, especially women are not the kind of people, who engage in “unwholesomeness and that the GAI must stop publishing such false report against women the SRC had employed, and those also seeking employment.