LONDON, Feb. 13 — The Haiti and Chad sex scandals involving aid workers from the British charity Oxfam claimed its first high-profile casualty Monday when the charity’s deputy CEO resigned.
Penny Lawrence said in a statement that as program director at the time Oxfam workers were in Chad and later in Haiti after its 2010 earthquake, she took full responsibility. “I am ashamed that this happened on my watch and I take full responsibility,” she added. Lawrence issued her statement as Oxfam executives were responding to a demand for full information from the British government’s Department for International Development (DFID) which has threatened to cancel its multi-million dollar funding package.
“Over the last few days we have become aware that concerns were raised about the behaviour of staff in Chad as well as Haiti that we failed to adequately act upon. It is now clear that these allegations, involving the use of prostitutes and which related to behaviour of both the Country Director and members of his team in Chad, were raised before he moved to Haiti,” Lawrence said. “I am desperately sorry for the harm and distress that this has caused to Oxfam’s supporters, the wider development sector and most of all the vulnerable people who trusted us,” she added.
Mark Goldring, Chief Executive of Oxfam GB, said: “I deeply respect Penny’s decision to accept personal responsibility. Like us, she is appalled at what happened and is determined to do what is best for Oxfam and the people we exist to help.” Lawrence joined Oxfam in February 2006 as Program Director and became Deputy Chief Executive in 2016. – XINHUA