Hodges flatly denies this. “I did not go there to present anything. I was led to believe that I was going to do a meet-and-greet with the local community leaders. My community manager only advised me that I was expected to give a speech to a crowd of some 500 just minutes before the meeting began. So I was not properly prepared, and therefore kept my comments at a high level, described a bit of my background, and emphasized my strong belief in good community relations.”
Hodges points to his experience in mining – which he has been involved in since 1977, including working in many jurisdictions across the globe. “I have plenty of experience working with local constituents, communities, and cultures, and I am also very sensitive to the volatile situation in Peru this past spring, so this whole notion of me walking into a community meeting and insulting people is so far beyond me, it’s ridiculous. And for the record, as opposed to changing the agreement with the community (as has been intimated), I said we would keep it exactly in place, and improve on it,” he says.
- In fact, nobody asked Hodges to go to Ollachea and meet with the community.
- In fact, it was Hodges who insisted on several occasions to go to Ollachea and meet with the locals.
- In fact, he was strongly advised by several quarters, including his community relations team (the same people he denegrates and tries to lay blame upon in that note), not to make the trip.
- In fact, Hodges decided to overrule every single piece of advice he heard on this subject, which came from people both inside and outside the company.
- In fact, he knew very well that he'd have to stand up and make a speech. He even got to choose the person who'd translate his speech for him (he went for VP Exploration Don McIver).
- He cannot speak Spanish.
- He does not understand the culture in Ollachea at all.
- He might not have intended to insult those present that evening, but you can take it to the bank that he did just that and in spades. Perhaps it was deliberate or perhaps it was accidental due to his plug dumb ignorance of where he was and who he was talking to (combined with a large dose of hubris) but sure as eggs are eggs, he pissed off the Ollachea locals bigtime.
- He specifically told the people present that there would be changes in the way Minera IRL operated and did things. The problem that Señor Hodges has on this score is that a video was shot of that meeting and it's all on the record*. What he thinks he says (when it suits him) is one thing, what he said is quite another.
*And yup, I've seen it.