KINGSTON, Jamaica, Jan 23 2017 – A Jamaican teacher who was accused of child abuse in Turks and Caicos Islands has returned to Jamaica after she was deported.
But Gillian Mullings, the attorney for the accused, Suzette Codling, is criticising how immigrants are treated on the small Caribbean island.
The practice, Mullings revealed, is that if immigrants are poorly treated by employers and report it, they are deported to their homeland without the matter being heard by a tribunal.
She reasoned that this practice begets the building of a society which frowns upon ‘whistle-blowing’. The attorney then expressed concern that this practice becomes an “ideal situation” for people to “commit ingenious acts”.
Last week The Turks and Caicos Sun — one of the island’s newspapers — reported that Jamaican teacher Suzette Codling, who was working with a private preschool in Providenciales for one year, was verbally and physically abusing her students. The newspaper also reported that Codling was being sought by the Immigration Task Force for deportation, in light of what they deemed a refusal to leave the island.
The article, headlined “Jamaican teacher wanted by Turks and Caicos Islands Immigration Task Force”, outlined that Codling was working though her work permit had expired and was cancelled by the Immigration Department.
It also outlined that in a meeting with management of the preschool the teacher never denied the abuse allegations. The matter, according to the story, was reported to the Labour Department, which in turn met with Codling and the employer and “advised them about the terms and conditions under which she must be compensated”.
The article reports that, on the advice of the Labour Department, “Ms Codling was paid all monies due to her and given a return ticket back to Jamaica, in accordance with the law.” It further alleged that Codling changed the ticket to an open ticket and did not leave on the scheduled date.
It went further: “It is understood that over the past two weeks, Ms Codling has been actively seeking employment in the Turks and Caicos Islands, although she has no legal status. In fact, she is now reportedly working split shifts at two private schools. When the Immigration Task Force went to her last known place of abode, they discovered that Ms Codling had moved. She apparently also changed her phone number. Immigration officials also went to one of the private schools where she was said to be working, but they were told that she was not there.”
The Sun also reported that “the behaviour and tactics exhibited by Ms Codling have become commonplace among Jamaican teachers and other employees in other sectors, and that it is seriously undermining and destroying local business.”
In another article with a statement from the employer, The Sun reported that Codling was working to “sour relations between Jamaica and Turks and Caicos Islands”.
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