UPDATE: J'can teacher in Turks & Caicos denies child abuse allegations

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

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KINGSTON, Jamaica — The Jamaican teacher allegedly being sought for deportation from the Turks and Caicos Islands, has refuted claims of child abuse made by her employer as unsubstantiated and untrue.
The Turks and Caicos Sun reported that the teacher, Suzette Codling, was working with a private pre-school in Providenciales for one year, but her work permit was not renewed following serious complaints that she allegedly verbally and physically abused young children at the institution.

Read: J'can teacher being sought for deportation from Turks and Caicos

However, the teacher denies the accusations and argues that she was underpaid by her employer.
According to a statement from attorneys Naylor & Mullings, the teacher says she was being paid far below government standard and native Turks and Caicos teachers and was refused pay which was due to her for the months of November and December 2016.
Codling alleges that her employer took her passport and repeatedly told her that she had no rights as an immigrant within the country.
Her attorney says she subsequently made a report to the Labour Tribunal in Turks and Caicos, which upon hearing her complaint extended to her, permission to stay within the country up to April 30, in order to resolve her employment dispute.
Codling explains that her employer only made a report to the Labour Department after she took her complaint to the Labour Tribunal.
She also says that managers of the pre-school proceeded to call the Immigration Department and informed them that she had changed her address and phone number and was working under illegal circumstances within the country, an accusation that the she says is untrue.
Further claims are that the employer made "unsubstantiated complaints of child abuse against her," allegations which the immigration department acted upon when she was detained with an aim to deport her to Jamaica immediately, the attorneys say.
This is despite the letter from the Labour Tribunal extending Codlings stay in the jurisdiction, the statement adds.
Codling has been locked up and detained in a "cold jail cell with rats and no working bathrooms" the attorney says, adding that parents at the pre-school she was employed immediately rallied around her and mounted protests.
She has since been released and is awaiting a one-way ticket back to Jamaica. Codling, according to the attorney, has also received over US$2000 from the pre-school.
The attorney says this is not the first time Jamaican teachers have been induced to travel to a CARICOM state such as the Turks and Caicos in order to work as qualified professionals "only to find themselves subjected to unfair treatment and ultimately being deported.
 "This issue is not unique to Ms Codling as complaints of refusal to pay immigrant professions have heralded their deportation from the Turks and Caicos."
The firm is calling on the Jamaican Consulate and other legal and relevant authorities to intervene.
Codling’s attorney is expected to meet with authorities in the Turks and Caicos tomorrow.


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