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Friday 20 October 2017
Local

Former TT Consulate employee in NY facing eviction, cries for help

Susan Butcher David

A former employee of the Trinidad and Tobago (TT) Consulate in New York (NY) is facing eviction from her home in the United States because she owes more than a year's rent, having not been able to find employment since her controversial dismissal five years ago.

"I have had to live off of my savings and I now owe my landlord rent for all of 2016 to present, which I am not able to pay. I suffer with severe depression, which has taken a toll on my physical body, sending me in and out of the hospital all the time. I have been given a deadline by my landlord of September 30 to pay up or I will be homeless."

"I am making a desperate plea to the government of the Republic Trinidad and Tobago," Butcher David said, "to take a genuine look at this situation, which took place at the Consulate in July 2012, and help those of us who were treated unfairly by the previous government."

On July 5, 2012, Butcher David and seven other TT Consulate employees were terminated following their reported failure of an exam which then Consul General, Rudrawatee Nan Ramgoolam, had said was necessary in order to re-apply for their jobs.

Butcher David "started out in 2000 as a permanent employee" of the TT Consulate, then about two years later, she and other clerical staff was put on two-year contracts.

Fast forward about ten years, to January 2012 when Butcher David and the others "were given six-month contracts with no sick leave and one week’s leave at the end of the contract."

Speaking with Newsday back in June 2013, she recalled that "next came the news from...Ramgoolam that we had to re-apply for our jobs, including sitting an exam we were never given proper information on. They claimed we failed it and so had to be terminated. How can you be expected to pass an exam you were never prepared for?"

At the time of her dismissal, Butcher David had worked at the TT Consulate for 12 years while others among the eight had been there for a quarter of a century.

Having been escorted out of the building in Manhattan "like criminals", she said, the eight were left without an immediate source of income and no health insurance.

What's worse, Butcher David told Newsday, is that having turned 66 in March of this year, she is now "passed the age for employment in the TT Government."

"However, I served my country for 12 years. I am also a US citizen. We did not have the option to contribute to National Insurance in TT nor did the (then) government pay unemployment insurance here in the US. Hence US citizens and Green Card holders cannot put in a claim for time away from work," Butcher David lamented.

Having exhausted the financial help that was available from her and her husband's families and having reached the end of her landlord's patience; Butcher David and her husband rent the second floor of a house in South Richmond Hill, Queens, NY, the 66-year-old decided it was time to issue an appeal to the TT Government.

Butcher David said that knowing government assistance may not come in time, if at all, she is now asking the public to help her; in whatever small way they can, avoid eviction.

Butcher David owes US $21,500 for 20 months' rent; inclusive of August 2017. If you would like to help her, you can contact Butcher David via email at susan_butcherdavid@hotmail.com or on her mobile phone at 1-347-731-0644.

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