Unemployed woman feels she no longer belongs in her own country

  • (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Unemployed Bermudian Kimalice Mae Williams has spoken of the hardship she has faced for the past two years.

    (Photo by Akil Simmons) Unemployed Bermudian Kimalice Mae Williams has spoken of the hardship she has faced for the past two years.

  • (Photo by Akil Simmons)
Unemployed Bermudian Kimalice Mae Williams has spoken of the hardship she has faced for the past two years.

    (Photo by Akil Simmons) Unemployed Bermudian Kimalice Mae Williams has spoken of the hardship she has faced for the past two years.

Canada company warns of internet job scam

The e-mail sent to Kimalice Mae Williams confirming employment which turned out to be false was sent from the address cnrlvacancies@gmail.com.
The sender claimed to be part of the Job Emancipation Program 2012 offering the applicant a chance to “contribute to the success of an international company” through employment with a “generous benefit package”.
A total of 31 job categories were listed with salaries ranging from electricians, engineers, waiters, accounts clerks and cleaners.
Ms Williams contacted Mike Chernichen, the manager of corporate security at Canadian Natural Resources Limited in Alberta, Canada. He informed her that she was one of many roped in by an international scam.
When contacted by The Royal Gazette, Mr Chernichen issued the following statement with an attachment listing 34 known e-mail addresses being used by the criminal behind these scams: “There are a large number of job scams that have been targeting individuals seeking work in Canada. Canadian Natural Resources Limited has attempted to counter this illegal activity by engaging members of law enforcement whenever possible to investigate and prosecute those responsible for these scams.
“In Canada the Federal Government and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police have aggressively and successfully cracked down on criminals operating job scams from within our borders. However most of the job scams affecting people like Ms Williams are operated from jurisdictions outside of Canada.
“While every effort is made to encourage the law enforcement community in these jurisdictions to address this criminal activity, our company cannot influence the activities of police outside our borders.
“As an additional measure we have placed the following warning on our website at http://www.cnrl.com/careers-disclaimer.html?redirect=http://careers.cnrl.com/Horizon.
“This warning includes a link to allow people who may question the authenticity of a job offer to contact my department directly.
“As I mentioned in our conversation, I receive two to three requests each day from individuals around the world. Almost all of these requests are from people who have been contacted by job scammers.
“Prior to placing this warning on our website, we were receiving calls and mail from four to six people per month who had signed phoney employment contracts and paid a fee to the scammers.
“Since this warning was placed on our site the number of people who have proceeded to the point of paying fees to the scammers has fallen to two to four per year.”

Just two years ago, holding down two jobs as an independent single mother was enough for Kimalice Mae Williams and her daughter to get by. That changed on February 11, 2010 when she, like many others, were told their jobs were being made redundant.

A former accounts clerk with the Bermuda Fire Service, Ms Williams spent years working in temporary posts in Government.

She was told her last assignment would become a full-time position. That was before sweeping budget cuts across the board.

While she is grateful for financial assistance she longs for the day when she can make it on her own. With bills piling up it's a struggle to keep basic things like her cell phone for potential employers to make contact.

Unable to afford the internet, she spends countless hours surfing the web each week at a friend’s home. When an advertisement offering jobs in Canada popped up on the screen Ms Williams thought it was the life line she was waiting for.

Claiming to be job recruiters for CNRL Oil Company Limited Canada, she was promised a host of perks and benefits. Applicants must register online for a contract promising airfare, free room and board with salary plus health insurance with dental coverage.

For an accounts clerk like Ms Williams the salary offered was $7,000 a month. Desperate for work she applied online and was overjoyed to hear that she landed a job.

But that joy was short lived when she discovered it was all part of a global scam believed to be run by scam artists based in Nigeria.

Fortunately the discovery was made before she parted with cash under false pretences. It turned out the organisation has duped countless people around the world.

Online applicants are asked to send funds to process their visas and job applications; once the cash is sent no further contact is made.

For Ms Williams it was another brutal blow in the struggle to land a job. “The stress of unemployment messes with you psychologically,” she said.

“I’m so depressed I don’t want to get out of bed or leave the house, but I have to deal with my daughter so I get up and face it.

“I’m stuck in a deep, dark depression and it's a struggle, some people don’t understand how it feels to be out of work with no income and no hopes of getting a job daily.

“And when you’re constantly depressed as a parent it affects your child. I have snapped at my eight-year-old daughter a few times even though I’m not really that type of parent,” she said.

“We were in a store once and she wanted me to get something and I yelled we just don’t have the money. Being flat broke has been a humbling experience for me.

“I always worked two or more jobs at a time, its been two years without work and its making me feel like I don’t even belong in my own country anymore. I feel like I’m in a bad dream, all I want is for somebody to wake me up out of it,” she said

“I’ve searched for everything from cashiers to administrative jobs, I’ve been on the hotel job fairs and others. I’ve had a few call backs but nothing ever pans out.

“Maybe people look at my size and say ‘oh she’s fat so she must be lazy”, they stereotype you. There’s a lot of discrimination against obesity in this country,” she said.

“If I had the money I would just go to school and retrain to do something totally different. I always wanted to do addiction counselling, when the job in Canada came up I saw it as a way out.

“It’s so depressing sometimes I feel like jumping off a cliff but I can’t do that. I feel displaced in my own country all the time. Years ago you could leave one job and get another job the same day but it’s not like that anymore.

“I’ve been to Labour and Training but what good is that when there aren’t any jobs available. I’m starting to think it has more to do with who you know, not what you’re qualified to do,” she added.

“I have even sat next to people all the way from Germany at local employment agencies who were looking for work when I could do the jobs they applied for.

“There’s no way Bermudians are being given a fair shot on an even playing field, I meet too many people just like me, Bermudians who are out of work.

“Construction workers who can’t find work who still have families to feed and we all have a problem with foreigners working while so many Bermudians are not. And then people wonder why so many Bermudians are leaving this island.

“I can’t help but wonder if that’s the plan, for all of us to leave Bermuda to make this a foreign island. Everybody keeps telling me to move to England, but why should I go there and live off the system when I’m already doing it here.”

Ms Williams warned others unemployed like her to be wary of applying for jobs online. “Chances are if it sounds too good to be true, it is,” she said.

“I got suspicious when they started asking for my passport number and photos, but it wasn’t until a friend of mind cautioned me to contact the actual company, that’s when I found out it was all a scam.”

For now she struggles to keep basic things like her cell phone turned on while looking for work. Ms Williams explained that it is difficult to apply for jobs without a contact number.

“I have an outstanding bill that’s $200 and I struggle to put at least $50 dollars on it every month. I’m so desperate and depressed that if someone offered me a hustle for $30 or $40 I would take it just to make a little bit of extra cash,” she said.

“All I hear from employers is they don’t have anything available,” she added.

Despite her predicament she vowed to continue to rely on God to pull her and her daughter through the hardship, and she strongly believes they will survive.

She also provided her e-mail address, kawilliams@digicel.blackberry.com for potential employers to make contact.

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Published Sep 20, 2012 at 9:05 am (Updated Sep 20, 2012 at 9:05 am)

Unemployed woman feels she no longer belongs in her own country

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