Indian club worker: I’m being kicked off the Island for doing what I was told to do’
An Indian expatriate waiter has cried foul, alleging he was deported from the Island for obeying his boss’s orders.
Caetano Fernandes was caught red-handed by undercover Immigration officials as he worked behind the bar at Riddell’s Bay Golf and Country Club last December 27.
The compliance officers were likely tipped-off by Bermudian staff members angry that he was working in violation of his permit, the 45-year-old said.
He said he told the Immigration officials that the club’s general manager Dennis Paul, “made me go behind the bar and prepare some drinks”.
Asked for comment, Mr Paul said: “The best I can say is I can’t say why he did it. I don’t know why he did that.”
Pressed for detail, he added: “We don’t have any comment and don’t want to get into any media circus.”
The Department of Immigration also declined to comment on Mr Fernandes’ case.
Mr Fernandes first began work in Bermuda in 2006. He was deported on April 1.
He had been performing tasks behind the club’s bar for months before he was caught, he said.
Asked why he had engaged in work which he knew to be in contravention of his permit, Mr Fernandes said he raised the issue with Mr Paul, who assured him the extra work did not qualify as bartending.
His former boss had made him do “anything and everything” at the club over the three years they had worked together, Mr Fernandes stated.
“In normal circumstances, according to law, they write on your papers what you can and can’t do. It said on my work permit, no bartending.
“He said that whatever I am doing is by the law and [I didn’t] have to worry. I took his word.”
He continued: “One week before [December 27], the Immigration people had come to the club to look for me because they obviously had received complaints from staff.
“I spoke to Mr Paul. I said, ‘Look, Immigration people are here to look out for me. What is happening? Am I safe to do what I am doing?’ And he said, ‘I have got your back, don’t worry. Why are you getting stressed out? You are not bartending. We are not paying you as a bartender’.”
Mr Fernandes received a letter from the Department of Immigration on January 31, advising him that their investigation had concluded.
The letter said the department found Mr Fernandes broke the conditions of his permit to work as a food and beverage server “by performing the duties of a bartender without the required permission of the Minister”.
Mr Fernandes was given 14 days to settle his affairs and leave the Island, or plead his case in writing.
Lawyer Craig Attridge was subsequently contracted by Riddell’s Bay on behalf of Mr Fernandes.
He wrote to Immigration on February 10: “For the avoidance of doubt, Mr Fernandes denies that he has ever engaged in gainful employment as a bartender.
In particular, he has never, during all his time at the RBG&CC, including December 27, 2011, been scheduled to work, nor has he worked, as a bartender.”
The letter added that a former manager, a Bermudian whose probation was not extended to a full-time position, had ordered Mr Fernandes behind the bar to serve drinks on the day he was caught by Immigration.
A subsequent application for a new work permit for Mr Fernandes by Riddell’s Bay was denied. The guest worker was given until April 15 to leave the Island.
“It’s not a nice way for it all to end,” he told
The Royal Gazette shortly before his departure.
“I am not disappointed with the Island, but there are some people here who make it very difficult to live here.
“It does not matter where people come from, they are still human. Imagine being in their position.”