One man purporting to be an employment agent for a major hotel chain here is now in police custody. This, following an investigation about claims of a possible chain linked to a group of racketeers acting as employment agents here.
With Saint Lucia facing a high level of unemployment, many job seekers have taken to unconventional methods of finding jobs beyond the usual applications sent to would be employers or companies. The Internet has fast become an open market for job seekers as well as employment agencies and as of late persons have been posting their qualifications as opposed to waiting for the traditional job vacancies. But amidst all of this and in light of a recent scam here by an individual or individuals pretending to be acting on behalf of Sandals, job seekers are being asked to tread with caution.
On Sunday, October 14 one individual was reportedly shot by police in an attempt to apprehend him at a dwelling place in Chassin, Babonneau. The said individual whose name cannot be publicized due to the sexual nature of his offences was said to have been luring unsuspecting women to various locations where he would perform lewd sexual acts on them. The individual (or individuals) have over the past few months been calling persons in for job interviews claiming to be associated with Sandals.
The parents of a young woman from Choiseul who went missing in September alerted the media that there was the possibility of such a ring operating here and that their daughter may have been lured into it. The young woman was later found safe by police and returned to her family, but sources say lawmen have since been following leads as to whether there was in fact such a ring or just one individual involved in this scheme. Police have also not stated whether the individual in custody is connected to the woman who went missing.
Public relations manager for Sandals Resort International Rhonda Giraudy has since released a statement on the matter stating the company had been made aware of certain individuals acting as employment agents on Sandals’ behalf.
“We would like to categorically state that nothing could be further from the truth,” Giraudy says. Sandals’ recruitment process she went on to say was done solely in house and applications were dealt with by their very own human resource manager.
“Interviews are conducted at all times at one of Sandals’ three resorts here,” she added.
Sandals went on to warn the public against accepting invitations to interviews from persons pretending to be Sandals’ agents and to be careful of individuals pretending to be recruitment agents of Sandals. The company went on to denounce what it describes as unsavoury acts and is hoping that perpetrators will be brought to justice.
Looking at the wider picture Gemma Moses of Rise Saint Lucia Inc. told the STAR Tuesday that persons seeking employment must be aware that “there is a lot of human trafficking going on these days” and that the Caribbean and Saint Lucia is not immune to this scourge.
“It is for this reason and the fact that persons are desperate for work and will do anything to gain employment that we are calling on people to be more aware and more vigilant. In these days of Internet my first advice would be to Google the name of a company or individual with whom you are seeking employment. Secondly, we are living in a society where everything is a secret and while I understand that persons may not want to share a potential employer, for fear of someone going after that same job, you should find someone to confide in about your possible job interview as to who or where it is taking place,” she adds.
Moses went on to advise that obtaining at least two referees should help in not just vouching for the job seeker, but also for the company and individual who has put out the vacancy.
“If the interview is in a remote place or private home that should also immediately send up a red flag as well,” she warned.
Experts and the police have also warned persons in recent times about dispensing money to persons in the hope of gaining employment overseas. In these trying economic times, as much as job seekers are looking to become more aggressive, a growing number of unscrupulous individuals are also becoming just as aggressive and creative in an effort to take advantage of the already disadvantaged unemployed.