As job losses increase and employment continues to be hard to come by as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, a Tacarigua pilot is worried about missing out on a job opportunity abroad because he cannot get a Certificate of Character (CoC).
Every time Rishi Ramcharan goes to a police station for a CoC, he says officers give him an excuse about why they cannot even take his fingerprints to begin searching for a criminal record.
A CoC is issued by the Police Service and states whether or not a person has any previous convictions recorded.
Ramcharan, 40, said after earning his pilot license in 2012, he worked in neighbouring Venezuela. In 2017, he began working in the Maldives as a seaplane pilot.
However, he returned to Trinidad in 2019 after undergoing spinal surgery and by the time he recovered, COVID-19 had hit.
“I have been unemployed since 2020. However, a recent job has come up and they are willing to take me. It is outside of Trinidad again and I need to get a Certificate of Character done,” he said.
“I was trying for the last month to get it done, I have tried walking into the Arouca Police Station, and I have not been able to get it done. I also went online, booked an appointment with Tunapuna. Also, I was told on Saturday that if I go to St Joseph, I will be able to get it. I went down to St Joseph this morning and unfortunately, St Joseph told me that they are not doing it.”
Ramcharan said yesterday he even called the Tunapuna Police Station but an officer told him that despite booking an appointment, they are still not processing certificates. He called the St James Police Station and booked an appointment for Friday. Although he can submit his fingerprints there, an officer informed him that their system is also not functional.
“All the stations are saying that the system has been down for the last month and one week approximately,” Ramcharan said, adding this was why he had come to the media.
“I am appealing to anyone in charge; this needs to be rectified. A lot of people need to get Certificates of Character for jobs. It is not only people based in Trinidad but especially for offshore workers and people who need to go outside of Trinidad and work. None of the embassies or any jobs will want to waive a CoC from your home country, so it is very difficult for me at this point.” Ramcharan said last week he was able to get his police report from the Maldives by simply uploading the necessary documents.
“They sent a PDF, no fingerprints required, because they work off your work permit.”
Guardian Media contacted the Police Service’s Corporate Communications Unit about the matter and is awaiting a response.