Single mother hurt in Trinidad crash - Injured on the first day of job
With just a high-school education to her name and a young child to feed, single mother Tonle Cole left Jamaica for Trinidad and Tobago to work in order to be able to fund her son's schooling.
But a motor vehicle accident has caused things to go south for the 25-year-old. Cole told THE STAR that she was travelling from work in the company's vehicle when the accident happened last January.
"It was my first day on this job when I met in the accident. I broke my leg, my collarbone, and my arm, and the doctor said that I have brain damage, also," Cole said.
Now a mother of two, Cole said that she is unable to work as a result of her injuries. She has spent the last 11 months at her home in New Longsville, Clarendon, with a damaged hip and a stiffed arm, which she said have rendered her helpless.
"I cannot carry any load. That's why my mom has to be around me to help me around the house now. I can't even walk my son to school," Cole said. "I try to get three jobs and it is because of my health why they don't employ me.
"I got a job to work in a supermarket but I can't stand on my leg, so the man says that it doesn't make sense."
Cole believes that she was unfairly treated by the Trinidad and Tobago authorities. She said that while she was in the hospital, she was informed by a Trinidadian that even though she was working there illegally, she would be entitled to compensation for her injuries. She said there were two Jamaicans in the vehicle that crashed.
"When we went to the boss who I was working for, he told us that we must leave the country and go home," Cole said. She said her colleague left Trinidad immediately, but she decided to stay and press the matter.
However, immigration officials were tipped off about Cole's illegal status in the twin-island republic. She was picked up, detained and then later sent back to Jamaica.
A representative from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade told THE STAR that the ministry has received numerous complaints from Jamaicans about being treated like second-class citizens after they have violated foreign countries' immigration laws.
"There is nothing we can do, because they have violated their immigration laws," the representative said.
Cole's ordeal has taught her one thing that she would like to share with other Jamaicans who may be thinking about working illegally in other countries.
"I do not think anyone should subject themselves to being a second-class citizen for no reason because these [scars and injuries] I will have to live with for the rest of my life, and I am not going to get anything for it," Cole said. "I need to do therapy on my leg so I can walk good again, and I still need surgery on my arm."
Cole is asking the public for assistance to fund her surgery.
Those who wish to assist can contact her at 892 9363.