Jan 07, 2021 News
Bogus oil and gas training…
Kaieteur News – The General Secretary of the Guyana Seafarers and General Workers Union (GS&GWU) was yesterday slapped with a total of 17 charges at the New Amsterdam Magistrate’s Court.
Simone Fortune, who gave her address as East Canje, Berbice, appeared before Magistrate Renita Singh to answer to the charges of obtaining by false pretence.
It is alleged that the accused, between Friday 17th January, 2020 and Monday 20th January, 2020, at Pitt Street, New Amsterdam with intent to defraud, obtained the sum of $160,000 from 17 persons by falsely pretending she was in a position to conduct training and issue seafarer certificates.
Fortune pleaded not guilty to the charges and she was subsequently granted bail in the sum of $680,000. The magistrate also ordered that her passport be lodged and that she report to a police station every Friday. Fortune was represented by Attorney-at-law Ryan Crawford and the case was adjourned until January 26, 2021.
Several persons invested their monies into participating in two courses that were advertised on a local television station in Berbice. The courses advertised were, Standards of Training Certification and Watchkeeping (STCW) and Lifting and Banksman courses, with a requirement of $260,000 to complete both courses. One course was $160,000 while the other was $100,000 and upon completion they were told by Fortune that certificates would be given for both courses and they would be guaranteed jobs in the oil and gas sector. The persons were all trained in five batches. However, after the training was completed, no certificates were issued and they were given the royal run around to obtain them.
On the sign board located on a building in Pitt Street where some of the training took place, it listed Fortune as the General Secretary of the GS&GWU. Based on the information provided by persons who did the courses, Fortune led the training under the Inland and Offshore Recruiting and Clearing Agency (IORCA) and in January advertised training for the courses.
Five batches were trained and of the first two batches, a few received certificates, but those turned out to be fake certificates. The others never received any. After the persons realized that they might have been duped, they decided to file a report at the Central Police Station and a probe was launched.
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