Bernard Cardoso with his wife Liberate and sons Milvon and Myron. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: In a cruel twist of fate, an Indian died on August 1, the very day he was to planning to apply for amnesty and go back home to his kids after three years of being illegal. As his body awaits clearance for repatriation, his widow Liberate Cardoso, a telephone receptionist in a five-star hotel in Dubai is inconsolable and is left with a debt of Dh100,000 and two young sons.

Bernard Cardoso (40), a cook with a popular food chain was rendered jobless when his company closed down in 2015. The couple in happier times were staying together with their sons Myron (9) an Milvon (8). However, it became difficult for the young mother to make both ends meet on her single salary and she had to take loans from banks. “I have always been so frugal and never spent a penny on myself. I took those loans to pay off my boys’ fees but then the interest kept mounting. I was hoping Bernard would get a job. However, we just could not afford a home and the upkeep of children with their school expenses, so I sent back my boys to Goa to my mother. Bernard returned with them to Goa and later came back to Dubai on a visit visa in the hope of getting job.”

By then Liberate had moved to a shared staff accommodation while Bernard shared a bed space in Satwa. However, when he got no employment he decided to do odd jobs and remain in the UAE to be with his wife. “I was hopeful he would get job and correct his status. But after an year when the fines had mounted, Bernard was too scared to go to the police. We did not have the money to clear fines and he was very fearful of being jailed. The years kept mounting and I kept pleading to him to turn himself in and that is how when amnesty was announced we were so happy that he would finally get a chance to be able to do so. He was very keen to meet his sons and was looking forward to taking the amnesty,” said Liberate.

However, a fortnight before the amnesty, Cardoso developed breathlessness. He was scared of being found out so refused to see a doctor, hoping the condition would resolve. On August 1, his neighbours in Satwa called his wife telling her that Bernard was taken to the Irani Hospital as he had suffered a cardiac episode. By the time Liberate reached the hospital, Bernard had passed away.

Bernard’s body is to be repatriated to India but the desperate Liberate has been running from pillar to post to get the post mortem and other formalities done. “Bernard’s passport expired in July this year and now I am seeking help to get some travel documents for him. I have no idea how long the post mortem and other formalities will take. I have no idea how I am going to live my life without my husband and with the responsibility of looking after my sons. My brother who used to support me has cancer and my mother who is looking after my children suffers from painful stomach ulcers. I have no one but a few friends to support me,” she said tearfully.