Visiting academic jailed over room dispute

| 18/05/2016 | 98 Comments
Cayman News Service

Dr Fuambai Ahmadu

(CNS): The RCIPS has defended a decision to put a leading international academic, who was visiting Cayman with her son for the recent invitational football tournament, in jail following an accommodation dispute. Dr Fuambai Ahmadu, a former consultant with UNICEF and a world expert on female genital mutilation, was locked-up after she was arrested at the airport following a dispute at the bed and breakfast in West Bay where she stayed. Ahamadu said the landlord broke the contract when he booted her out because she would not pay the full bill in cash at the start of her stay.  

The police justified their action, maintaining that they had investigated the complaint “and sufficient grounds were found for an arrest”. An RCIPS spokesperson told CNS that this was supported by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP), which authorised the charge.

When the police arrested her, Ahmadu initially refused to pay the outstanding bill because she said the contract had been broken. But after a night in the new Fairbanks lockup she agreed to pay, not because she believed she owed the money but because she wanted to get out of jail.

While Ahmadu said she could not believe she had ended up faced with a criminal charge in what was clearly a civil dispute, the charge was nevertheless set in motion and the case went before the court Tuesday. However, since she had already paid the bill by then, the magistrate dismissed the charges.

The police said, “This case was investigated and addressed according to investigative procedure, as are all complaints, no matter who the complainant is or the profile of the person who is being investigated.”

They did not say if they had investigated the complaint made by Ahmadu regarding the demands of the landlord for cash payment before her stay was complete or whether the accommodation was properly licensed, as the rooms were booked via Airbnb. (See Tourism stands firm on B&B restrictions)

Speaking to Cayman 27, Dr Ahmadu said she could not fathom what had happened to her and described the situation as “over the top”. She added, “They terminated the contract. As far as I was concerned I was contracted to stay from Monday 9 May to Friday.”

But when she arrived at the airport on Saturday to board a plane back to the US, she was arrested and taken to the custody suites for the night.

“It’s been so surreal for me,” Ahmadu stated.

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Comments (98)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    You are barking up the wrong tree!

    Looking at some of the comments from this platform, this issue sounds more like a short lived social pastime sport more than anything else and to top it , the Cayman Compass writes an editorial about it!?

    We have so many serious issues here in Cayman that really could benefit from your media exposure and general media attention and expertise than this sensationalism.

    Whatever the situation it sounds as if there must have been enough issue for our police to arrest this person. Period.

    Do what you want but I think it is wrong to bring Cayman and the Cayman community down so low.

    Don’t we have bigger fish to fry??

  2. Anonymous says:

    Yet RCIPS refused to intervene a few years ago when the owner of a well-known guest house near Spotts illegally charged $800 to a visitor’s debit card. The police said that was a civil matter but the good news is their bank was able to cancel the transaction. If you want to kill tourism here this is not a bad start.

  3. Anonymous says:

    So much said by so many yet the facts of the case have not been revealed completely. It is interesting to see how the visitor’s character and reputation are being maligned by people who have no clue who she is and what her professional and academic credentials are, or even what really transpired.
    Who is the B&B owner and what is his/her character and reputation like? Which B&B was involved and what are the legal status of that entity?

    What I am certain about is someone lied or someone was wrong, or both. Does the law governing long term rental differ from short term rental as it relates to disputes and evictions?
    There might be both civil and criminal matters to sort out but I don’t believe the DPP would prosecute without a cause.

    Get ALL the facts before passing judgement and control your urge to hate outsiders.

    ps. Comparing Cayman to the USA may not be too good for Cayman. Buffoonery and stupidity are not endearing qualities to adopt.

  4. Anonymous says:

    What does it mean exactly to be a female genital mutilation expert? And what about male genital mutilation, there’s an expert for that too I would imagine.

  5. Anonymous says:

    This woman may be in the wrong but my oh my this B&B guy must have some connections. I could not get the police to be interested in a hit and run yet they turn up at the airport to stop someone leaving without having paid their bill.

    • Anonymous says:

      So the owner asked for payment upfront? What is wrong with that? yes a credit card should have been acceptable, but that is an arrangement that should have been sorted out before she even arrived in Cayman. She may have a college degree but no common sense. She was told to pay the three days, but refused…well then lock up you go!!!

      • Anonymous says:

        She’s right. This is a civil matter not criminal.

      • cathleen wright says:

        This is so true look @ the child molester he left who stop him and this is the same reason we have five lifes missing now they act when they want to something has to be done who knows who’s family member will pay next.

    • Anonymous says:

      I agree the B&B guys must have connections. I could not get the Police to assist when my Canadian tenants skipped out on 2 months rent either – they said it was a civil affair. Not sure why this case is different.

      • Anonymous says:

        HOw on earth did B & B get the police to arrest her at the airport? Connections for sure!!! Police wouldn’t even come to my house for documented death threats, pertaining to reporting drug and gang activity. Very conveniently the people knew a complaint went in by me!!!

        • Anonymous says:

          This is just a replay of all the past incidents where well connected employers have used RCIPS to settle employment disputes. In these the employee quits and tells his boss to shove the job then when they try to fly out the employer files a complaint that he’s missing goods or cash so they get arrested. I’ve lost track of how many stunts like that have been pulled over the years but none of them got this much publicity.

          • Anonymous says:

            2:01 And the moral is? Don’t p*** off well connected Caymanians. But then we all knew that already, particularly us ex-pats. No corruption in these islands? BS!!!!

  6. Caymanian realistic says:

    CNS can you please let us know the name of the renter and do the have a T&B license with all relevant paperwork to advertise on AIRB&B?
    I have heard they don’t have a licence to trade on AIRB&B. Please confirm

    Also I can beleive in court in front of a judge the prosecutor would say “if you pay, I won’t prosecute” and the the defendant hadst cash over in court. I can recall the name of the offence but why is the prostitution not been prosecuted!!! Pure corruption in Cayman!!!

  7. Anonymous says:

    A classic example of an individual whose “fame” appears to have caused her to lose touch with reality. If she’s paid for the nights she’d stayed I doubt there would have been a problem. (And she did stay for at least some of her stay, didn’t she?) If she’d accepted she owed money and paid up at the airport there wouldn’t have been a problem. (The line about “a civil matter” is too hilarious for words.) My dear, hope you learned something from being locked up – and your son as well. Don’t try and get away with not paying for stuff – it’s illegal in Cayman and mostly anywhere in the world. I’d like to see you try this stunt in the U.S.. (I doubt the police would have cut you any slack at the airport as you attempted to leave the country, for crying out loud!)

    • B.M. says:

      She is only known in a very, very small community based on her field of endeavor. Of course, here we would call that fame. After all don’t we have our very own bootleg Oprah?

      Sorry people but this stinks to high heaven for the police who cannot respond to a call on an attempted home invasion but run to the airport to collect a debt or debtor for a connected friend.

      Personally I may reach out to the doctor to find out who she dealt with to be sure none of my people get burned by this business owner.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Defending child genital mutilation to get talk show debate invites is “over the top” and morally bankrupt.

  9. Anonymous says:

    I heard the listing read, “Three nights in West Bay gets you free room and board at HMP Fairbanks.”

  10. Anonymous says:

    Having some knowledge of the ins and outs of AirBnb, I am left wondering if this was not a case of both parties (guest and host) trying to “work something out” – i.e. cash under the table to avoid Airbnb fees (which are minuscule btw) – and ending up with everything falling apart?

    If so then they both got what they deserved.

    Airbnb has a pretty robust system when it comes to disputes between users. Furthermore, monies are automatically transferred into the host’s account after the first night of the guest’s stay so I am confused as to why this turned into such a circus at the end of her stay.

    Whatever the case I believe the act of arresting her was a bit over the top or premature.

    I say that because the Cayman Islands is now forevermore linked to a very public and very negative “user review” whenever a potential visitor Googles “Cayman airbnb”.

    Let us bear in mind that a platform like Airbnb is currently the best for everyday Caymanians to obtain a slice of our tourism pie. It may not be the best idea to sully the vibes surrounding this option in the Cayman Islands.

    – Whodatis

    • Anonymous says:

      Re: “If so then they both got what they deserved.”

      (Scratch that. The arrest was an unfortunate result of this dispute and in the end everyone ended up looking bad – with “Cayman” being worst of all.)

      I only hope the Dept of Tourism is all over this because I have a feeling this isn’t the end of the matter.

      – Who

      • Anonymous says:

        Hope your people (anyone not British) is not enjoying destroying Cayman too much, Who, when Cayman suffers, it affects us all.

    • Anonymous says:

      I’m going to go out on a limb here, but if AirBnb tried to collect payment after check-in and they got a ‘card declined’ or something similiar, then messaged the owner, he goes round to ask for cash and it’s not forthcoming….about the only scenario that makes any sense to me. Saying that, I’m not familiar enough with the process to know what recourse anyone has to being able to recover the money owed if the renter has given over a maxxed out credit card (big assumption here). Whether AirBnb would cover it, or if you are left hanging? Mind you for a couple of hundred dollars I think I would have chalked it up to experience.

      • Anonymous says:

        Normally Airbnb withdraws and holds funds at the time of booking confirmation and releases to host (minus fees) after the guest has checked in – therefore avoiding the maxxed out card scenario you have described.

        However, people come up with all sorts of outlandish schemes in order to beat the system – on both sides.

        Furthermore, we should not overlook the possibility of the accommodation being subpar to what was described or presented online. There are a few local listings that have no business being on the market in my humble opinion.

        Word to the wise; when using Airbnb, stick to the listings with a long presence and legitimate reviews. If it seems or feels a bit iffy – it is!

        – Who

  11. Latoya says:

    So the police should have let her leave and then investigate? Is that what I am hearing? When would the debt have been paid then?

    • Anonymous says:

      Since when do you report an unpaid bill to the police, let alone see such substantial police resources wasted on this? Is this why the police do so dismally with their budget and serious crimes, because they’re too busy chasing disgruntled tourists who have gotten into a dispute over a bill?

      In any other country you would go see a solicitor, make a claim in a civil small claims court, or just write it off as a bad experience.

  12. Anonymous says:

    NO one is above the law!

  13. Anonymous says:

    Typical social justice crusader who thinks she does so much good for the world that she is above its laws.

    • Anonymous says:

      We don’t like social justice. Not here. We smarter dan dat.

    • Anonymous says:

      She is a DEFENDER of the African practice of female genital mutilation, so much for social justice crusader, she is a fraud cloaked in the respectability of questionable academic credentials.

  14. Anon says:

    Cayman Kind! Warning to all visitors. If you dispute anything while visiting here expect to be arrested. Nice!

    • Anonymous says:

      “If you dispute anything”? Are you mad? Try walking out of a hotel or a restaurant anywhere in the world (and then, to boot, try and leave the country) because you are of the opinion that “a contract has been broken” and see what happens to you. Get real, friend. Clearly this lady is living in cuckooland!!

      • Anonymous says:

        So you would pay your bill in full if, for example, you paid for a sea view luxury apartment and ended up sharing a broom cupboard with complete strangers and a view (and scent) of Mount Trashmore?

        Everyone jumping on one hate wagon or another here, nobody knows the facts and God knows why the police didn’t just hand the complainant a list of lawyers and send them away, let the lady go home.

        Also, she doesn’t promote genital mutilation she promotes a woman’s freedom and right to full discussion and right to choose fgm or refuse FGM.

        Anyway, who are we to judge another, let alone another culture (re: fgm)?

      • Anonymous says:

        I think you are. This is not a criminal matter.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, if you commit a crime.

  15. Jotnar says:

    Well, I suppose if the police had evidence that she had previously agreed to pay in advance, had then used the accommodation , and had set about leaving the island without paying there is an argument that she had knowingly obtained services by deception – that there was never an intention to pay – which would meet a criminal rather than civil standard. However, what I fail to understand is that the police, on arresting her at the airport, apparently (according to her statement to the Compass) indicated if she then paid she would be allowed to go, and if she didn’t, would be arrested and prosecuted.

    If that’s true, then it would seem that the police have learned nothing from the XXX case, where the PC in question did exactly that – offered to avoid a prosecution if payment (or repayment in that case) was made, and was found by the Court to be himself guilty of an offence of “compounding”. To quote the magistrate at the time:

    “The Penal Code sets out this offence, which includes the following elements: Whoever asks or attempts to obtain any benefit of any kind for himself or any other person upon any agreement or understanding that he will abstain from, discontinue or delay a prosecution, or will withhold any evidence, is guilty of an offence”

    If its true she was given the option to pay and be released without charge, someone at RCIPS or DPP needs to explain to those involved what the Cayman law is. It might be better all round if the police, no matter how well intentioned, steered clear of trying to resolve what could be viewed as a civil dispute by parlaying criminal charges to force a civil settlement.

  16. Anonymous says:

    I agree with Dr. Ahmadu if you do not receive the service for which you have contracted you should not have to pay. Lets start with the RCIPS then work our way through the politicians.

    • Anonymous says:

      A totally crackpot post in this context. Tell you what, try staying in an hotel in the U.S. and refusing to pay because you are unhappy after a few nights and feel the contract has been broken, than call a taxi and head to the airport. Good luck!

      • Anonymous says:

        This isn’t the United States.

      • Anonymous says:

        We’re not in the US though are we? This is a British Territory, and we do things a bit differently because of that, like driving on the other side of the road, having police without guns, that kind of stuff. Oh, and in the UK the police would do no more than inform the AirBnB guy it’s a civil issue and to see a local solicitor.

        I’m just saying. To the Brits the only crackpot would be the police person who the decision to follow through, wasting all that police time and public money over an unpaid invoice. And the whole pay the bill and we’ll take it no further sounds to me more like someone pulling a favour from the police, somebody with connections I guess to get such a swift response, but hey, just guessing.

        Fact is this whole dispute is likely over a few hundred dollars, and I’d love to know if the AirBnB operation was even legal in the first place. I wonder how many thousands of dollars this cost the public purse and suspect it’s completely disproportionate to the money owed. Would rather see this spent on serious crime. Shoulda just let her go home.

    • Anonymous says:

      No. All contracts should have a termination clause and parties are obligated until the point of termination. So she should have paid for services up to the point when she left.
      But I agree the Police should not have offered to let her go if she paid based on the previous court precedent.

  17. Anonymous says:

    Haha So the guy with the friend with the Popo is going to get in trouble now for using airbnb because it was decided that this was illegal in Cayman. LOL
    And yes, that is why you use airbnb so that they can collect your money up front and avoid this!

  18. Jay W Byrd says:

    This AirBNB is prohibited under Which law the tourism department is full of hot air a number of complaints have been reported about this illegal activity and they have done absolutely nothing about it but make excuses!! They need to be fired!

  19. ANON says:

    There are no cash transactions between guest and landlord when you book with Airbnb. Everything is managed by the website who would have held her card on file. Even if she had been “booted out” aggrieved parties would have had to dispute via Airbnb for recompense.

  20. Anonymous says:

    what is female genital mutilation? thats sounds pretty dark & disgusting

    • Anonymous says:

      “leading International academic ” “former consultant ” ” World expert ” then look at her “expertise”. Glad somebody took her to task.

    • Anonymous says:

      Female circumcision. Substantially removing the pleasure of sex. Something that was done to men as recommended medical practice for most of the 20th century.

    • Think of all possibilities says:

      It is. And it happens every day in this world thanks to religion.

    • Anonymous says:

      If you look her up, you find out that she actually defends the practice, which is radically out of line with what most people in the human rights field think about it. She says it is empowering for women in Africa to choose to be circumcised – but clearly the problem has always been that female circumcision (which is gruesome and I won’t describe it here, but just put it in Google for a definition) happens in Africa long before girls get to choose anything. It’s another case of an academic getting attention and talk show invites not for their research, but because they take a controversial position, especially on a topic like this one.

      With all those fancy UNICEF contracts and titles you’d think she could afford to pay her hotel bill. Everyone knows that on AirBnB you pay online and all up front beforehand, so clearly this was not booked through AirBnB, and her story doesn’t add up. Of course she’s shocked she was arrested, she did what she did precisely because she thought she wouldn’t be. I love it, actually.

      • Anonymous says:

        Empowering victims I could relate to, but actually holding the position of pro-mutilation is sick. How absolutely appalling that UNICEF misallocated donation dollars to hire such a monster – even on a consultant basis. Seriously rethinking Halloween boxes this year (and a lifetime of support).

    • Anonymous says:

      It is a horrific and babaric practice justified in some parts of the world as being of cultural significantce. Cayman equivalents would be eating turtle and wife beating.

      • Neal says:

        At 1:58am; oh hush now dear.

        Turtle meat is very healthy and tastes delicious.

        Whilst I agree with the first part of your comment of the practice being barbaric; I most certainly will not agree with the latter part of your comment, in fact it was completely unnecessary for you to add that racist piece of information.

        Domestic abuse occurs everywhere in the entire world; why you think it’s only prone to Cayman is beyond me. Then again, you did post your comment at 2 in the morning on a week day with grammatical errors, therefore you were probably “tipsy”; on a Thursday night no less.

        Stop judging native Caymanians; it’s rude, tasteless and shows your lack of respect for people in their own country.

        Do you find the running of the bulls in Spain to be barbaric?

        Do you find that Kazakhstanis are barbaric for eating horse meat?

        Do you find the French barbaric for eating frogs legs and snails?

        I could go on; hopefully you get the point.

  21. Anonymous says:

    So this highly travelled individual who has according to her webpage a PH’d degree, seen on numerous talk shows, has the nerve to dispute such a small charge of due payment and rather goes to Jail instead of settling it ? Kudos on the person who persuaded the case which I’m sure wasn’t easy and not just letting it pass. Never saw such a swift and effectiv movement of police. Congratulations!

    • Anonymous says:

      Such an important and educated person who graced our a Island with her presence should surely have been staying at a proper hotel , accommodation more in keeping with her station in life.

    • Anon says:

      Obviously you don’t have a PHD, I would be surprised if you even have a GED.

      This woman was harassed, to say the least; shame on all involved.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, Kudos for the reputational damage to Cayman tourism…she wont be coming back and neither will anyone she knows…great job Cayman. How to f**k yourself with no assistance at all…

    • Anonymous says:

      What planet are you (and the 68 so far who have thumbed you up) on? “Such a small charge” just cost Cayman a small fortune in public resources. Ridiculous.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Was it a legal guest house?

  23. Anonymous says:

    So she didn’t pay anything at all or she didn’t pay for the days she didn’t stay because she was kicked out?

    • Anonymous says:

      She didn’t pay for anything. She only eventually paid in court for the days she actually stayed there, not what was initially agreed. She wasn’t kicked out, but up and left. The old restaurant dine-and-dash. But of course journalists don’t talk to the guest house owner, even though the name of the place was said in court, they just interview the elite “academic” damsel in distress outside the courthouse.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Another shameful fiasco. Just like the “wedding dress” case.
    Breach of contract and Laws governing evictions came into the light here.
    This case screams Despotism, Lawless society and application of the law at one’s discretion.
    …. they had investigated the complaint… How fast they can do it if they want to or if they have been told to.
    Who is behind this?

    • Leeward says:

      THANK YOU! Well said.

    • Richard Wadd says:

      It’s all about who you know … or as we like to say “who you family to?”

    • Anonymous says:

      What was wrong with the wedding dress case. As a Caymanian I had to pay import duty on my wedding dress. Why should other residents be exempt?

      • Anonymous says:

        As a resident (caymanian or not) you pay duty on goods you bring in whose value exceeds the $ allowance. As a visitor, who intends to leave with all their goods after their vacation, should not be subject to duty. Doesn’t matter if it’s a wedding dress, scuba gear, the grooms wedding attire or the guests hat. The ‘wedding dress case’ was a tourist visiting for a destination wedding and should not have been subject to duty or harassment by our Caymankind (customs) officers at the airport.
        Do you see the difference? Of course you should pay duty on your wedding dress and anything else you bought overseas that is subject to tax as you live here and don’t pay income tax to support our governments expenditures.

        • Anonymous says:

          She was an expat resident. She was just not Caymanian.

        • Anonymous says:

          I am afraid you are mistaken. The bride was resident.

          • Anonymous says:

            The man was visiting and bringing the wedding dress for his Fiancee-who was a resident, Duty was due but he didn’t pay, it was found in a routine search and the suddenly he declares it. Gimme a break. She worked for a financial institution and had it custom made for her. He didn’t have a receipt and was told to leave a deposit but because he was caught and questioned he made this a bigger deal. He was on roll over and she was leaving Island months later but they didnt care of the bad publicity for Cayman. I read the article very clearly way back then totally different scenario. Thumbs up to to Customs for doing their job and to the Police for doing theirs today with this lady.

            This Cayman Kind thing has nothing to do with breaking the Law. You don’t pay your bill you go to jail. Kudos! who cares where she from or what she does…. The owner knew the minute she left island without a credit card she could not be tracked so he reported her. I would too, send a strong message to persons that you cannot obtain services then skip out without paying. Seems she had more than enough time to rectify the situation. It could be $5 I would arrest her too.

            So now you say because the police did their job, corruption because owner must of known somebody at police for them to react quickly? Really……We poor Caymanians cant win for losing!

        • Anonymous says:

          Lies the guy who tried to smuggle the dress in lived here as a resident for 9 years he was on roll over visiting his fiancée and brining her dress. Where the hell you got a visitor for a destination wedding from.. madness.

  25. Anonymous says:

    So how is this even possible when people have outstanding child support maintenance for years and they are not jailed? If it is possible, please outline the process.

    I do agree as I would think that was civil and not criminal but I am no expert and would like to understand.

    • Anonymous says:

      Making off without payment is a criminal offence. Unless persons are prevented from leaving there is no way that the debt could ever be recovered through civil means. I congratulate their authorities for their swift and effective action.

      • Anonymous says:

        18/05/2016 at 2:45 pm
        Yeah, right. Wait, there will more to the story. You obviously have no clue about breach of contract laws or the legal steps required to legally evict a person, let alone to jail one. In America a landlord who had evicted a tenant without court order would be arrested and put in jail right away.
        She disputed the amount, not refused to pay. There are courts for that. No police can pass a judgement on who is right an who is wrong.

      • Anonymous says:

        Except that you pay by credit card in advance when booking with airbnb so there should have been no issues for either of them and she should have been aware of the payment already made.

      • Anonymous says:

        It was an AirBNB contract and should have been sorted out via AirBNB, not via RCIPS. They’ll get a great review I’m sure!

  26. Anonymous says:

    Is this right; she felt she did not need to pay for the nights that she did stay because she was asked to leave early?
    I think that is where it got “over the top”. Pay your bill.
    Oh, nevermind, locals here don’t always pay their bills either. I know of so many strata’s in arrears, rent going unpaid. Pension, insurance, paychecks etc…

    • Anonymous says:

      Yep, one rule for Caymanians, another for everyone else…and every Caymanian thinks its normal not to pay bills…forgetting “thou shalt not steal” which is what not paying your bills is…unless of course you go to Church then its alright…

  27. Anonymous says:

    So the woman thought half of her stay was free because she wasn’t able to dictate the time of payment for the total stay? I’m not sure if she deserved a night in the lock-up but if she’s as intelligent as her work would suggest, she would have been presumed to know better than to think her stay would be free because of a contractual disagreement. Police action is understandable. BUT, I am surprised that this guest house owner was able to bring them to bear on this woman so quickly and so forcefully. Which police officer friend did he call?

    • Anonymous says:

      Evidentially if you have the right friend in the popo, you can get the helicopter to hover over someone’s home while the men in black with vests knock at your door!!! All to try to keep them from filming you curse at them (and post on FB) for being from another country! LOL This is a true incident!

    • Anonymous says:

      Assume the police also checked if the Guest House owner held a valid “Tourist Accomodation” licence under the Tourism Law. Airbnb type accommodation is prohibited under Cayman law.

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