(CNS): With the news this week that an unidentified senior immigration officer was arrested after a police raid that turned up a gun, drugs and an illegal immigrant, the home affairs ministry has confirmed that the woman will be placed on required leave. No one has been charged yet but five people were arrested, including the 57-year-old immigration officer in the RCIPS operation triggered by a shooting at a George Town apartment on Tuesday night.
“Given the very serious nature of the allegations, the officer will be placed on required leave while the matter is being investigated,” Deputy Governor Franz Manderson and Wesley Howell, the ministry’s chief officer, said in a joint statement.
“We thank the RCIPS for their vigilance as the arrest demonstrates a resolve to tackle illegal activities whomever the suspects. Any progression of this matter will follow natural rules of justice as we note that an arrest on suspicion indicates early stages of an investigation,” they added.
A spokesperson for the immigration department told CNS that because the officer was still in police custody, the department was not able to say what the next steps would be and that the ministry would be issuing a comment.
This is by no means the first time that senior staff at that department have been embroiled in controversies but the allegations in this case are extremely serious, as the officer was arrested on suspicion of possession of an unlicensed firearm, possession with intent to supply ganja, and knowingly assisting an illegal immigrant to remain in the Cayman Islands, which is an immigration offence.
The arrest comes while Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans remains suspended from the job after almost two years. Officials stated in May that they expected the situation to be resolved, but she remains on required leave on full paid as a result of unspecified alleged workplace offences.
Former immigration boards director, Kim Davis, was dismissed after she was charged with offences relating to incorrect information she allegedly gave to the immigration department about permits she held for staff in her own business. That case is continuing in Summary Court and is expected to be heard later this year.
Garfield Wong, the deputy chief immigration officer in charge of enforcement, was arrested in December 2013 and charged with careless driving, leaving the scene of an accident and driving under the influence, but so far the case has not been tried and Wong has never been placed on leave.
Further down the ranks, immigration officer Nicholas Tibbetts (25) has now pleaded guilty to causing the death of Donnie Ray Connor when he knocked him from his bike on the Linford Pierson Highway, and left the scene. He was placed on required leave and is expected to be sentenced in November.