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Eight immigration officers off the job

| 23/01/2017 | 55 Comments

(CNS): Officials from the Department of Immigration have said that there are now eight people from the department on required leave for one reason or another after three more people were suspended last week following their arrest in an anti-corruption case. It is also understood that the eight people on enforced leave includes Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans, who has been suspended for more than two years on full pay and benefits because of a still undisclosed alleged infraction.

Despite these problems, Acting CIO Bruce Smith said the 160 or so employees in the department are committed to upholding the law and protecting Cayman’s borders, and that there was a zero-tolerance policy towards employee misconduct and unlawful behaviour.

Smith said the latest group of immigration workers to be placed on leave was down to the work of the DoI itself. “These arrests came about as a direct result of the immigration department following the correct procedure and bringing suspected wrongdoers to the attention of the proper authorities for further investigation,” he explained, adding that the rest of his team was working hard.

“Every single day, the dedicated men and women of the Department of Immigration come to work to serve this country. Together the team of more than 160 employees share one goal, which is to keep all persons in the Cayman Islands safe,” Smith added.

Although Smith maintained that the DoI values safety and security of the public above all else, a member of its senior management team, Garfield Wong, remains at his desk despite facing charges of drinking and driving, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident in which a person was injured.

The collision between the truck Wong was driving and a BMW happened in 2013 on Shamrock Road. The senior officer, who has denied the allegations and is due in court for his continuing trial in March, has never been placed on leave regarding these charges. By comparison, John Bodden, the former acting chief fire officer who faced similar charges, was placed on required leave until earlier this month, when his two-year-old traffic case was dismissed.

Immigration staff are on leave for various infractions, including cases that are going through the courts. Smith said individuals are placed on required leave in accordance with the provisions of the Public Service Management Law, “and in the best interest of all concerned, most importantly the public”.

Smith added that the DoI would continue to be transparent about all infractions and investigations, and stressed that the department in no way condoned the alleged actions of the individuals.

“We are committed to our values of excellence, accountability and integrity and we will continue to live by that code of conduct moving forward,” he said.

Despite the problems facing some staff, the acting chief said that last year immigration officers arrested more than 500 people for immigration offences, including the most common breach of illegal landing, but also for work permit infractions, overstaying and forgery.

He noted that the department processes all arrivals at Cayman Islands ports and airports, amounting to some two million people a year, and generates millions of dollars in annual revenue from immigration fees, administrative fines but also fines paid for offences. This last figure amounted to $400,000 in the past year.

Over the next year, Smith said, there would be more specialised training and development for his staff in countering risk, the immigration law training and sensitisation, as well as internal cross-training. There will also be personal development support for staff in areas like business, accounting and legal studies, and the enhanced use of the Intelligence Unit.

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Category: Crime, Immigration

Comments (55)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    The people that do work permits for a living (won’t name any here) all say the same thing. The entire department is a cesspool. Some good people there but the laws, made up rules,lack of direction, lack of leadership, petty vindictiveness and good old human prejudice make it a place that I pay other people to go to.




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  2. Anonymous says:

    Compass article today (Editorial) makes no sense. They are advised by lawyers when they right their articles but they don’t like what the lawyers tell them. The truth is…we operate in a system that has laws and specifically contract and employment laws on which the compass relies on heavily in the course of their business as we all do. However, they are suggesting that civil servants should not be subject to the very same protections under the law of contract and employment which they would use to enforce any right they had against a nonpaying customer.

    It seems as if they are advocating a break down in the rule of law. That employers should just be able to hire and fire at will! That we should do away with the whole of the improvements in the labour protection in the last 100 years and that we should all go back out in the fields or into the poor house if we don’t follow the master’s rule.

    To the editors of the compass; you sound like self serving, blood sucking leaches who would like to see a regression of workers rights and protections and advocate bringing us all back into the 19th century. The kind that see women as nothings and having no place in the labour force because they children- oh heavens no maternity do want that. Instead of focusing on this, why don’t you focus on the workmen’s compensation legislation that hasn’t been updated in 40 years? Maybe if you fall off your chair at work and break you back you would care but unlikely, They would simply go into their treasure chest and pull out a new body.

    But isn’t that what the master tells you to right…under the whip…so write on boy!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Ummmm, employers can, in compliance with the Labour Law, hire and (if appropriate) fire. It is the Government that does not follow these well established principles and is according wasting millions of Government funds.




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  3. Knot S Smart says:

    No need to worry they still have about 600 other workers left in Immigration…. Thats why they have such fast service… And why they answer the phone in 30 seconds or less…




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  4. Anonymous says:

    Unfortunately the current immigration law is an open door to corruption with unqualified, inexperienced individuals making profoundly impactful decisions with zero transparency and virtually no oversight.

    When the law provides unaccountable officials with this amount of discretion combined with this much impact on a business or individual it is just too tempting not to take advantage of it for personal gain.

    At the same time, when the law itself provides the unguided discretion (and the ability for it to be delegated to whomever the CIO pleases no matter how unqualified), what’s the point in oversight? Immigration Officer: “The law gives me both the authority and discretion. Therefore whatever I decide, howsoever decided, is inherently beyond reproach.”

    The law and regs have 40 (count ’em!) instances of the word “discretion”, each instance an ajar door to arbitrariness (making a decision for no apparent reason) and its evil twin, corruption (making a decision for the wrong reason).

    XXXXXX How many have gone undiscovered and undiscoverable over the years?

    What immigration officer or board member hasn’t done a favor to a friend in the private sector (or otherwise stuck the knife in for an enemy). Stories abound of arbitrary and absurd decisions from the boards and administrators.

    Appeals take years and no employer or expatriate dares to complain. If they did, who would listen?

    XXXXX

    The answer is not to begin hiring more honest people, it is to change the law and the entire immigration process. Introduce some transparency and some functional, independent oversight.




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  5. Pathetic Politicians and Government says:

    And my grand mother worked for the shithouse Government loyally for 30 + years and couldn’t even get a proper pension or retirement package when she retired last year. Suck ass island this is.

    2 years and collecting full pay, can you jus imagine? She must be having a BALL and laughing at Government while doing it too, oh and probably raking in income at another place of employment. So sad, and so many qualified, unemployed people out here that could have done well with that position and salary instead of being a burden to Social Services that could actually be helping the REAL needy. Boy the leaders of this island really bright.

    I’m 28 years old and have never been registered to vote and will never register, and when or if it ever becomes mandatory I will just MOVE to England or something. F***n’ sinning my soul so early in the morning.

    AND GOVERNMENT WONDER WHY THEY ALWAYS FRIGGIN BROKKEEE!!

    Lord have mercy on our leaders. You know how the saying goes.. The rich will be richer and the poor will be poorer! And may I add the dumb will be DUMBER!




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    • Anonymous says:

      I really don’t understand the comments here. We asked for increase accountability in the Civil Service and boy haven’t we got it.

      Now we are complaining about the length of time it takes to get the criminal cases through the courts. Why are the courts so busy. Could it be that the laws everyone claims are not being enforced are actually being enforced.

      I thank the DG for improving accountability and I have faith that he will also now tackle the length of time it takes to resolve these cases.




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      • Diogenes says:

        First, isn’t Ms Evans dealing with an internal complaint, not a criminal matter? Second, it is perfectly reasonable to complain about the amount of time it takes for criminal offences to come to trial. That’s a combination of not enough court rooms and delays by the police and prosecuting authorities in bringing cases to trial. Justice delayed is justice denied.




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        • Anonymous says:

          And the private sector, which is accountable for shareholder money, would have all these persons off their payroll lickety-split! The Government is being irresponsible with the public’s money.




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    • Diogenes says:

      If you can’t be bothered to vote you don’t get to complain about the performance of the government that others elected.




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  6. Ex-Patriat says:

    Is that all?
    What about the unnecessary overtime for staff who ignore the public and their work all day?
    What about those at higher level who use work permits to control and scam people?
    What about the selective approvals or denials of applications depending on who you are or who don’t like you?
    What about sharing of people’s personal information with friends and families?
    I’m sure there’s a lot more but we may never hear about it.




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    • Anonymous says:

      How good and pleasant it is for foreigners to dwell among us in unity, it is like a Panhead writing to the New York Times and driven to Miami to take a flight back home stripped of their garments that they acquired in NY, it is like a disgrace upon humanity to have so much freedom.




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  7. Anonymous says:

    The DoI is the only Gov. Dept. that does not have to act and react with Camyanians. The average Cayman does not experience the long lines, arrogance, ignorance, laziness, of many DoI employees. The people the DoI stamp in tourist who breeze in and out so don’t have time to complain to the Gov. about their treatment. They just won’t return. Another group the DoI deals with Ex-pat work permit holders they have no representation on the Island at all. They have to accept what ever demands the DoI place on them, some are out right bribes, others the name of a relative, who is a consultant and will push through ther permit for $ pay up-or go home. Where can they go? The average Caymanian does not know or care. Many in the DoI look at their position as one of intitled to extra compensation. Bribery-corruption. If your caught, you get a 2 to 4 year paid vacation. Then another Gov. job.




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  8. Anonymous says:

    Why is someone off for over two years on full pay? A total shame and disgrace. Only in government do you find this type of waste of public funds. What is Alden doing to correct this foolishness?




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    • Floyd Spicer says:

      “What is Alden doing to correct this foolishness?”……….NOTHING!




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    • Anonymous says:

      So you want government to act like the private sector and fire people as soon as they are suspected of wrongdoing and when they go to court and get found not guilty tell them too bad I gave your job to a work permit holder. No thank you.

      And someone explain how being arrested, bailed, appearing in court having your case drag on for 2 years not knowing whether you will go to prison or not is a good experience.

      Please engage brain before commenting.

      Yes I am a proud Civil Servant who is thankful that the bad apples who give us a bad name are being rooted out.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Exactly! Caymanians are known to try and convict you once they hear you are accused of something. Due process immediately gets thrown out the window based on rumors. Let’s hope with the latest suspicions and suspensions, they have solid proof before pursuing it any further through the courts and keeping people’s lives in limbo for years to come.




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    • Anonymous says:

      he is useless, remember on election day




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  9. Anonymous says:

    Remind me the nationality of the Immigration Dept? 5% of your workforce suspended, including two of your Chief Officers is an absolute joke.




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    • Anonymous says:

      This is CAYMAN! So it would only be logical for the staff TO BE Caymanian! Yes, those who are on suspension are Caymanian, and if they are bad apples….they will be replaced by honest Caymanians.




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      • Anonymous says:

        No. It would be logical for the staff to be made of people legally resident in the Cayman Islands. Why does it have to be 100% Caymanian?




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    • Anonymous says:

      The nationality of any Immigration department world wide is usually made up of citizens from that country. Jesus some people really should apply their brains before writing nonsense.




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    • Anonymous says:

      agree




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  10. OneVoice says:

    People , this affects us all as Caymanians, Let us not delight in these individuals down fall. What they may have done or what they did, needs to be properly investigated . It is most unfortunate, but we have to look at the what causes this sort of corruption/action. Is it greed? or is just being too accommodating. It is most certainly disturbing.




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    • Anonymous says:

      Today for me, tomorrow for you. All the judges on here need to remember that!




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      • Jotnar says:

        Today for me tomorrow for you applies to accidents and misfortune, not issues of conscious choice.




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    • Anonymous says:

      They should not be suspended on full pay, give them half pay until the case come off and if they are found in not guilty ,then give them back their other half of their money, remember if they are found guilty the Govt. will never get back the money that they was paid to them.




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  11. Anonymous says:

    2 years paid vacation. wtf. can I get one of those please? id be close to 60 then and id retire too.160 immigration officers committed and some shaking in their boots hoping they not ga get busted too now. lol. just another day another day in paradise as Phil Collins would sing.




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  12. Anonymous says:

    The EY Report recommended trimming Civil Service staffing. If the Immigration Department can continue to function no less “efficiently” than it usually does (tongue firmly in cheek), then perhaps these 8 posts are unnecessary!!




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    • Honest John says:

      I agree. If it’s “business as usual” with these people vacationing or working at another job while on leave, why not reduce the work force? I wish I could find an employer who would let me stay away and pay me for not working. Question: Why don’t the persons on paid leave have to return all the gravy if it is determined that was cause for dismissal? Would you like to comment on this, Mr. Premier?




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      • Anonymous says:

        Don’t expect a reply. This is the way government deals with the public funds. No accountability. How in the world can anyone think that this is acceptable? Don’t ask FM. He is so out of it. Only in government can someone stay home and still get paid for doing nothing.




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  13. John Lin says:

    Why does it takes 2 years of suspension (paid with taxpayers money) to bring these cases to trial?

    How about making it a goal to bring all such cases to trial within 3 months?




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    • Nunya says:

      Where is the like button when you need it? CNS?
      I totally agree – cases like these should be expedited. Minister Archer if you are looking for a place to trim the fat it staring you right in the face, this policy is a drain on gov’t resources and needs to be done away with. And I’m not just talking about “geography” where you shift these people to another gov’t dept, because then they just become someone else’s problem. But a real solution – maybe that might work for lesser charges, but the big ones…if you have enough to suspect them and to the point where they are at Fairbanks then I think suspension at reduced benefits and if that is not possible then they need to go to trial faster.
      This is ridiculous, we (the public) all sit paying the debt for stupid programs gov’t has in place. ENOUGH!!!!!




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    • Anonymous says:

      agree




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  14. SKEPTICAL says:

    Not a pretty picture!




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  15. Anonymous says:

    So 5% of the staff is suspended right now. Doesn’t sound too good no matter how you spin it.




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  16. Anonymous says:

    another glorius day for the civil service….
    time for more awards franz!




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    • Anonymous says:

      Yes let’s thank Franz for keeping his word about improving accountability in the Civil Service. My fellow Caymanians this is sad times from us. Too many of our Caymanians seems to be working outside the rules. Let this be a lesson to others.

      Thank you Franz and other honest civil servants for all that you do.




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      • Nunya says:

        Granted Franz is in charge of the Civil Service – but do you honestly think he can control the actions 100% of the civil service staff? Not even God can do that. A parent, despite teaching and disciplining a child can not control their every move.
        But yes there needs to be a better system in the civil service where actions like these do not go unpunished and it needs to happen faster. Franz didn’t write this stupid law that allows for civil servants to be placed on required leave – but Franz, I think it time for it to be revamped!!! Don’t you think? or is it working?




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  17. Anonymous says:

    cig should be sued for the ongoing incompetence of the civil service…..




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  18. Anonymous says:

    Only eight? Back in 2007 it was revealed by a now defunct media outlet that numerous immigration officers were moonlighting as ‘immigration advisors’ while others were using their positions to expedite work permits for their friends and family. And who was the CIO at the time? You figure!




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    • Anonymous says:

      3:13 really? Send us the article. Your facts are wrong your hate is obvious and pitiful. Are you on required leave?

      Let’s stop the hate. First we ask for accountability in the Civil service and corrupt officers to be rooted out. We had no confidence that our DG would achieve this. Now that he and his chief officers have accomplished this what do we do complain complain.




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      • Anonymous says:

        Sadly, the archives for the publication (CNS) are sealed due to a dispute over how much the records are worth and who they belong to.

        [CNS: I think you mean Cayman Net News (CNN), not CNS. There can be no dispute over who owns our archives.]

        7:21 you were clearly not around at the time but I was and the complaints came from former immigration officers who had done the honest thing and left to pursue a career in the public sector but were being shafted by their former colleagues. I can also tell you from personal experience that the CIO at the time, who has now gone on to higher things, ignored all complaints of misconduct filed against immigration staff.

        And no, I’m not on required leave nor was I ever an employee of CIG. In fact I’m now retired and living in the UK.




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        • Anonymous says:

          Apologies – it should be Cayman Net News and I think you’re only too familiar with the saga of their records.




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  19. Anonymous says:

    Nothing new




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    • Anonymous says:

      Mr. Smith, while you are all fired up please look into the practice of issuing work permits for people who have no specified jobs waiting for them in Cayman. They come here then find a day’s work here and there. If you stop some of those busses in the morning and evenings you will be able to catch some of them. Shouldn’t be too difficult.




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