Three immigration officers convicted in conspiracy

| 26/02/2019 | 99 Comments
Cayman News Service

Cayman Islands Department of Immigration

(CNS): After a trial lasting more than six weeks, it took a jury less than a day to return the verdicts in an immigration conspiracy case relating to bribes in connection with the English Language Test. Seven people, five of whom were immigration officers, were tried and only one civilian woman walked away without a conviction. Three immigration officers and a civilian man, who the crown said was organising the payments from test candidates and taking a cut, were all convicted Tuesday of conspiracy. Two other immigration officers were found guilty of failing to report a bribe but acquitted of conspiracy.

A court order remains in place which prevents the news media from naming any of the defendants involved because the crown may be pressing ahead with another trial regarding the same conspiracy later this year.

However, it is understood that the names as well as various inaccuracies about the case have all appeared on social media. Nevertheless, the gag order remains in place at the court’s continued direction to limit possible prejudice for the outcome of that second related case, should it go ahead.

Following the guilty verdicts, those defendants were bailed and the case was adjourned until April to give prosecutors time to consider their next move and to ensure that the necessary reports are before the courts ahead of the sentencing hearings.

Three of the immigration officers were convicted of both conspiracy to commit fraud on the government and failing to report the solicitation of a reward or advantage, while the two other officers were found guilty of failing to report the solicitation. All five of the officers were on required leave on full pay. The department has not yet confirmed if all of them have been fired.

The crown’s case was that some time between August 2015 and June 2016 the unnamed civilian man, supported by several other women, was coordinating efforts with one immigration officer to charge other Spanish-speaking people CI$600 to get through the immigration department’s English Language Test. The test is a mandatory requirement for all non-native English speakers as part of the work permit application process.

The prosecutors said the man had a relationship with one immigration officer, who had in turn enlisted his colleagues to help in the scheme, where they would all take a cut of the bribes paid by the individuals taking the test.

In addition to a large amount of digital communications, the case was built on evidence provided by one woman, who had previously pleaded guilty to being involved in the conspiracy by recruiting three women to pay bribes and coordinating their tests with the civilian conspirator.

The crown produced dozens and dozens of WhatsApp messages in evidence that not only indicated the links between all the parties involved but in some cases supported the details of conspiracy.

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Comments (99)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    I hope the sentence includes large financial penalties. Why are they on paid leave?

  2. Anonymous says:

    But what if a domestic helper brought to work in a household where English is not a first language? French nanny for example to work in a french speaking family?

    • Anonymous says:

      They may need to call EMS. This is the time it is critical to speak and understand English

  3. Anonymous says:

    There is an easy answer to the underlying issue – for bar staff have an alternative to the language test based on hotness. Everyone wins.

  4. Tobin Frost says:

    These people who clearly cheated and knew exactly what they were doing need to be rounded up and sent home the receiver is just as bad as the thief! By keeping them here we are rewarding criminal behavior and sending the wrong message to other criminals who want come They are definitely not victims as some try to portray them it’s time Cayman we stop making political leadership fool us about the economic benefits we are reaping from this immigration behemoth.

  5. Dolf Kaputnik says:

    The after effects of what these corrupt officers actions and behavior is what should concern us all. The elements they unfortunately are now letting in,is changing the very socio economic and criminal dynamics here on this island and it definitely ain’t for the better The level of violence and types of crime is increasing dramatically which is not in our best interests or future. It is time we start seriously cracking down and targeting certain elements now here before it gets worse instead of worrying about collecting work Permit fees.

  6. Catcha Fire says:

    Aaaah but you see Gee that would mean ayeee Papiee would have to go home back to whence they came and that would mean their govt/political “clients” would have to give up their concubines and side ting!! And that means the new criminal dynamic and fleecing of our economy and Cayman will come to and abrupt end not to mention the destruction of the social fabric of our society.Ask yourself exactly who benefits from that??? Then you will answer your question why that will never happen. Our biggest concern should be their infiltration of certain governmental agencies and what effects it has on corruption and what criminal dynamics it brings to our small society from their countries. That is what our political retards fail to understand whilst they have their jollies and egos stroked .

  7. Anonymous says:

    Surely if an employer is hiring someone they should be the one to ensure the employee has the adequate skills for the position. The English tests should never have been a role of the immigration officers.
    There is corruption all over the CI Government on a daily basis as everyone knows.
    Thats how Cayman works, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know.
    Unfortunately it’s the people further down the food chain who take the rap when the shit hits the fan.

    • Anonymous says:

      Agreed.. however, these female employees aren’t coming to work in Cayman based on the merits of their English competency, but rather.. shall we say … on ‘other unmentionable’ skills. From WestBay to EastEnd and all the stops in-between, many of these watering holes offer not just an opportunity to quench your thirst, but also your fire!

    • Anonymous says:

      @ 9:07 As it is the responsibility of the employer to make sure the staff have the correct skills it is the responsibility of Immigration to make sure those who come here to work can speak the native language. Did you think before you typed? You really need to start. F’n Muppet.

      – Muppet ‘Head’ Hunter

  8. gee says:

    So what happens to the girls that they gave the test to? they need to sit it over, and if they don’t pass then made to leave am sure the administering officer had to put their names.

    • Anonymous says:

      The girls were active participants in a crime. Their permits were obtained through fraud, that they knew about. They should have their permits cancelled and be deported immediately. We are being taken for a joke.

  9. Anonymous says:

    Why would any business want to hire someone that is unable to communicate to with it’s customers?

  10. Anonymous says:

    Their names were listed on the court list.

    • Anonymous says:

      Listed by the Courts VERSUS being published by a “blogger” or “gossip sheet”, be it electronically or otherwise, are 2 distinctly different things.

      So stop it now all that wallow in that nest of vipers known as Cayman Marl Road.

      And these are all Caymanian women.


      • Anonymous says:

        Caymanian women are not required to take any English equivalency test as a function of their work permit application.

        SMH back.

        • Anonymous says:


          Numbnut, was NOT talking about the persons taking the test!


        • Anonymous says:

          “Caymanian women are not required to take any English equivalency test as a function of their work permit application.”

          When did Caymanian women need a work permit. Seriously bro?

      • Anonymous says:

        Public domain is public domain.

        • Anonymous says:

          Not when a gag order was in place by the court. Anyone notice that CMR took the names off the story? Sandy Hack I mean Hill wouldn’t know responsible journalism it one punched her in the face.

  11. Anonymous says:

    Deportation orders for the immigration staff?

  12. Anonymous says:

    For the longest time I’ve been puzzled on why when I visited some businesses and found that some of their employees couldn’t speak or understand English, clearly or some not at all, and was wondering why? Now I know…

    • Anonymous says:

      Well you could say the same for Jamaicans most of us don’t understand a word they are saying either.I noticed no one has mentioned the sex workers from Canada?Oh and maybe we will take a look at how easy it is for Plipinos to obtain a dricers license.

  13. Anonymous says:

    While being very happy that those involved with the scheme were convicted. I can’t help but wonder why government is involved in language tests in the first place. It would seem to simply be a bad business decision to employ those who cannot speak the local language and in time those business will fail. On the other hand there are those from mother England that many locals cannot understand either.

    • Anonymous says:

      Let us call the problem into the light of day. We are talking mostly about female bartenders.

      Get it now? The visual outweighs the need for communication (for some). Those businesses aren’t made or broken on the ability to have a conversation with employees.

    • Anonymous says:

      Because language isn’t the main reason these women are employed moron. Stop trying to be an Immigration reformist, you have no clue what you are doing.

  14. Anonymous says:

    So what happens to those permit holders who benefitted from this conspiracy? Clearly they obtained their permit through fraud!?!?

    • Anonymous says:

      The permit holders may not have been aware of their employees’ deficiency in the English language since in their “interviews” they would have had a much narrower range of subjects that what would come up on an Immigration test.

      • Anonymous says:

        Permit holders know. They are probably the ones who directed them to the specific players.

        Think about it. Why would a permit holder want an employee who couldn’t speak English? What other attributes might the permit holder bring to the table that enhanced the business?

    • Anonymous says:

      And bribery, but that would mean expats in prison, and you know how that would irritate everyone that claims that there are so few expat criminals in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:


      this island is being taken over by Spanish….

      its no Bueno….

    • Anonymous says:

      Victim shaming at its worst. These were vulnerable people abused by those with power over them.

      • Anonymous says:

        i hope you are kidding.

        these are people so depressed to leave their country

        to come here and sleep with anyone for money…

  15. Anonymous says:

    I fully support the verdict given that more evidence was available.. however WhatsApp messages should never be used in court as evidence. Injection and spoofing techniques are out there that can create a fraudulent conversation. Makes me highly suspect of CMR’s ‘evidence’ against certain people which consists of screenshots of WhatsApp.

    • Anonymous says:

      Sandy Hill “claims” to be a responsible journalist yet despite a court gag order she plasters the names of everyone involved over her rag. Of course when your company is registered in the US I guess you don’t need to abide by local laws. Her domain needs to be blocked.

      • Anonymous says:

        Obviously my thumbs down is either Sandy, some moron who also doesn’t know what a gag order is or someone who just like gossip too much.

      • Anonymous says:

        The local courts does have jurisdiction – see Marco Archer’s case!

        • Anonymous says:

          She finally took the names down last night. I still say her site needs to be blocked by the ISPs.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes she removed the names from the article but left the names in the comments under CMR. Pointless! plus so many ppl read it and know the names so how will this affect jury pool for a second trial?

      • Anonymous says:


    • Anonymous says:

      CMR needs to be stopped. They are ignoring the ruling set by the court which was set for good reason as there may be further cases following.
      What she has written and the comments she attracts has an influence on the outcome of probably this trial and any in the future.
      Trial by the media is wrong on so many levels

  16. Anonymous says:

    No amount of Ill gotten money or things are worth your job. Ever. when are people going to realize this.?! Now these idiots are going to have a hard time gaining employment. Because any employer worth their salt, is going to ask that question. “why did you get fired from your last job?”. What can you say?! This is Cayman. It’s a small place.
    “oh, well. I got caught taking bribes” ……employer isn’t going to hire you now.
    If i can help one person not be an idiot and save their reputation and job. Is this. And it’s what I tell myself when I am surrounded by expensive and shiny things at work all the time, and the thought even crosses my mind to take even something as simple as a pen. I repeat this mantra, to myself. “It’s not IF you get caught, it’s WHEN you get caught”!. Because you will get caught. Sooner or later. So just don’t steal at work. Just don’t do it.

    It’s not that hard people.

  17. Anonymous says:

    The irony of this is it’s been going on for years and for reasons other than $600 kickbacks. How many bars are there on Grand Cayman where the skills the female staff were recruited for have nothing to do with serving drinks? I can think of a couple where I doubt anyone employed there over at least the past 10 years could pass the English test.

    • Anonymous says:

      I can think of more than just a couple.

    • L.A. says:

      Or an STD/STI test! Remember, people on 3 month permits don’t need a medical….and most of the women you’re referring to are only brought in for 3 months at a time…..thing that make you go hmmmm!!

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, quite common for employers to rotate them in and out to subvert the Immigration requirements and process. I don’t think that’s a surprise to anyone, including the former Immigration department.

        I think this is another case of CIG employees becoming numb to enforcement along with a minor few being outright crooked.

      • Anonymous says:

        10:27 You can easily bypass the STD/AIDS test. Immigration only accepts blood work certification from approved labs and the staff in some of them have been known to issue the paperwork without even seeing the WP applicant if you’ve got the right connections. Watch this space because that’s going to be the next scandal.

  18. Anonymous says:

    Okay CNS … I got the convictions …
    What are their sentences?

    • Anonymous says:

      From the Compass. “Justice Philip St. John-Stevens adjourned sentencing pending the preparation of a social inquiry report for each officer. The agreed date was April 25.”

    • Anonymous says:

      Want to bet on the odds of a large severance and quietly slipping away into the woodwork?

  19. Anonymous says:

    Fraud on the government? Is that not what a large percentage of employers do when under-reporting the roles of their work permit holders?

    • Anonymous says:

      Sure, but we do not enforce laws against influential business owners. Did you not know that? Silly person.

      • Anonymous says:

        Or, really, any business owners, large or small.

        The “silly person” comment was unnecessary, no? Doesn’t really promote productive discussion.

  20. Johnny Be Good says:

    What about the employers whom were most likely directing the show and have been getting away with this malarkey for years, aren’t they complicit too?

    • Anonymous says:

      No, you see, if they are woters they have immunity from prosecution. Not in the public interest to prosecute those responsible, you see.

    • Anonymous says:

      Maybe, but they’re also ‘connected’. If the authorities ever decided to dig deep enough (and you can bet they won’t) some of the names that came up could prove highly embarrassing. This is just a token bust, when the dust settles it’ll be back to business as usual.

  21. Anonymous says:

    another glorious day for the cig civil service.

  22. Anonymous says:

    Sandra never got the gag order then?

    • Anonymous says:

      You mean Cayman Marl Road?

      • Anonymous says:

        Cayman Marl Road is a nest of vipers – not only Sandra Catron, (Sandy Hill) whatever the name, is involved with that.

        • Anonymous says:

          Doesn’t CMR realise that if there’s an gag order in place and there’s an violation of such an order, they could be held in contempt of Court? I guess they don’t.

        • Anonymous says:

          Holy cow!

          Sandy has spawned at least another 36, judging by the thumbs down.


      • Anonymous says:

        I’m sure she did, she just doesn’t give a damn just so she can be the first to break the story.

        • Anonymous says:

          Notice that in her story it says the trial concluded on the 15th? How is that possible when it concluded yesterday. She pre-wrote that story just to be the first to break the news and she calls herself a responsible journalist.

      • Anonymous says:

        Have you heard the voice recordings? OMG.

        • Anonymous says:

          Yes and while the lady has a potty mouth and clearly is stupid saying some of the things she said, Sandy deserves a good cussing out.

  23. Velm says:

    So disgraceful … The very ones hired to ensure our laws are upheld are the very ones breaking the laws! Now there are employees whose WP needs be revoked and they’re fingerprinted so they can never return!
    This hurts our homeland in more ways than just the language barrier … It also helps deprive Caymanians of employment!
    And ruined their names for what? $600 … Can’t even pay one month’s mortgage ….
    And now a negative Police Record which can hinder future employment & travel …
    What an embarrassment to self, family & country!

    • anonymous says:

      8.32pm Are you saying all those guilty were on work permits?.
      As for your initial comment which I completely agree with remember the customs officer found guilty of a conspiracy to bring in drugs.
      As for ruining their names for $600, these offences are only the ones that were discovered. Nowhere else in Government does the opportunity for fleecing the public occur more often than in immigration. What we see here is I’m sure only the tip of the iceburg.
      As is customary these civil servants and now convicted criminals, have been afforded the benefit of 18 months paid holiday and anonymity.

      • Anonymous says:

        No, Velm is talking about the employees who benefited from the getting the tests passed for them. They now need to be removed from the lives they started.

        • anonymous says:

          8.41pm I was referrring to Velm’s initial comment- “the very ones hired to ensure our laws are upheld are the very ones breaking the laws!”. Velm is here referring to the immigration officers who behaved just like the customs officer.Shame on all of them for selling out their country.

        • Anonymous says:

          What about Govt. employee’s
          Stealing time, when one come to work late, leaves early and spends an hour in stores eating at 9 am, and don’t forget calling in sick when they are not that
          thats stealing.

      • Anonymous says:

        Ruining their names not for $600, but $600 for each and every application. God knows how many fraudulent tests were administered.

  24. Anonymous says:

    Caymanians selling out their own country for $600??

    • Anonymous says:

      The amount is immaterial. Excellent job, excellent benefits, granted sometimes difficult hours, career path and excellent retirement and pissed all away.

      Or is it? We will see in April.

  25. Anonymous says:

    I now understand why I would encounter people working in retail establishments that were unable to speak English.

    • Anonymous says:

      not just retail! Cleaners, gardeners..,

      • Anonymous says:

        6:57 And many of the bars? That’s where it all started, with women being bought in to do a bit more for the customers than just serve drinks. One particular establishment in GT was not only well-known for this but there were several immigration officers allegedly benefiting from the arrangement. All the girls need is about a dozen words in English (none of which I can repeat here) and they’re away.

      • Anonymous says:

        Strip joints…

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