TV celebrity and Ritz fined over WP infraction

| 10/02/2022 | 85 Comments
Elizabeth Chambers

(CNS): Celebrity baker and TV personality, Elizabeth Chambers, and the Ritz-Carlton, Grand Cayman both received administrative fines recently for a work permit infraction relating to a special event at the hotel. Chambers, who is the co-founder of the Texas-based BIRD Bakery, was charged with engaging in gainful occupation without a work permit in the Cayman Islands, after hosting ‘Sweets and Cocktails’ at the Ritz in March last year. Although she wasn’t paid, she was given discounted rates to stay in the hotel on a long-term basis in exchange.

According to a report by the Cayman Compass, which CNS has verified through various official sources, local authorities received an anonymous tip three months after the cocktail party, which triggered an inquiry. Court documents state that the Ritz-Carlton submitted an affidavit where it said it had not intended to employ Chambers without a permit but as an “independent contractor”.

But the hotel confirmed that in exchange for hosting the event she was provided with a special rate to stay in the hotel. This constitutes a reward, which means Chambers was effectively working without a permit and was therefore charged.

While these types of cases are usually the subject of administrative fines, this case got as far as the court docket. But before the parties appeared, the undisclosed fines were settled and so the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions said there was no legal basis on which to pursue the case.

According to officials at WORC, there are a number of reasons why a case may go as far as the court, such as when the parties dispute the circumstances or take too long to pay. However, it is not clear why this case made it to court before it was actually settled administratively and both the Ritz and Chambers paid up before they were forced to appear before a judge.

Responding to the Compass report, a spokesperson for Chambers said she did not accept any monetary incentives or alternative forms of compensation for her partnership with the Ritz-Carlton, which may have been why the case went as far as the court docket.

“The event mentioned was organised in the spirit of helping stimulate local business during a time when tourism was nonexistent. She views the opportunity of being able to live in the Cayman Islands as a privilege, and has only ever sought to create ways to assist the community,” the representative added.

Chambers is still married to her estranged husband, Hollywood actor Armie Hammer, who has close ties to the island, having visited frequently since he was a child. She has been living here since the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in 2020 and has since set up a company, for which she now has a permit.

Hammer is also currently said to be in Cayman with his family, as he continues on the road to sobriety after a stint in rehab following a difficult few years of scandals, sexual abuse allegations, which he denies, and unfortunate headlines.

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Category: Crime, Immigration

Comments (85)

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  1. Anonymous says:

    How does this substantially differ from a retailer offering a discount for people who are frequent patrons? That constitutes obtaining gain from something one does. Shall we require a permit to legally receive the discount? It is not unheard of for developers or their agents to give a gift in exchange for being the subject of a sales presentation. Real estate agents’ open houses often serve free food and drink for showing up. Organisers sometimes give gift certificates or other things of value to participants in a sponsored event or sporting challenge. When does giving a discount or gift or perk or for doing a specific act become illegal?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Most people would consider her “pay” a gratuity. You can’t eat or spend or save up a room discount.

  3. Do What is Right says:

    Go to any major building site between mid-morning and lunchtime and you will see 3 or 4 cars serving food to the construction workers. How many of those food vendors have work permits, trade and business licences, and have their premises inspected where the food is prepared? Seems like government is perfectly content to turn a blind eye to this repeated infraction.

    • Anonymous says:

      And the Illegal Filipino Food vendors serving from home

      • Anonymous says:

        11.26am For every one of them there are 10 Jamaicans doing the same. They also have regular sessions/boat trips (all advertised on Wellys notice board) where they illegally sell all sorts of stuff and exhibit ghetto behaviour. DCI or the RCIPS never shut-down or proseceute even though they are ruining society and our young people.

        • Anonymous says:

          Agreed 1000%. Cut out the panhead culture and the youths will strive with open minds.

          • Anonymous says:

            Sadly these civil servants and newly elected people consider themselves above the law, meaning they can do whatever they want to impress the rich.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, this unmonitored food selling scares me. We have rules for inspection of kitchen premises for food sales for a reason. I think it every time I drive by those vendors! God knows what the kitchen look like that they are cooking in. And even worse, their ability to keep food at a proper temperature while they are transporting it. That is the real risk.

    • Anonymous says:

      They represent a voting block that Saunders Mac Kenneth and Seymour want to nurture for their future ambitions.

    • Anonymous says:

      Yes, correct. Turn a blind eye and make a focal point of something completely petty. What makes the story even more pathetic is the “anonymous tipster”.
      What a loser that person is…

  4. Anonymous says:

    Gee thanks WORC for saving these non-paying one off jobs for Caymanians…you’re really looking out for your people!

    • Follow the laws says:

      U are just an entitled, privilege and a toxic expat. Follow the laws and stop looking for loop holes.

      • Anonymous says:

        Follow the laws? In Cayman ? Jer 5:21.

      • Anonymous says:

        That is exactly the problem, you don’t have to follow the laws given they are not enforced, or they are enforced selectively. When is the last time you saw the prosecution of a Caymanian owned business for WP, pension or insurance violations?

        • Anonymous says:

          There are definitely court cases that deal with work permit violations and unlawful business for being unlicensed.

          • Anonymous says:

            Yes. A very small number. They drag on for months and give n appearance that the law is being enforced when the reality is far from it.

      • Anonymous says:


      • Anonymous says:

        Follow the laws hahhahahahhahha.

        Cayman corruption shhhhhhhh

  5. Anonymous says:

    Does WORC also investigate other “tips” about Caymanians forcing their WPH to pay the price of the permit?

    Does WORC also investigate other “tips” about Caymanians having persons working without a permit? and once the worker leaves the Islands WHAT PENALTY does the employer pay?

    • Anonymous says:

      Funnily enough as I now know of many Caymanian status holders of all races doing the same exact thing – exploiting their workers, I have come to realize people really are the same where ever you go.

  6. Anonymous says:

    How dumb. There are literally thousands of unskilled Jamaicans running around with a permit from a caymanian owned construction company but they are doing side work all day for themselves. They drive like a**holes on top of the crappy jobs they do.

    • Anonymous says:

      Finally the truth is stated. Thousands upon thousands of illegal Jamacian workers. Pick one up at Wellys

    • Anonymous says:

      9.02am Most of those Construction cos are owned by Jamaicans who should never have been allowed to stay and receive status.

  7. Anonymous says:

    This is not as serious as many other instances of illegal gainful employment or example of illegal trade or business, but it is serious in Cayman.

    • Anonymous says:

      Why is not as serious?

    • Elizabeth BEEN working!!! says:

      This woman has been “working” from home since she returned to Cayman during the pandemic! Wonder if she has “global” permission or a work permit for the business she conducts…films and posts DAILY!! This is bigger than this ONE incident with Ritz! This was just easier to fine!!!!

  8. Anonymous says:

    Seriously, a 2-hour fun entertainment event that the audience loved, where she received no cash, but a discounted rate at a largely empty hotel? It is not even crystal clear a permit is needed for this.

    So this was worth the time and effort for an investigation three months after the event (on a tip)?

    I know how long it takes to get a temporary permit in my small company (and its impossible to get an update from immigration).

    My god, she has lived here for two years, raising her two small kids on her own who go to school here. She does her US media work from here, giving Cayman a very positive image in the US.

    Seems like someone @ immigration is vindictive and power hungry. Ridiculous.

    • Anonymous says:

      Lol Single struggling mother…. LMFAO Raising her kids on her own… Who do you think you’re fooling???

    • Anonymous says:

      There are many people of color especially Caymanian men and women living on island that are struggling. Are you saying it’s ok for them to break the law? Seems the law is only good for certain class of people. Is that what you are trying to say?

      • Anonymous says:

        People of color? Please don’t bring that garbage american culture here. We are all one people. Until you realize that and stamp out that way of thinking we will never get were we want to be.

        • the truth spitter says:

          ahhhhhhh! everything else American is ok! Trans, Gay, LGBTQ+, Feminism but lets not talk about the Caymanian people of color! hmmmmmm Maybe its time we start to push this agenda also, because 90% of second and 3rd generation caymanians are people of color! We need representation also, in the law firms, in the accounting firms, in the development firms, in the real estate firms, the recruitment agencies! WHERE ARE THE PEOPLE OF COLOR?

    • Anonymous says:

      And did she have a work permit for her “US Media” work from here. This was the ONE event they obviously got to stick. SHE consistently did “paid” events while she was here.

      Oh… and struggling single mother with two nannies! She wasn’t here to save us… she was here because life was easier and safer here than in LA.

  9. Skinny Dibby Doo says:

    Wow yet a certain telecommunications providers here does all kind of immigration Illegal Wuk and not a word even when reports were made people still operating here without permits overseas contractor using a property manager of Condo site to do logistics and site delivers of communication equipment and we hounding a lady for a cooking show wow WTF ! jeeezum this place is really F@#% up Oh WoW! WORC Must not have anything to do . Check da Minister

  10. Anonymous says:

    Why would they bother with this? The abuse this poor woman has gone through is terrible. The allegations against her husband if true show that he is literally a beast. A monster who walks amongst us. Some people just want to revictimize her. A loving mother who is doing what is beast for her children. Anyone ever see Arnie around? I guess not and for good reason it seems.

  11. Anonymous says:

    for the great christian community of cayman…ask yourself this…what would jesus do?

  12. Anonymous says:

    storm in a tea cup…. protocols followed, fine issued…time to move along

  13. Anonymous says:

    Who is the head of the Ritz-Carlton and was that individual aware of this arrangement? If so, they should be held accountable for this debacle.

  14. Anonymous says:

    Kind of not worth the time and effort of the CBC and the courts. Drive over to Rubis on Eastern Avenue around 7am and there are plenty of illegals looking for cash work who get hired by companies here and paid cash at the end of the day. Nothing is done about this. Ms Chambers didn’t take food off someone’s table, can quite easily support herself and her kids and its not like she was getting paid a salary is it. Come in Cayman. Let’s open our arms instead of closing the doors.

  15. Anonymous says:

    “…the spirit of helping stimulate local business during a time when tourism was nonexistent“

    Horse dead cow fat?

  16. Anonymous says:

    This is complete overkill. She put on a one-time, two-hour cooking demo and received a discounted rate. Was she taking work away from Caymanians who put on a cooking demos?

    She is a regular on Food Network and appears on the Today Show seen by millions. She has 250,000 Instagram followers that favorably portray the Cayman Islands the last two years. She has two young kids that go to school here.

    How many weeks/months would it have taken to get this two-hour permit???

    • Anonymous says:

      So we treat someone with that kind of exposure as a criminal – better hope she doesn’t decide to make some sarcastic comments about Cayman on her show or social media. But not to worry – sure all the exposure Kenny got with the handbag deal will balance it out.

    • Anonymous says:

      Thats how it starts. DO you know what a stream is?

  17. Anonymous says:

    Correction: Armie Hammer didn’t just visit Cayman as a child, he lived here for several years. He went to Grace Christian Academy school and lived in Vista Del Mar.

  18. Anon says:

    Who cares? Not me. There are real crimes occurring…daily. So some one got a discounted hotel rate! Call in SWAT. Thank god she wasn’t using a plastic straw.

  19. Anonymous says:

    Skyler walked so others could run. Hero status achieved.

  20. Anonymous says:

    Elizabeth Chambers is beautiful. 😁

    • Angus says:

      From reading the posts on here. I got the clear impression that laws were not enforced. But every day I read the opposite.

      The courts have to build more court rooms to accommodate the criminal cases. That should be a dead giveaway.

      I talk to contractors and they complain of planning enforcement.

      Now we read of this case.

      What is really going on?

      • Anonymous says:

        Yeah, the Attorney General has been failing miserably at his job functions.

        How can CIG function with sub par legal advice?

      • Anonymous says:

        Thank goodness planning is starting to enforce! FFS these are homes that should be built to code and SAFE to protect people and CHILDREN!

    • Anonymous says:

      A couple of pattys wouldn’t hurt though.

  21. Anonymous says:

    “Anonymous tip”🤣🤣🤣🤣. I got a big bag of baking soda for anyone who can guess who that might be.

  22. Bobo Fett says:

    Attractive, rich, celebrity, connected. Just another day on the third rock from the sun.

  23. Anonymous says:

    Fair cop. Now will all concerned have to follow the law every day? Or is that one of occasional show trials to pretend we have laws?

  24. Anonymous says:

    Wow, great job by WORC, they really cracked this case wide open. What is the status on the the group of men waiting on Eastern Avenue every morning looking for work, who holds their WP’s?

    • Anonymous says:

      War against the poor and celebrity worship. Cool

      • Anonymous says:

        Except the legitimate contractors who follow the rules, pay permits, pay insurance, pay pension, pay vacations and sick pay have to compete against the illegitimate who don’t follow the rules and pay nothing.

        Thanks for playing the class warfare game.

  25. Anonymous says:

    Good to see the law enforced, for once!

  26. Anonymous says:

    ‘She has been living here since the coronavirus pandemic lockdown in 2020 and has since set up a company, for which she now has a permit.’

    How has she been living here for two years if no official Cayman documents? Caymanian 60% partner in business?

  27. Anonymous says:

    WOW, great job!!!!!!!

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