Immigration scam aired

After pleading ‘guilty with explanation’ to the charge of overstaying, a Jamaican national was fined $50.

Magistrate Nova Hall indicated she was imposing this sentence because the defendant had been ‘taken in’ by someone who had said he could get her a job and an extension.

Nadene Beatrice Baccas, 25, told the court she had given her passport, $300 and a medical to a man she named. She did so after she applied to Immigration for an extension and it was refused.

Baccas said the man told her he would get her a job and an extension stamp. He told her ‘an Immigration lady’ wanted a baby sitter and could get the time for her.

After she gave the man the $300, she got sick and was in hospital, Baccas continued. She said she did not work.

When she spoke to the man, he said not to worry because the Immigration lady had put a month’s time in her passport and an application for a work permit was in.

Baccas said she never spoke to the lady directly.

According to the Crown’s summary of facts, she had arrived in Cayman on 1 May and was given time until 22 May. On 23 May she sought an extension and was refused. On 24 August, she went to the Immigration Department to make a report against the man who had her passport.

‘Her tale does have a ring of truth,’ the magistrate commented.

Senior Crown Counsel Adam Roberts pointed out that Baccas went to the man after she was told by Immigration to leave.

The magistrate agreed, but observed that the man had invoked someone in authority – the ‘Immigration lady’ – so Baccas’ reaction was not that strange.

Mr. Roberts said he understood that steps were in place so that offenders like the man named could be brought to justice.

He said he did not wish to insult the defendant, but it was of great concern that gullible and simple people were being deceived this way. Moreover, it seemed to be happening on a regular basis.

People like Baccas were handing over hard-earned money to people who were not authorised to receive it. Then they lost their money and had no recourse.

Baccas said the man had told her that the lady had said she had to pay for her own permit. ‘I didn’t know. I tried to do the right thing,’ she declared.

It was in all these circumstances that eh magistrate imposed the fine. She pointed out that when Immigration officially told Baccas she could not have more time, she should have gone home. There was a chance someone would have put in a permit for her and she could have come back.

‘At this point, you do have to leave the Island,’ the magistrate concluded.

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