Ganja will cost work permit

The consequences of a criminal conviction were brought home to two foreign nationals in Cayman on work permits.

Kerrondy Leopold Lewis and Andrew Forrest Anderson, both Jamaican nationals, appeared in Summary Court last week along with five Caymanians. All seven had been charged with either consuming ganja or refusing to provide a specimen of urine for testing.

One of the Jamaicans apologised to the court and said he realised he had made a mistake.

Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale said that when the Caymanians made a mistake it didn’t cost them their jobs. ‘It will cost you yours,’ she said.

Cayman does not give work permits to people with criminal convictions, she pointed out.

The man indicated that his permit was up in September.

‘You will never get another one,’ the magistrate told him.

‘I am the breadwinner for my family,’ the other Jamaican told the court. The magistrate said he should have thought of that before he consumed the ganja.

A $500 fine plus costs of $150 plus his job was a heavy price to pay for a temporary high, she said.

The seven defendants were arrested on 17 July in George Town.

One defendant, Roger A. Moore, told the court that when the police officer came, they were outdoors talking. One man got caught with a draw of weed and the officer took everybody in.

The magistrate pointed out that, under those circumstances, the officer had the right to arrest them on suspicion of consumption.

She warned that consumers of ganja are as guilty as the man who supplies it. Those who by their purchasing of ganja cause it to be brought to the island should also be dealt with seriously. Repeat offenders should either be in treatment or in custody.

For consumption of ganja, Moore, Daniel Steven McFarlane and Jason Lee Donalds-Barnes were each fined $500 plus $150 costs.

Shavonda Tulloch was fined $450 for failing to provide a specimen for testing. She said she had just gone to the area for a cigarette. The magistrate told her she should have just provided the sample; if it came back negative she would not have been brought to court.

Sophia Maria Bush had her matter adjourned.

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