Work permit charges in court

Various charges relating to employment without a work permit and overstaying have been vigorously opposed in Summary Court trial that entered its third day Thursday, with the defence case ready to begin.

Allister Stanley Hayes has been charged with being engaged in a gainful occupation without permission to do and overstaying between 1 August and 6 September 2005.

In addition, Androgroup Elevators Ltd. has been charged with employment of a person without a permit. Alan Roffey, being owner of Androgroup Elevators Ltd., also faces the same charge.

Crown Counsel Scott Wilson said Mr. Hayes had been granted a temporary work permit with respect to another related company, Androgroup Ltd. That permit expired 1 August 2005.

On 28 July, an application for a full work permit had been submitted to the Department of Immigration with respect to Mr. Hayes.

However, Mr. Wilson said there was a ‘degree of ambiguity’ as to which company submitted the full work permit, Androgroup Elevators Ltd. or Androgroup Ltd.

If the permit was from Androgroup Elevators Ltd., a company that was a separate entity from Androgroup Ltd, Mr. Hayes would not have been able to continue working in the Cayman Islands while his full work permit was being processed.

‘The Crown concedes that it is correct that if Mr. Hayes had continued working for Androgroup Ltd., no offence would have been committed,’ Mr. Wilson said. ‘But he was working for Androgroup Elevators Ltd, not Androgroup Ltd.’

The Crown produced three main pieces of evidence in attempt to prove the point that Mr. Hayes was working for Androgroup Elevators: When the full permit was submitted, it was done so with a cover letter on Androgroup Elevators; Mr. Hayes was paid his August 2005 salary with a Androgroup Elevators’ cheque and; Androgroup Elevators had signed a elevators maintenance contract at Elizabethan Square and BritCay House and Mr. Hayes worked on those jobs.

During cross examination, Senior Immigration Officer attached to the Enforcement Section Gary Watler and Chief Immigration Officer Franz Manderson both testified that based on the cover letter and the way the permit was recorded on the computer screen, they believed the full work permit application was submitted by Androgroup Elevators Ltd.

Defence counsel Stephen Hall-Jones, who was instructed by Attorney Stuart Diamond, pointed out that on the application itself, the employer was listed as Androgroup Ltd., not Androgroup Elevators Ltd.

Mr. Hall Jones also pointed out that the fee for the full permit had been paid for with an Androgroup Ltd. cheque, that the receipt was issued in Androgroup Ltd.’s name, and that when the Work Permit Board eventually reviewed the permit application, it do so with respect to Androgroup Ltd. and mailed the letter advising of the outcome of the application to Androgroup Ltd.

When cross-examined, Chairman of the Work Permit Board David Ritch agreed, although he said there was some question that the permit had been submitted by Androgroup Ltd., not Androgroup Elevators Ltd..

‘As far as I’m concerned, the only applicant that could have been granted a permit on that application was Androgroup Ltd.,’ he said.

There was also question as to whether Mr. Hayes had the right to keep working while the full permit was being heard.

The law governing temporary permits was changed in the Legislative Assembly on 27 July 2005 to allow for people who had submitted full permits on the same terms and conditions as their temporary permits to continue working until the full permit success for failure was determined.

The full permit for Mr. Hayes was submitted on 28 July 2005.

However, the new law was not gazetted until 8 August, 2005, one week after Mr. Hayes’ temporary permit had expired.

Mr. Watler said in testimony that Mr. Manderson had told him the new law did not come into effect until 8 August.

Therefore, Mr. Watler said, Mr. Hayes had already committed an offence since he had been staying on the island illegally since 1 August.