False work certificate investigated

Guard lied about employment

A security guard who presented a false certificate of employment five years ago pleaded guilty in Summary Court last week to offences against the Immigration Law.

Ronwel Barreto, 33, was fined $400. Magistrate Margaret Ramsay-Hale said she had to mark the court’s displeasure in people telling lies.

Barreto admitted that in 2002 he allowed a false representation to be made on a work permit application. He did this by submitting a security certificate purporting that he had been employed with a security company in Goa, India, although he had no such experience.

Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn said that once a temporary work permit was issued on the basis of the false certificate, further permits were issued for Barreto based on the same certificate. She added that he made full admissions when interviewed, including where the certificate came from.

The magistrate looked through his file and said Barreto had conducted himself properly on the job. A letter submitted on his behalf showed that a school administrator had specifically asked for him to be re-assigned there because he was so capable.

The magistrate wondered why Barreto had used a false certificate, ‘since he has all this ability and has not disappointed employers’ expectations’.

Mrs. Gunn told the court there had been an investigation and other people were also charged. Defence Attorney Lloyd Samson said it appeared everyone involved came from Goa. He explained that certain individuals already in Cayman were aware of friends or extended family members in economic distress at home. Those in India were told they could obtain employment here.

Barreto was not aware until after he got here that the employment would be obtained by a false certificate, Mr. Samson told the court.

The magistrate wondered how long it would take to repay the agent who exploited people wanting to come here.

Mr. Samson said it takes long. The people who owe are in fear of not being able to pay and in fear of repercussions on their family at home.

‘I’m just very sorry,’ the magistrate said. ‘The court is aware of the economic need that drives the majority of the guest worker population. He is driven to seek a better life because of conditions at home.’

She said she was not sure it would have been necessary for Barreto to tell Immigration he had previous experience in order to get a permit.

Barreto’s three offences were allowing the false representation to be made by his employer, using an irregular document and making the false representation himself.

He also pleaded guilty to aiding and abetting the commission of an offence by submitting a fraudulent certificate for the purpose of obtaining a work permit for another individual. This offence occurred in November 2005. According to a summary of facts, another man had obtained a false certificate in an effort to get a work permit; he passed it to Barreto and Barreto passed it on to the employer.

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