Workers paid permits, employers fined

Operators of a janitorial business and a maintenance service were fined over $7,000 after being found guilty of receiving unlawful payment for work permits.

Nelly Venessa Jackson, 39, and Lascell Lloyd Jackson, 57, operated L and N Janitorial and L and N Landscaping and General Maintenance. Charges against them covered a period between late 2004 and early 2005.

The defendants were married at the time.

Mrs. Jackson pleaded not guilty to 12 charges of unlawful payment and eight of making a false statement – that she needed to employ a particular individual.

Mr. Jackson faced six charges.

By the close of the Crown’s case, several charges against both defendants had been withdrawn or dismissed.

The trial took place four days over a period of months. Crown Counsel Elisabeth Lees conducted the case for the prosecution.

Mr. Jackson was found guilty of two charges of receiving unlawful payment. A Jamaican national on work permit, he maintained that his wife handled all the paperwork for the businesses.

But Magistrate Nova Hall accepted evidence from one of the work permit holders, who said Mr. Jackson was present when he handed over the money. In fact, he told the court, he had handed the money to Mr. Jackson because he was the male.

The magistrate said Mr. Jackson’s status as work permit holder did not lessen his responsibilities as manager and did not render him incapable of committing the offences.

Mrs. Jackson was found guilty on six charges of receiving unlawful payment and two charges of making a false statement on permit applications.

Several witnesses gave evidence that they had approached Mrs. Jackson and asked her to take out permits for them.

Defence Attorney Keva Reid told the court that Mr. Jackson had come to Cayman in 1991. About a year before events that led to the charges, the marriage began to break down.

Mr. Jackson then found himself in difficulties because he had taken his situation for granted as he was married to a Caymanian and he neglected to do certain things regarding his tenure in Cayman. He subsequently discovered that he didn’t have a work permit any more.

Mr. Jackson has since applied for permanent residence and he holds a self-employed work permit. Because of the trial he had lost several jobs but hoped to gain employment shortly.

Mrs. Reid asked the court to consider his previous clean record and his determination to care for his children.

Mrs. Jackson, who was not represented, answered the magistrate’s questions about her present financial situation, including earnings and expenses.

The magistrate said she would impose the same financial penalty on each — $750 per offence plus $250 in costs.

For Mr. Jackson, that amounted to $1,750 and he was given two months to pay.

For Mrs. Jackson, the total was $6,250. She was given six months to pay.

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