Fine levied for lie

A Jamaican national who had held a temporary work permit was fined $100 last week for lying to an Immigration officer.

Acting Magistrate Valdis Foldats rejected a request not to record a conviction against Joy Beverly Brown, partly because she told more than one lie in her interview with officials last September.

He acknowledged that the conviction was a more significant penalty than the fine. ‘It is a consequence that she may not be able to return to the Cayman Islands, but that is what happens when you lie.

Brown, 47, had been coming to Cayman since 1985 to do domestic work. She pleaded ‘guilty with explanation’ to the charge of failing without lawful excuse to answer truthfully when questioned by an Immigration officer.

Crown Counsel Kirsty-Ann Gunn said Brown was in Cayman on a temporary permit that expired 8 October 2007. Three months earlier, her employer advised her that her services were no longer required because his girlfriend had moved in and was doing the domestic chores.

Spoken to by Immigration officers on 26 September, she said the last time she had worked for the employer was the day before.

Defence Attorney John Furniss, who was present for another matter, assisted Brown after she said she did not want to her trial to proceed without a lawyer. Mr. Furniss said Brown had lied because she was frightened. It was a stupid lie because she was still the holder of a permit when questioned, he said.

Mrs. Gunn pointed out that a temporary permit is a one-page document that clearly states conditions – without the previous consent of the Immigration Department, the permit ceases if the employment is terminated.

The magistrate said Brown was unsophisticated, but not naïve. One of the problems he was having with the case was the fact that she had been coming here since 1985. ‘She would recognise how stringent the immigration system is. Everyone is well aware we’re trying to ensure the Immigration Law is enforced,’ he said.

In addition to the fine, he ordered Brown to pay $50 in costs.