Jamaican nationals Patrick Lee Hamilton and Bernard Keith Hoilett pleaded guilty 6 March in Cayman Islands Summary Court to illegally landing their boat in Grand Cayman.
In explaining their position, the men’s attorney said they left Jamaica to buy fish from “the banks”. However, after their boat was damaged by the reef, the vessel began taking on water. The counsel said the simple trip then became a matter of life and death. Not knowing where their exact location was, he said the men began bailing out the water.
Upon arriving in Grand Cayman, the men sought help from a man at the On the Run gas station in the vicinity of Selkirk Drive in Red Bay, who alerted police to their presence. They were arrested and the boat they had travelled to Grand Cayman in was seized by authorities.
Before sentencing the men, Chief Magistrate Nova Hall asked them both if they had anything to say, at which time one of the men then told the chief magistrate that he wanted the court to know that he and his mate had not been “spotted” but were instead seeking assistance and not trying to conceal their presence.
In sentencing the men, the chief magistrate said she was taking into account their guilty pleas and the circumstances surrounding their landing.
The men were then sentenced to a term of 24 days in prison, which amounted to time served, as they had been remanded since their arrests.
The men’s boat was forfeited to the Crown and no deportation order was made. However, the Department of Immigration gave an undertaking to repatriate the men.