Defendant tells court he is concerned about his pregnant girlfriend
Magistrate Valdis Foldats sentenced an overstayer to four months imprisonment on Tuesday, saying the courts have to send the message about how serious the offense is.
“Overstaying is a breach of border security. We have to tell other people, ‘You can’t do it,’” the magistrate told defendant Shaddeal George White.
Crown counsel Laura Manson asked that White be recommended for deportation after he serves his sentence.
He pleaded guilty to remaining in Cayman without authorization between June 26, 2013 and Oct. 15, 2014. He also pleaded guilty to working without a permit between those dates.
Ms. Manson explained that White, 39, had been in Cayman working on a permit as a carpenter and mason from 2004. His last permit expired in January 2012.
Meanwhile, he had a matter with police, but he was not convicted and his passport was returned to him in June 2013. He was supposed to go to the Immigration Department to have his passport updated as required by law, but he did not do so.
Police recently received information relating to illegal employment along West Bay Road and they conducted an operation in which White was arrested.
The magistrate asked if there was any information about the employer. Ms. Manson said no, adding that White had not been very cooperative when questioned.
The magistrate then asked White if he wanted to say anything. White replied that he had worked for the same boss his whole time here on permit. He said this boss had told him he would apply for another permit for him after he got his passport back. But then after a month had passed, the boss said he wasn’t going to, “and by that time I was one month overstaying and I was afraid to go to Immigration. It was a huge mistake I made.”
Asked what he had done to make things better, White said no boss would employ him without a permit.
“That’s good to hear,” the magistrate interjected.
White said he had worked sometimes only one day a week, sometimes two. “I’m just concerned about my girlfriend,” he told the court. He had four children back home, but his girlfriend was here and pregnant. “I would like a second chance, to take care of my child and help my girlfriend,” he said.
The magistrate said White’s mistake was not just one big one, but a mistake that continued every day: “You were here long enough. You knew the system. You shirked your responsibility.”
He said White had also acted irresponsibly by getting his girlfriend pregnant. “You’re damaging the future prospects of your child,” he said. He added that he felt sorry for the girl – “She will have to cope,” he commented.
The magistrate noted that there have been several cases in court recently similar to White’s and he referred to remarks by Magistrate Kirsty-Ann Gunn in her sentencings. Working without a permit, even on a casual basis, takes away opportunities for people who could be legally employed and it affects the economy. The overstaying was the more serious offense and, in White’s case, it was not a matter of days or a week – it was one year and four months.
Starting with a tariff of six months, he gave White full credit for his guilty plea by deducting one-third. He gave him four months for overstaying and three months concurrent for working without a permit. He also made the recommendation for deportation and, under all the circumstances, did not impose any financial penalty.