Court case highlights immigration woes

A man who pleaded “guilty with explanation” to selling jerk chicken and jerk pork without a trade and business license had his immigration problems aired before sentencing on Wednesday.

Lascell Lloyd Jackson, 65, cooked and sold the jerked meats in order to support himself and his three Caymanian children, defense attorney John Furniss told Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez. The charge was selling the food at his residence in West Bay between Oct. 30, 2012 and Aug. 8, 2013.

Mr. Furniss explained that Jackson, a Jamaican national, has been in Cayman for 27 years. He married a Caymanian woman and the couple have three children. After 14-1/2 years, the marriage ended in 2006. Jackson then applied for residence and his application was refused. He applied for working in operation of the law; this was granted and extended until 2010.

Mr. Furniss explained that the Immigration Department said Jackson “has not regularized his situation since then.” The result was a charge of overstaying. He was charged administratively but couldn’t pay the fine. He was brought to court, where the charge was dismissed.

“He has yet to regularize his application to be here with the right to work …. Despite the length of time he has been here, he still has to ‘buy time’ [pay for extensions] as a visitor.”

The magistrate commented at one point, “If ever we failed, this is an example.”

She questioned how a man here more than 25 years could be a visitor and whether the case had fallen through the cracks of immigration. “They just don’t want to deal with it … It makes absolutely no sense,” she said.

In addition to not having a business license, Jackson also pleaded guilty to buying lottery tickets between Oct. 30, 2012 and Aug. 8. 2013.

The magistrate remarked that what Jackson had been doing was “hustling” because of his family and immigration situation. Despite these problems, he could not break the law, she told the defendant. Plus, “You’re not going to become a millionaire buying lottery.”

A third charge of disorderly conduct arose from an incident with a neighbor in September 2014. He had also been charged with threatening violence on that occasion but the charge was dismissed after trial on July 22. After pleading guilty with explanation to using inappropriate language to a woman, he admitted he had been drinking, but should have controlled himself a little better.

Noting that Jackson has no employment, the magistrate imposed 40 hours of community service for each offense, for a total of 120 hours. She emphasized that Jackson’s immigration status needs to be sorted out.

“I don’t see how we as a society can expect unemployed people to be here with children and nothing is done,” she commented.