Senior immigration officer accused of harboring illegal immigrant

Raid nets arrests for attempted murder, guns, drugs

A senior Cayman Islands immigration officer, accused of harboring an illegal immigrant, was among five people arrested during a police raid Thursday morning in Savannah.

Royal Cayman Islands Police officers arrested the three men and two women during a dawn operation that recovered a firearm, some ammunition and an unspecified quantity of ganja, according to a police statement.

One of the men arrested, a 30-year-old from the Bahamas, was suspected of having illegally landed in Cayman, and it was alleged by police that this man was being harbored by the senior immigration official.

The immigration officer, a 57-year-old woman who had not been charged by press time Thursday, was arrested on suspicion of “knowingly assisting an illegal immigrant to remain in the Cayman Islands,” an immigration offense. She was also arrested on suspicion of unlicensed firearms possession and drugs possession with intent to supply.

Ministry of Home Affairs officials indicated that the immigration officer remained in police custody Thursday and that she would be suspended with pay for the time being.

A joint statement about the incident was released Thursday afternoon by the deputy governor and the ministry regarding the arrest: “Given the very serious nature of the allegations, the officer will be placed on required leave while the matter is being investigated.”

“We thank the RCIPS for their vigilance as the arrest demonstrates a resolve to tackle illegal activities, whomever the suspects. Any progression of this matter will follow natural rules of justice as we note that an arrest on suspicion indicates early stages of an investigation.”

Immigration Department officials did not respond to Cayman Compass requests for comment when contacted Thursday.

In addition to the immigration officer and the undocumented Bahamian immigrant, two men from Bodden Town district – ages 19 and 22 – were arrested on suspicion of attempted murder during the early Thursday raid.

The attempted murder allegation is believed to relate to an incident that occurred Tuesday in Prospect, George Town. According to police, shots were fired in the predawn hours at an apartment on Omega Drive. The apartment was fired on from outside the building, but no one was hurt, officers said.

“[The Thursday morning] operation came about as a result of diligent and skilful police work in recent days into an incident early Tuesday morning in which shots had been fired at a residence on Omega Drive in the Prospect Area of George Town,” the police statement noted.

The two Bodden Town men were also arrested on suspected possession of an unlicensed firearm and possession of ganja with intent to supply.

The fifth person arrested in the Thursday morning raid was a 21-year-old woman from Bodden Town, also on suspicion of possession of an unlicensed firearm and ganja possession with intent to supply.

The senior Immigration Department official’s arrest is the latest in a string of incidents since 2013 involving top-ranking officials there. Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans remains on paid leave over a suspension from the department in December 2014 on allegations of administrative offenses. Her case has yet to be resolved.

Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Garfield “Gary” Wong was charged with DUI, careless driving and leaving the scene of an accident in connection with a December 2013 traffic incident. His case has never proceeded to trial. The Immigration Department’s former director of boards and work permits, Kim Davis, was removed from her position following allegations she had put incorrect information on a work permit application.