Cabinet allowed immigration scammer to remain in Cayman

Paul Anthony Hume Ebanks, who was convicted Tuesday of taking money from victims he conned in an immigration status scam, had been given special permission to remain and work in the Cayman Islands by Cabinet in early 2012.

“His permission to remain in the Cayman Islands will likely be reviewed again as a result of his conviction [this week].”

The permission to remain, referred to as a “governor’s permit” during the course of Ebanks’s criminal trial, was given following a 2006 criminal conviction for obtaining property by deception in connection with an earlier immigration status scam.

The permit authorizing Ebanks to remain and work in Cayman was signed on Jan. 30, 2012 by former islands Governor Duncan Taylor. However, Deputy Governor Franz Manderson confirmed this week that before Mr. Taylor signed that permission, an application to remain had been made to – and was approved by – Cabinet members. The Cabinet members who approved the application were members of the former United Democratic Party government. [*]

Mr. Manderson said such special permission, while not a “common occurrence,” can and does happen in certain cases.

“His permission to remain in the Cayman Islands will likely be reviewed again as a result of his conviction [this week],” Mr. Manderson said.

Mr. Manderson said he did recall the application for Ebanks’s special permission to remain coming before Cabinet at around that time (early 2012) and noted that regard would have been required to be paid to Ebanks’s personal circumstances.

At trial it was revealed that Ebanks, now 50, came to Cayman from Jamaica when he was 6 years old and received a grant of Caymanian status through his relationship with his stepfather, who is Caymanian, when he was 16 and still a minor. However, like hundreds of other island residents, Ebanks never “regularized” his immigration status as a Caymanian upon reaching the age of the majority (18) and told the court he did not know he was even required to do that.

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Section 82 of the Cayman Islands Immigration Law makes someone a prohibited immigrant if they are not Caymanian and they have committed a criminal offense for which the prison sentence exceeds 12 months.

In Ebanks’s earlier criminal case, he was convicted in 2006 and released from prison in September 2011, according to court records. The governor’s permit allowing him to remain was issued several months later.

Under section 63 of the Immigration Law: “The Cabinet may issue a permit for the landing [allowing to stay in the islands] of any person to the islands, and such person shall be admitted accordingly upon such terms as may be specified in the said permit.”

Governor Helen Kilpatrick’s office was contacted for comment on the matter this week. Officials noted Ebanks has now lived in Cayman for more than 40 years and has a family. A deportation ruling in such a case could give rise to human rights issues under the Cayman Islands Constitution Order (2009), which guarantees, among other things, the right to private and family life.

Mr. Manderson said it was not his understanding that Ebanks would fall into the category of being a “landless migrant” since he does have earlier ties to Jamaica.

 

[*] Editor’s note: Story changed to reflect that the highlighted sentence was not stated by the deputy governor.

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