Two top Cayman Islands law enforcement officials have now served a combined three-and-a-half years on paid leave relating to various misconduct allegations, with no sign of resolutions in their respective cases.
Dec. 1 marks the two-year anniversary of Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans being placed on required leave – paid suspension – over allegations of administrative misconduct.
Meanwhile, Deputy Prisons Director Aduke Joseph-Caesar, who was suspended in May 2015, fired in November 2015, then reinstated by a court but suspended again after she returned to work, is still on paid leave.
Ms. Evans, who has been “temporarily” replaced in her department head role by Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith, has continued to receive her six-figure annual salary during the suspension.
The Cayman Compass asked Ministry of Home Affairs officials about her status with the department two weeks ago but received no response. Ms. Evans’s attorney, Graham Hampson, also declined to comment.
At last report, the government ministry confirmed only that “the administrative process is progressing” with regard to Ms. Evans.
The last known action taken with regard to Ms. Joseph-Caesar was her second suspension in July over charges that she improperly made a covert recording of another prisons employee in that employee’s office.
Ms. Joseph-Caesar has said she does not know her current status with the prisons service, other than that she is on paid leave. Government officials have repeatedly declined to discuss the investigation involving her.
Ms. Joseph-Caesar is also receiving her salary, approximately $76,000 per year, in addition to back pay and pension contributions she received after being reinstated after she was fired.
Chief immigration officer
Ms. Evans was put on required leave as of Dec. 1, 2014 in connection with an investigation conducted by the Ministry of Home Affairs.
The ministry has previously stated that the probe relates to a “number of allegations of misconduct by the chief immigration officer, which require a full investigation.”
Acting Chief Smith has refused to comment on the issue, as has Ms. Evans. By last February, the government’s internal review had determined that the misconduct allegations against Ms. Evans were administrative in nature, meaning there were no allegations of criminal wrongdoing.
Since then, no progress in the administrative investigation has been revealed.
According to government personnel regulations, Ms. Evans’s case and any potential punitive measures will be decided by civil service managers. Those rules state that the suspended chief immigration officer must be given the opportunity to formally respond to the allegations against her.
The Compass has confirmed with multiple government sources that the suspension is in connection with an investigation into an award of Caymanian status and other administrative matters.
Ms. Joseph-Caesar was fired in November 2015 over an incident in which another prison staffer was videotaped during what was described as a covert investigation.
She was reinstated by a June 22, 2016 Grand Court order, which stated she had never been officially terminated from her post and that she “remains engaged in the position of deputy director of prisons until such time as she resigns or her employment is lawfully terminated.” The government was ordered to make back payments of salary, as well as pay for Ms. Joseph-Caesar’s attorneys, a total of $24,000.
On July 1, an email sent to prison staff managers by Director Neil Lavis indicated that the Grand Court ruling did not mean Ms. Joseph-Caesar was returning to work.
She was placed on required leave again on July 25 until the new investigation was completed, her attorney Clyde Allen confirmed.
Neither Mr. Lavis nor Ministry of Home Affairs Chief Officer Wesley Howell commented on the suspension as of press time.
Ms. Joseph-Caesar, touted as a rising star as a young Caymanian in the prison service, was terminated over her role in video recording another prison employee in that employee’s office. The camera was set up inside an air conditioning duct.
When news of the investigation became public, Mr. Lavis said it was “regrettable” that the prison employee’s privacy had been invaded. Two other prison officers were suspended in connection with the incident. It is understood that one of the officers has been reinstated and the other, the employee who was being videotaped, left the prison service following the expiry of her contract.