Immigration: ‘Zero tolerance’ for employee misconduct

Eight immigration staffers serving suspensions

Following the arrest of three immigration employees in connection with a bribery investigation last week, the department attempted to ease public concerns with the release of a lengthy public statement Sunday evening.

The Immigration Department leadership said the three arrests demonstrated a “zero tolerance” policy the department has regarding employee misconduct and unlawful behavior.

“These arrests came about as a direct result of the Immigration Department following the correct procedures and bringing suspected wrongdoers to the attention of the authorities for proper investigation,” Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith said.

The Sunday statement gave no details of the ongoing investigation beyond what was released last week. The Cayman Compass had already confirmed from other sources that three immigration employees had been arrested, along with two others.

Government sources told the newspaper that more arrests were expected in connection with the probe, which involved alleged bribes paid to officials in exchange for various services the immigration department provides.

The three employees arrested in the Anti-Corruption Commission probe are among eight immigration staffers now on required leave – suspended with pay – for “various reasons,” according to Mr. Smith.

Others include Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans, who has faced potential disciplinary action following her suspension in December 2014. Ms. Evans, who faces no criminal allegations, has never had the administrative accusations against her resolved.

Also suspended is Assistant Chief Immigration Officer Jeannie Lewis, who faces allegations of assisting an illegal migrant to remain in the Cayman Islands.

Deputy Chief Immigration Officer Garfield Wong, who is also before the traffic court in connection with a DUI case, remains on the job.

Mr. Smith’s statement released Sunday indicates that more than 160 people work at the Immigration Department. These employees were responsible for more than 500 arrests alleging various immigration offenses during 2016, as well as the collection of $400,000 in administrative fines during the year.

“The people of the Cayman Islands rely on us to stop dangerous people from entering the country, prevent illicit, dangerous goods such as drugs and weapons from reaching their communities and take effective action against those who break our rules,” Mr. Smith said. “We cannot and will not let them down.”


  1. Of course there should be zero tolerance of criminal acts.

    But it would be good if that zero tolerance didn’t carry with it some two years of fully paid leave while a case winds its way through the legal system.

    This type of case should be fast tracked within 6 months and if the defendant uses excessive delaying tactics they should lose their “right” to pay while suspended.

    People have the right to be considered innocent until proven guilty. But that guilt or innocence must be decided quickly. Especially if the taxpayer is footing the bill.

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