Rankin in court for failure to pay wages

Political candidate Mario Rankin appeared in Summary Court Thursday for review of agreed payments following charges that he, trading as Sail Inn Restaurant, failed to pay various amounts of wages to a number of employees during periods of 2012-2013.

The defendant, an independent candidate for Newlands in the May general election, was first in court for this matter on Feb. 18, 2014. According to informal notes kept by the Cayman Compass, the court was told by his attorney at the time that it was just a matter of working out a payment plan.

On April 29, 2014, discussions were under way as to payments, with the first payment to be made in May 2014.

Last week, Crown counsel Eleanor Fargin said Mr. Rankin had been paying $300 per month, for a total so far of $9,000. From this amount nine employees have been paid, she told Magistrate Valdis Foldats. She said the Crown was now asking for those monthly payments to be increased to $600 to $800 per month.

The magistrate asked the defendant, “Were you in a documentary about Cayman?”

The documentary to which the magistrate was apparently referring was titled “Britain’s Trillion Pound Island,” presented by Jacques Peretti, who interviewed a number of people in Cayman for an hour-long feature that aired on BBC2 in January 2016.

Mr. Rankin replied that he did not see the relevance of the magistrate’s question. The magistrate said he would be the judge of what was relevant and indicated he would be requiring a statement of the defendant’s finances.

Mr. Rankin indicated that would be no problem, since he had made a declaration in the Legislative Assembly a few days earlier – a reference to the requirement that candidates provide information about their employment, shareholdings or directorships in companies, and landholdings.

The magistrate ordered the defendant “provide an affidavit outlining his current assets/liabilities/income from all sources in all jurisdictions by his next court appearance, “ set for April 24.

A check of the court file indicated that no pleas have been entered to the charges, which were brought under the Labour Law. Some of them pertain to “failure to pay for hours worked as per employer roster” and others pertain to “failure to pay vacation pay.”

Some employees are listed as being owed sums in both categories, so it was not immediately clear how many employees were affected. Amounts noted ranged from $443.75 to $3,616.25.

The defendant has returned to court periodically so that the payment schedule could be monitored.

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