‘No misconduct’ by former immigration chief Linda Evans

Retired Chief Immigration Officer Linda Evans has been cleared following an internal investigation against her that took nearly three years to resolve.

Ms. Evans has agreed to take early retirement from the civil service, according to a government statement issued Friday.

Ms. Evans’s retirement took effect Saturday, Sept. 30.

“There have been no findings of misconduct against Ms. Evans and she is retiring with a good record and thanks are extended for her years of service,” the statement, which was not attributed to any person, read.

Senior civil service officials did not comment about the situation beyond the late Friday news release.

Cayman Islands Premier Alden McLaughlin, who has oversight responsibility for the Immigration Ministry, declined to comment Saturday, stating he would discuss the issue further when Ms. Evans’s replacement was chosen.

The two-paragraph government statement did not indicate who would be Ms. Evans’s permanent replacement.

Acting Chief Immigration Officer Bruce Smith has been running the Immigration Department since Ms. Evans was placed on paid leave as of Dec. 1, 2014.

She never returned to the department following what was termed an “administrative investigation” against her.

The Cayman Compass confirmed from multiple government sources early on in the investigation that Ms. Evans’s suspension was in connection with a probe into an award of Caymanian status and other administrative matters.

At the time, the chief immigration officer was suspended under provisions of the government’s Personnel Regulations, which state: “The appointing officer (with the approval of the Head of the Civil Service if the period of leave is to be more than 30 days) may require an employee to go on required leave where the appointing officer deems it to be in the public interest for the employee to do so, and that leave shall be leave on full pay for such period as the appointing officer deems necessary.”

According to the then-Ministry of Home Affairs, the required leave provision was invoked “to allow the allegations to be investigated quickly and thoroughly.”

That statement was made in February 2015. What occurred with Ms. Evans’s case in the two-and-a-half years since then has never been made public. The only further substantive statement about the matter was released on Friday.

Premier McLaughlin made statements following the May 2017 general election indicating that immigration leadership was among the many matters the department needed to resolve going forward.

“There are significant problems there on a whole range of issues,” Mr. McLaughlin said in June. “From leadership, personnel issues, obviously issues with permanent residence, issues with the speed and efficiency with which work permits are dealt with. We’ve got to sort out immigration generally.”

In the new coalition government, the premier has been given direct responsibility for a newly formed Human Resources Ministry that includes the Immigration Department and the National Workforce Development Agency.

Mr. McLaughlin said he anticipated that the government would create a “human resources department” that would deal with “all aspects of employment in Cayman,” including the approval of work permits and finding jobs for unemployed Caymanians.

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