An employer appearing in Summary Court on Thursday entered pleas to 18 charges of failure to pay the national minimum basic wage.
James Moore, operator of Caymanite Bar and Lounge in George Town, pleaded guilty to three charges of failure to pay; guilty “with explanation” to nine charges; and not guilty to six charges.
All charges relate to periods between June 2016 and July 2017. Nine of those Moore admitted to involve the sum of $1,800 for each worker. Three involve $3,600, for a total of $27,000.
The not guilty pleas relate to allegations that six other workers are owed a total of $12,600.
Defense attorney Steve McField explained that the issue for his client was when the individual worker started employment. He did not go into detail as to the explanation for the pleas.
Senior Crown counsel Candia James said the not guilty pleas would be reviewed. She asked that Mr. McField write to the Crown the times he was suggesting that each employee started and terminated employment. She asked for two weeks to consider the matter.
Magistrate Valdis Foldats set the next mention for Tuesday, Jan. 9, to make sure everyone had enough time to do what needed to be done.
Ms. James also withdrew charges against a woman who had been listed as a co-defendant with Moore. The woman, who was represented by attorney Prathna Bodden, had said she was no longer a partner with Moore when the offenses occurred. The Crown was satisfied that this was true.
The National Minimum Basic Wage order came into effect on March 1, 2016. In general, it sets the minimum wage at CI$6 per hour gross. The basic wage for service employees is CI$4.50 per hour gross where there is a scheme for distribution of gratuities that has been approved in writing by the Director of Labor.