Pension cases going back to 2008 and 2010 had Magistrate Angelyn Hernandez admit on Thursday that she was “ranting.”
In the case of Donald Ira Thompson trading as Precision Landscaping, she noted that charges of failing to contribute to a pension plan for employees had been before the court for 10 years.
“I have to adjourn it again? Seriously?” she asked Crown counsel Kenneth Ferguson.
Mr. Ferguson explained that he was “trying to get what I can for the workers.”
The magistrate said the reality was that people had been waiting 10 years for their money. When the matter was repeatedly adjourned and the situation continued as “Maybe they [the employers/defendants] will pay and maybe they won’t pay, it’s making a mockery of the system,” she declared.
Either a trial date should be set or the matter should be resolved, she added.
“You know my position on these matters …. Let’s prosecute them quickly. Yes, I am ranting – because I’m upset!”
If there is a payment plan, the matter should be prosecuted first, she said.
Defense attorney John Furniss spoke on behalf of Mr. Thompson, explaining that the business owner’s argument throughout has been that the employees concerned had returned to Jamaica and he had paid them, “but not through channels.” He said the Crown had rejected the proof he presented. Mr. Thompson had then made an offer to pay a certain amount nearly two years ago.
Mr. Ferguson said the Crown had no proof of payment and even if Mr. Thompson did pay, he had done so outside the law.
The matter was set for mention again on April 26.
In the case of Brent Greene’s Gardening and Landscaping from 2010, the owner appeared in person. The magistrate was asked for an adjournment of two months.
She checked the file and said not much had been paid in eight years – “Do you think we’ll get much in two months?”
The balance owed apparently was $30,000.
Mr. Greene had made a payment in February 2018. Before that his last payment was in September 2017.
Asked his intentions, Mr. Greene replied, “I can only do what I can do.”
He added words to the effect that he guessed the court would do what it would do.
The magistrate said that attitude had developed “because we allowed this to happen. We encourage this.”
Mr. Ferguson said a date could be set for sentencing “and let the chips fall where they may.”
The magistrate set the matter for May 9.