James Harry Moore, the operator of Caymanite Bar and Lounge, was sentenced in Summary Court Monday for 17 counts of failure to pay national minimum wage and public holiday remuneration.

Mr. Moore agreed to pay a total of $31,500 in back wages and fines as part of his sentencing, and defense attorney Steve McField said that the case boiled down to a misunderstanding. Mr. Moore was not aware that the minimum wage law applied to employees in a bar or restaurant, he said.

“They made more money through the way they were employed by him than they would under national minimum wage,” said Mr. McField about his client Mr. Moore. “He apologizes again to the court. He’s willing and able to make up the difference owed to these ladies.”

Crown counsel Greg Walcolm read the facts of the case Monday and he said that the complaint centered on compensation owed to former employees of Mr. Moore on temporary work permits.

After their employment was terminated, the former employees made a complaint to the Department of Labor and Pensions and provided their bank statements. The Department of Labor and Pensions issued a request for information and confirmed that Mr. Moore had failed to pay the national minimum wage.

There were 17 employees who were affected by the case, and 13 of them were owed the sum of $1,350. The remaining four employees were owed $2,700. Magistrate Grace Donalds ordered a fine of $150 for each of the case files that were owed $1,350 and a fine of $300 on each of the files owed $2,700. Mr. Moore offered to pay $2,000 right away, and he will pay $1,500 a month until the remainder is paid.

In a separate case heard at the same time, Mr. Moore also pleaded guilty to assaulting police and leaving a motor vehicle unattended with the engine running. Mr. McField said that Mr. Moore had briefly left his car at Owen Roberts International Airport, and he pushed a police officer that had attempted to intercede.

Magistrate Grace Donalds ordered no conviction recorded on the case of assaulting a police officer. Mr. Moore will pay $500 in prosecution costs for the assault charge and $350 in prosecution costs for leaving his vehicle unattended. The magistrate gave him two weeks to pay those fines.