Senior immigration officer Joey Scott gave evidence on Thursday in the trial of five immigration officers and two civilians accused of conspiracy to commit fraud on the government by arranging payments to the officers in exchange for inappropriate assistance to candidates to pass an English language test.
Mr. Scott said he had become aware of “potential issues” regarding the manner in which the tests were being given. At the time, he was acting assistant chief immigration officer.
He was questioned in detail about one woman who was required to take the test because a work permit had been applied for for her, but she was from a country where English was not the primary language.
Mr. Scott said the woman was given one of four versions of the test on May 8, 2016. The pass mark was 75 percent, but she failed it, with a score of 21 percent.
Four days later, she was given a chance to re-sit the test, which was administered by one of the defendants. This time, the score sheet showed she had scored 75 percent.
Mr. Scott said the woman was tested again on May 31, 2016. She did two tests. This time she received 40 percent on the same test she had previously passed with 75 percent. On another version of the test, her score was lower.
The witness gave several examples of different answers the woman had given for the test that was repeated. One part of the test required the officer to ask a question and write down the answer the candidate gave. When asked by the defendant officer what month she was born in, the answer written down was the date, month and year. When Mr. Scott asked what month she was born in, the answer was “23.”
A written part of the test showed a mock calendar with days, dates and events listed. One question was, which date is between 6 and 8? In the test administered by the defendant officer, her answer was 7. In the test administered by Mr. Scott, she wrote “14.”
Questioned by defense attorneys, Mr. Scott said it was quite common for persons to be given a chance to re-sit the test, but permission had to be given by an officer at the rank of deputy chief or above. A lower ranking officer could not re-test someone without that permission.
He agreed that not all of the information about this particular candidate had been filled in when he administered the re-tests, including the time frames of the tests. He also agreed that having three officers present, as he did, was not the norm.
He said the woman had agreed to be re-tested on May 31, 2016. If she had not agreed, he would not have had much of an option because the records showed she had passed. He said he subsequently turned the tests over to investigators from the Anti-Corruption Unit.
For legal reasons, the Cayman Compass is not naming the defendants in this case.