Alleged fraudulent work permit for ‘Intence’ investigated

A screenshot of the 24 June live performance of Tashawn 'Intence' Gabbidon.
Workforce Opportunities and Residency Cayman has initiated an internal investigation after claims that a temporary work permit was fraudulently obtained, that allowed Jamaican dancehall artist Tashawn Gabbidon, known as ‘Intence’, to perform in Cayman in June.

“Intence should not have been allowed to perform in Cayman,” Jean-Eric Smith, the president of the Cayman Music and Entertainment Association, told the Cayman Compass.

“Intence represents a sub-culture of dancehall music that is not fitting with the way we as a people in Cayman think and our morals,” Smith said. “This can be seen in his lewd lyrics which portray the degradation of women and gangster culture.”

Smith said there was once a “long-standing understanding” between CMEA and the former Immigration Department, that required travelling artists first to be endorsed by CMEA before being able to perform in Cayman. However, he believes that ‘policy’ was discontinued under the previous Progressives-led government in 2019 when the Immigration Department was transitioned into WORC.

In response to Cayman Compass queries, a WORC spokesperson said in an emailed statement, that the department’scompliance unit is investigating the matter of an allegedly fraudulent CMEA document granting permission for Intence to perform”.

Smith told the Compass an initial inquiry by the association into how Intence was granted that permission revealed that a former board member of CMEA gave the endorsement, without having the authority to do so.

“When we discovered this, we reached out to police and to WORC to prevent him from entering the country; however, at that point he was already here. So, we requested that permission for [Intence] to perform be rescinded,” Smith said.

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He eventually approached the Royal Cayman Islands Police Service, requesting the matter be investigated; he provided a redacted version of his police report to the Compass.

Email conversations between Smith and senior WORC officers shown to the Compass indicate that he communicated his concerns to them before Intence took to the stage in Cayman.

The WORC spokesperson said, “While there is no legal requirement for WORC to consult with the CMEA a consultation is done as practice. The Applicant submitted a signed letter of support from CMEA. From all accounts the letter was signed by a member of the CMEA. We also received a clean police clearance certificate and the other required documents and as such a temporary work permit was granted. Further due diligence is done on all incoming passengers and this channel also showed that there were no current criminal convictions.”

The spokesperson added, “WORC supports all efforts to strengthen the relationship between ourselves and the CMEA as we have demonstrated with our current practices.”

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