Four Jamaican nationals appeared in court #1, Freeport Magistrate’s Court, before Deputy Chief Magistrate Debbye Ferguson on Monday, July 8 answering to charges of Overstaying
Janice Thomas, from St. Elizabeth, Jamaica was charged with Overstaying, contrary to Section 28 (1 and 3) of Immigration Act1. Ferguson informed Thomas that is was alleged that on July 7, she was found in Freeport, Grand Bahama, after the expiration of a permit to reside, which was granted to her on June 27, 2018 which subsequently expired on May 6, 2019.
Thomas was questioned by Ferguson whether or not she understood the charges, to which she responded, “Yes ma’am.”
Asked whether she was guilty or not of the charge, Thomas’ response was, “guilty.”
Ferguson questioned Thomas if she had anything to say with respect to the charge before her, she then proceeded to inform the court that her daughter in Jamaica had purchased a one-way ticket for her to return to her country of birth the following day (July 9).
The magistrate asked Thomas to show proof of her statement, which she was unable to do; however, she told the court she could call her daughter in Jamaica to confirm that her ticket to leave The Bahamas was purchased.
She was subsequently fined $1,900.00 cash, which was to be paid by 3:00 p.m. on July 9 or serve one year imprisonment.
Additionally, her husband Everton Greene, also found on Polaris Drive in Freeport and also of St. Elizabeth, Jamaica was charged with Overstaying contrary to Sections 28 (1 and 3) of the Immigration Laws of The Bahamas.
Magistrate Ferguson furthered that it was alleged that on July 7, he was found in Freeport after the expiration of his Work Permit granted by the Director of Immigration on June 27, 2018 and expired on January 6, 2019.
Green was asked if he understood the charges to which he responded, “Yes ma’am.”
She continued, “Guilty or not?”
He responded, “Guilty with explanation.”
Again, she questioned whether he was guilty of the charge for which he appeared before her?
He replied, “Guilty.”
Following the particulars read by the prosecution, Ferguson afforded Greene the opportunity to speak.
Noting that he had switched jobs, Greene claimed that he hired the services of a local consulting firm to carry out the necessary paper work to re-apply for the extension on his work permit, where he had surrendered all of his relevant documentation to the firm.
Ferguson questioned whether he had received a receipt from the firm stating that he had paid for the services and what the services entailed. He informed the courts that he received a receipt but was not in possession of it at the time.
Additionally, the heavy-duty diesel mechanic also informed Ferguson that he had an injured left thumb, for which he was seeking medical treatment at the Rand Memorial Hospital and was scheduled to have surgery.
She questioned the prosecution if they were aware of the scheduled surgery to his hand, to which she was informed by the prosecution that at the time Greene was picked up on Polaris Drive along with his wife, he did not inform them of such.
Greene was subsequently fined $2,000 to be paid no later than 3:00 p.m. on July 9 or serve one year imprisonment.
Upon hearing her husband’s fate, Janice Thomas became extremely emotional and appeared to be in distress and was escorted from the courtroom by a BID officer. She returned a few minutes later, standing alongside her husband and the other two males charged with similar offences.
Anthony Gayle was also taken into custody by Bahamas Immigration Department (BID) officers on July 7 on Polaris Drive, after found to be in breach of Overstaying, contrary to the Immigration Laws of The Bahamas.
Gayle pled guilty to the charges levied against him.
He also informed the court that he too had surrendered all of his documentation to a local consulting firm, as Greene had claimed to have done; however, the renewal application was not completed prior to his work permit expiration.
He was subsequently fined $2,500 or serve one year imprisonment.
Sebert Wilson, Jamaican national of Westmoreland, was also charged with Overstaying, contrary to Section 28 (1 and 3), punishable under 49 (1) of the Immigration Act under the Laws of The Bahamas.
“You were found on July 7, 2019 at Freeport, Grand Bahama, after the receipt of a refusal letter on November 1, 2018, issued by the Director of Immigration, on October 30, 2018, granting you 28 days to wind up your affairs and leave The Bahamas,” Ferguson told the accused.
Wilson pled guilty to the charge and was fined $2,000 to be paid by 3:00 p.m. or serve one year imprisonment.
During the conclusion of the arraignment Magistrate Ferguson told the defendants, “May I say to all of you, you have had the opportunity to work in my country. On the expiration of your permits or before the expiration of your permits, see if you can apply for a new permit; you have waited until the last lap to do things.”
Thomas, Greene and Gayle were informed that following the payment of the fines or their one year imprisonment, they would be deported to their country of birth.
The prosecution, however, requested that Wilson not be deported until his affairs in the country were complete.