US television personality Elizabeth Chambers and The Ritz-Carlton Grand Cayman have paid an undisclosed fine, after Chambers was charged for working at one of the hotel’s cocktail parties without a work permit.
Chambers, 39, was formally charged with one count of engaging in gainful occupation without a work permit, contrary to section 68 (1) of the Immigration (Transition) Act (2021) Revision.
According to court documents, the charge stems from an incident on 25 March 2021, when Chambers is said to have hosted an event called ‘Sweets and Cocktails’ at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel.
Court documents say local authorities received an anonymous tip three months after the cocktail party.
“Specifically, she was said to have hosted the aforementioned event of which tickets had been on sale for $40.00 to $50.00 per person,” state the court documents.
The documents go on to say that, in July, the Ritz-Carlton submitted a signed affidavit in which it stated that it had not intended to employ Chambers without a work permit and that their intention was for her to be an “independent contractor”.
“On Sub Section 7 of their affidavit, it also states that in exchange for Ms Chambers’ service at the event she would be provided with a discounted rate to stay in the hotel on a long-term basis,” reads the court documents. “This forms the basis for the charge of Ms Chambers working without a work permit as her “reward” for hosting the event was a reduced cost in accommodations.”
Section 68 (1) of the Immigration (Transition) Act states that anyone who is convicted of working without a work permit “is liable on summary conviction in respect of a first offence to a fine of five thousand dollars and to imprisonment for one year”.
Before Chambers could enter a plea to the charge, the case was discontinued by the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions.
“Both parties are said to have paid the Administrative Fines before the court date and therefore there was no legal basis to continue the matter,” said a member of the ODPP.
The court documents revealed that in July of 2021 Chambers secured a work permit under a company called Palm Productions Ltd as a sales and marketing trainer.
In response to a request for comment, the Ritz-Carlton told the Cayman Compass, “As a matter of privacy, we do not comment on any individual or group”.
A representative for Elizabeth Chambers told the Compass, “Elizabeth did not accept any monetary incentives or alternative forms of compensation for her partnership with The Ritz-Carlton. The event mentioned was organised in the spirit of helping stimulate local business during a time when tourism was nonexistent. She views the opportunity of being able to live in the Cayman Islands as a privilege, and has only ever sought to create ways to assist the community.”
Editor’s note: The headline on this story has been updated to reflect the case was discontinued after administrative fines were paid.
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