By NICO SCAVELLA
Tribune Staff Reporter
FIVE foreign women—three Venezuelans, a Guyanese, and a Jamaican—were collectively fined $5,000 for overstaying in the Bahamas, with the Jamaican woman said to have worn out her welcome by almost two years.
Jamaican national Terrian McPherson, Venezuelan nationals Beatriz Castro, Yanneris Caicedo and Deymilis Aragor, along with Guyanese native Chelsea Alexander were fined $1,000 each by Acting Deputy Chief Magistrate Subusola Swain after admitting to overstaying.
McPherson was landed at Lynden Pindling International Airport (LPIA) on June 30, 2017 for eight days. However, she admitted to not applying for an extension and ended up overstaying by one year and eight months at the time of her arrest.
Castro overstayed by some nine months and tried to use the excuse that her passport was stolen on July 25, 2018 as the reason she overstayed. However, it was revealed that she reported her stolen passport to police some two months after she overstayed.
The acting deputy chief magistrate did not believe her story in any event, asserting that Castro likely figured it was “safer” to report her passport as stolen so that in the event she was picked up, she would have a sound alibi.
Conversely, the senior magistrate said if Castro’s passport was in fact stolen, she could have applied for an emergency travel certificate from her embassy.
“If she intended to leave, she would have gotten one. Everybody knows about emergency travel certificates,” the acting deputy chief magistrate said.
They each must pay the fines or serve nine months in prison.
Another five women, namely Beatriz Marquez, Mallesia Cadogan, Tavanna Bennett, Tameka Clair and Tomay Clarke, were similarly fined $1,000 apiece for being caught with fraudulent extension stamps in their respective passports.
Those women, who hail from Venezuela (Marquez), Guyana (Bennett and Cadogan) and Jamaica (Clair and Clarke), were all apprehended during “Operation Lockdown” conducted by Department of Immigration and police officers at the Sugar Hill nightclub on Thompson Boulevard on Saturday.
During that operation, Marquez, who entered the country legally on December 24, 2018 and was admitted for one month, was found to have two fraudulent visitor extension stamps in her passport, both of which were previously issued to two Jamaican nationals on January 2 and 3.
There were also other elements of the two stamps that showed they were fraudulent.
When questioned by the acting deputy chief magistrate as to how she got the fake stamps, Marquez, with the assistance of a translator, said she met someone in this country who told her they would help her with getting them. When asked why she didn’t go to the immigration directorate herself to make an application, she said she didn’t know about that option.
Meanwhile, a review of Cadogan’s passport by law enforcement officials showed that she entered the country legally on December 7, 2018 as a visitor and was admitted for one week. She subsequently got an extension to stay in Nassau on December 15 that would last up to January 13, 2019.
However, her passport showed two fraudulent visitor extension stamps, one of which was previously issued to a Jamaican woman, and the other was never issued because the number associated with it does not exist.
When asked by the acting deputy chief magistrate where she got the stamps from, Cadogan said she got them from a friend named “Brian”, and that she had no idea they were fake.
Bennett, Cleare, and Clarke meanwhile each entered the country via legal means between December and February, but were each found with fraudulent visitor extension stamps in their passports. The one found in Bennett’s passport was previously issued to a Cuban man; the one in Cleare’s passport was previously issued to a Polish minor; while the one found in Clarke’s passport was previously issued to a Russian native.
Each woman admitted to the offence and were consequently fined $1,000 or otherwise serve nine months in prison and the fraudulent stamps were ordered cancelled. All women are to be turned over to immigration officials upon the payment of their fines or the completion of their sentences.
Immigration officers Avia Beckford and Shandeshia Marshall prosecuted the matters.