Cubans found with fake J’can driver’s licences
Two Cubans who were captured in Jamaica after they overstayed their time in the island said the socio-economic conditions in their country caused them to come here to purchase meat products for consumption back home.
Barbaro Mormigo and Rosa Ramos were found in Jamaica days after they were expected to depart the island and return to Cuba. They were both found with fake Jamaican driver's licences and fraudulent deed polls that showed they have changed their names.
They were charged with overstaying, two counts of forgery, conspiracy to commit forgery, two counts of uttering forged documents, attempting to obtain a passport by forged documents and making a false declaration. When they appeared in the Kingston and St Andrew Parish Court yesterday, the accused, speaking through an interpreter, said that the conditions in Cuba are dire. Mormigo said residents are forced to go without electricity for up to eight hours each day, and are required to pay high prices for food and medication.
The interpreter said that Mormigo and Ramos, who arrived in the island on September 23, came here to purchase a standby generator and meat products. They were required to leave the country by September 26.
The court heard that Ramos was found in possession of a forged Jamaican driver's licence, bearing the name Leigh-Anne Kadean Elizabeth Keen, as well as a forged deed poll that was supported by a forged birth certificate. Mormigo was reportedly also found in possession of a forged Jamaican driver's licence.
Ramos, the court heard further, was employed as a restaurant manager in Cuba while Mormigo was a mechanic and a father to two children.
"Do you like Jamaica?" Senior Parish Judge Lori-Anne Cole-Montaque quizzed.
Ramos, with the assistance of the translator, said, "Not in this moment," indicating her dilemma about being before the criminal court.
Her response, which caused laughter in the courtroom, was later clarified, stating that she enjoyed her time in Jamaica as residents were friendly towards her.
Judge Cole-Montaque in her sentencing indication, noted that while the Cubans have broken the immigration laws of Jamaica, she would consider their reasons provided for committing the offence. Instead of imprisoning the defendants, the judge imposed fines.
For overstaying, they were each fined $8,000 or three months' imprisonment and $40,000 or six months' imprisonment for each count of forgery.
On each count of uttering a forged document, Ramos and Mormigo were ordered to pay a fine of $30,000 or six months' imprisonment and for making a false declaration, they were each fined $40,000 or six-months' imprisonment.
On the charges of attempting to obtain a passport and conspiracy to commit forgery, they were admonished and discharged.