(CMR) A local taxi operator and convicted child predator has people inquiring about what standards are required to obtain a taxi license in the Cayman Islands. Gifford Prendergast (47) from East End was convicted and sentenced to five years in jail in 2009 for indecently assaulting a boy under 16.
CMR sources indicate that he had previously lost his as a result of his imprisonment but now appears to be fully operational again with the legal blessings of the Public Transport Unit.
He was a former emergency medical technician and administrator at the Health Services Authority Emergency Medical Services at the time of his arrest. Court records reflect the abuse started when the young boy was only 12-years-old and persisted for almost two years with over 50 assaults.
In addition, over 1,200 pornographic images were found on his work computer at a warehouse that also served as the location for some of the assaults. Many images depicting homosexual acts with adolescents were found on the computer.
His landlord also testified that Prendergast would take the boy into his bedroom for long periods, of time often with the door locked. Justice Henderson noted that some force was used at times and he also mentally manipulated his young victim. After receiving a five-year sentence he unsuccessfully appealed his sentence. An appeal against his conviction was abandoned beforehand.
Prendergast's victim was shocked to find out recently that he is now a taxi driver with the ability to have access to tourists and their other potential victims. Describing him as “a dangerous and manipulative man” the victim expressed that he had a panic attack when he saw him driving his white Toyota Hiace van recently in town.
Confiding with CMR he shared further details with us including the fact that his abuse actually started at age 7 but the prosecutors proceeded on what they felt they could successfully prove in court. The grooming of this victim started very early on and caused a great deal of confusion in the young man who shared that because of the way in which he was groomed he did not fully comprehend what was happening to him at such a young age.
It is unclear how long Prendergast has had his license back but our sources indicate it has at least been a number of months. He was unsuccessful in starting up an emergency medical transport business called Code 1 Transport after his license for that business was turned down because of his existing criminal record.
The local Department of Commerce and Investment requires a police clearance certificate for certain types of businesses. However, taxi operators are not required to have a license with DCI. He was initially doing courtesy bus drives and there may have an order to arrest him in those circumstances.
CMR investigative team has discovered that he also has a local courier business license as Gifford Prendergast T/A SUREWAY EXPRESS COURIERS; which he has had for a number of years now.
He now appears to have a valid taxi license despite the Public Transport Unit not responding to phone calls or emails to officially confirm his status. It is unknown what criteria are required for such a license.
The PTU falls under the Ministry of District Administration, Tourism and Transport. The Public Transport Board was appointed in 2013 for a period of one year. However, since then there has been no updates on who the board members are:
Prenderghast appears to have been released from prison some six years ago. One taxi source noted that they were certain his license was revoked because of the conviction and a previous application may have also been turned down.
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