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Eustace: Why are people leaving SVG in these numbers?

Eustace: Why are people leaving SVG in these numbers?

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Top officials of the New Democratic Party (NDP) are claiming that they have given assistance to persons seeking refugee status in Canada.{{more}}

During a press conference at party headquarters at Richmond Hill on Wednesday, November 16, Opposition Leader and president of the Party Arnhim Eustace said that he has assisted persons requesting letters, which they could use in support of their application for refugee status in Canada.

“A lot of people ask me for letters on the state of the economy…. There is hardly a week that I am not approached by somebody who wants a letter understating the state of the economy…. We have economic circumstances which are causing people to leave.”

“While on the one hand they say we are working here to improve the economy, the fact is that we have three years when the economy has not grown and we are into our fourth year….”

Eustace, referring to an article published in Canadian newspapers, noted that St. Vincent and the Grenadines was ranked number eight in the top ten countries whose nationals are seeking refugee status in Canada.

Admitting that he believes some of the claims could be fraudulent, Eustace also contends that there are some true accounts.

“Even if you say some of them are false, why are people leaving St. Vincent and the Grenadines in these kinds of numbers? Something has to be wrong in St. Vincent and the Grenadines in relation to that.”

Eustace said that although he may have written letters to support persons on economic grounds, he has never written letters for persons who claim to be victims of domestic violence.

“I would have to know the person very well to do that.”

Also admitting to assisting persons seeking refugee status was Parliamentary Representative for Central Kingstown St. Claire Leacock, who said that he had prepared letters for young men, especially from his constituency, who were involved in gang related activities, and were in fear of losing their lives.

“I have assisted young men in Central Kingstown to leave St. Vincent and the Grenadines for other countries because their lives have been threatened. That can be supported by evidence before the court.”

Leacock stated that in his letters, among other things, he highlighted why it would be in the best interest of the men that they do not return to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

In the article referred to by Eustace, former General Secretary of the New Democratic Party and current Public Relations Officer of the St. Vincent and the Grenadines Human Rights Association Jeannie Ollivierre is reported as seeing as many as 50 domestic abuse victims a week, and having paid for female victims of domestic violence to flee to Canada.

Up to press time, efforts by SEARCHLIGHT to contact Ollivierre proved futile. (JJ)

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