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Vincentian in Canada calls for refugee symposium


A call has been made for the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines to hold a Symposium in Toronto, Canada to address the negative publicity created by newspaper articles in Toronto and on the Internet, following allegations by refugee claimants that domestic violence in their native SVG forced them to flee to Canada.{{more}}

Wade Kojo Williams, Sr., a longtime community activist in Canada and a former President of the National Council of SVG Organisations in Canada, said his calls were made in communications with SVG Consul General in Toronto (Canada) and Elson Crick, Communications Consultant in the SVG Prime Minister’s Office.

He also wants the SVG government to hold information and awareness community meetings on the issue throughout SVG.

“I believe these bogus refugee claims and the negative publicity generated in Canada and elsewhere could have serious negative consequences for SVG in the areas of immigration, tourism, trade and investment and by extension the country’s economy”, Williams said.

He warned that unless this spate of bogus refugee claims is checked, Vincentians travelling to Canada may first have to secure visas.

Williams, who served as a community immigration consultant in Manitoba, wants Prime Minister Gonsalves to take this matter up with the Canadian Immigration Minister and Prime Minister Stephen Harper, with urgency.

He believes the Toronto Symposium should bring together leaders and other members of the SVG-Canadian community in Toronto, Ottawa and Montreal, along with Canadian Immigration officials, qualified resource persons and other stakeholders.