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Leacock says he never supported Vincentians in making false refugee claims

Leacock says he never supported  Vincentians in making false refugee claims


New Democratic Party (NDP) parliamentarian St Claire Leacock has said he never supported Vincentians in making false claims for refugee status in Canada, although he wrote letters on behalf of claimants.{{more}}

He further said that he feels justified in writing those letters, although he and NDP leader Arnhim Eustace have been criticised for doing so.

Canada in September imposed a visa requirement for Vincentians, citing unreliable travel documents and the number of refugee claimants.

“If I was asked to do it, I will do it again,” Leacock said on IKTV’s “Unrendered” on October 7.

Leacock said he represents a constituency that has its peculiarities and there have been young persons in situations where they needed to get out of the country for their own safety.

He further said the statistics suggested there was usually a mass exodus of people following a general election.

SEARCHLIGHT’s analysis of figures from Canadian officials found that the data suggest spikes in the number of refugee claims during heightened political activities in St Vincent and the Grenadines, such as the Road Block Revolution political unrest of 2000 and election years.

“And the statistics address the number based on economic circumstances,” Leacock said.

“I have not addressed very many economic circumstances, but there have been cases made for those people that there are manifestations all over of people who have been victimized,” he said.

He said that he was also victimized in that he was fired from VINLEC without a just cause and said that there were several other people like that.

Leacock said that there was a practice of victimization in the country that was on a scale that was unheard of in the history of politics in St Vincent and the Grenadines.

“So, the mere fact that 5,000 people have migrated to Canada alone in a 10-year period tells you something has to be wrong,” Leacock said.

“I am not second guessing you on that, this is factual!”

The Central Kingstown area representative further said he wrote more letters for young men and women to join the British armed forces than for refugee claims to Canada.

“I haven’t heard that said,” he said.

Leacock has previously told SEARCHLIGHT he supported about six refugee claims, but did not know if any was successful. (DD)