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Fri, Oct 19, 2012

Editor: Kindly permit me space in your newspaper to respond to an article published in your midweek issue on Tuesday, 16 October 2012, entitled “Leacock says he never supported Vincentians in making false refugee claims.” In this article, Mr Leacock stated that “he represents a constituency that has its peculiarities and there have been young persons in situations where they need to get out of the country for their own good.” He also stated that if he was asked to do it again, he would do it again.{{more}}

Mr Leacock, I will not pretend to know the peculiar situations of your constituents, neither will I pretend to know the motive behind your decision to help your fellow man. However, I do hope that before you wrote these letters on behalf of claimants that you took the time to research WHO CAN APPLY FOR REFUGEE STATUS in Canada.

Mr Leacock, before deciding to respond to the statements made in the article, I perused the Canadian government’s website for information on refugee claims. You see sir, in my viewpoint, one must have all the necessary information before writing an opinion, more so before deciding to affix his/her signature to a document.

Mr Leacock, I will tell you that I was not surprised that there were several links that directed me to ascertain WHO CAN APPLY FOR REFUGEE STATUS in Canada. Thus, for your benefit and those of the general public, I will share the following information. The Citizenship and Immigration Canada website provided the following definitions:

Convention Refugees are people who are outside their home country or the country where they normally live, and who are unwilling to return because of a well-founded fear of persecution based on:

  • race
  • religion
  • political opinion
  • nationality or
  • membership in a particular social group, such as women or people of a particular sexual orientation.

The website continues by defining a person in need of protection as a person in Canada whose removal to their home country or country where they normally live would subject them personally to:

  • a danger of torture;
  • a risk to their life; or
  • a risk of cruel and unusual treatment or punishment: Convention Refugee

(Source: http://www.cic.gc.ca/english/refugees/inside/apply-who.asp)

Mr Leacock, did you make any attempts to ascertain the facts of the claims of those for whom you wrote letters? Did you make an attempt to ascertain whether any of the claims of your constituents fell within any of the above mentioned definitions of who can apply for refugee status? If the answer to any of these questions is NO, then I am confused about the distinction you are now trying to make between writing letters on behalf of claimants versus letters that would have supported false claims for refugee status.

Mr Leacock, are you saying that you wrote letters but did not know what they were going to be used for? I sincerely hope that this last question would not be answered in the affirmative. If, in fact, it was answered affirmatively and an honest letter was used to make false claims for refugee status, I would advise you to seek the assistance of a lawyer in this regard.

Madame Editor, the incident of visa restrictions being placed on citizens of St Vincent and the Grenadines has highlighted the known saying of “PETER PAYS FOR PAUL.” In my opinion, prudency dictates that an individual should be appreciative of the facts and any resulting consequences that may flow from the dissemination of a document that contains his/her signature. For that reason, I believe that where Paul has erred significantly in his/her judgment, Paul and Paul alone should be held accountable for his/her actions or inactions.

Vincy Legal

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