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Mon, 21 Apr 2014

Did our leaders fail us on Visa issue?

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Did both our leaders fail us?

Two years ago Amanda Noel, 29 who arrived in Canada in 2005, and her daughter Makyla, were deported back to St Lucia after the child was found by police with her father in some woods near his home. The father had allegedly refused to return the child after a visit and police were called. The mother had applied for refugee status, was turned down but awarded custody of the two-year-old by an Ontario Court.

This was one of several cases involving claims of refugee status by Saint Lucian citizens in Canada, which made not just local news, but the news in Canada and North America as well. Added to that, over the years there were a number of gripping headlines involving Saint Lucians arrested for drug trafficking and violent crimes in Toronto which has a very high West Indian population. And so, when it comes to the hot topic this week, that of the visa requirements imposed by the Canadian government on nationals of Saint Lucia, Saint Vincent and some African nations on Tuesday did it really come as a surprise as those in authority are claiming? Or did those in authority who could have done something to avert the problem simply bury their heads in the sand? Who exactly knew the situation?Former Prime Minister Stephenson King, the current PM Dr Kenny Anthony, the former Minister of Home Affairs Guy Mayers or the current Ministers of Home Affairs and Foreign Affairs Philip LaCorbiniere and Alva Baptiste? Who knew? Whatever the answer one way or the other we must deal with the Canadian issue as it obviously has far reaching implications.

So far the visa imposition has affected at least one West Jet flight which left here Thursday for Toronto. More than fifty percent of the potential passengers were Saint Lucians of which at least 70 percent were unable to travel on that flight due to the visa requirement. If the trend continues, no doubt, the airline would consider cutting down on their twice weekly flights into the island.

That aside, this week it was all about the blame game, as to who knew and who did not know what the other knew about that the visa imposition. There were claims by the Saint Lucian Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony who was sworn into office last November that he had no prior knowledge of the “sudden” visa requirement and counter claims by the Opposition Leader Stephenson King that Dr Anthony had to have known. For King’s part, he admitted that he was aware that there were problems.

On Friday, when contacted Alexcis Pavlich of the Canadian Immigration department said that “the government of Saint Lucia was notified prior to the announcement that Saint Lucians would require visas to travel to Canada.” According to the official this after months of attempts at getting the government to reduce on the number of nationals making asylum claims to Canada. The problem, it was acknowledged, had gotten worse in the last five years with more than 2,000 Saint Lucians applying for refugee status over that period—a number deemed “unacceptably high” by Canadian authorities.

From as far back as 2003, Dr Anthony had spoken out on the problems the Canadian authorities were facing with citizens of Saint Lucia and other Caribbean nationals, even stating that it would be addressed at the OECS and CARICOM levels. Said Anthony back then, “citizens of Saint Lucia and the OECS applying for refugee status in Canada on the grounds that they are being persecuted and victimized is reprehensible.”

He went on to state that the Canadian immigration department had reported an alarming number of refugee claims made by Caribbean nationals since 1999. There is however nothing on record to show what actions was taken on Dr Kenny Anthony’s part at the national level or at the regional level to address the problem.

Then in 2011 in an interview with the STAR then Saint Lucia’s Consul to Canada had this to say on the matter: “ . . . one of the issues we are faced with is that immigration authorities here (Canada) do not readily share information with us about our nationals. Most times persons arrive here on a flight from Saint Lucia, apply for refugee status and the process begins without our knowledge,” Julien said.

The former consul went on to inform us that during a meeting in December 2010 immigration concerns were discussed with Reg Williams, Director of Immigration Enforcement. “I also expressed interest in a new ‘act’ —the balance refugee reform act—which when implemented would pose great difficulties for OECS nationals seeking refugee status,” Julien warned then.

According to the then Consul General, the reform would weigh in favour of persons seeking political asylum and refugee status from places like the Middle East. Julien also said then that he had arranged a meeting in March of 2011 with Saint Lucian law enforcement, immigration and national security authorities and their counterparts in Toronto, Canada.

Acknowledging that meeting with the STAR on Friday this week, former Minister of National Security Guy Mayers promised to sift through the minutes of that meeting before giving us an “informed account.”

“What I can recall is that we discussed issues with regard to what we were doing in terms of national security and crime,” Mayers says. “At no time during my tenure am I aware that the government was written to officially about the problems that we were facing in Canada or an impending visa restriction,” he added. He said if precedence is anything to go by, in the case of England when they threatened visa requirements for Saint Lucians, “we were given the opportunity to discuss and regularize the situation.” “So I find it strange that the Canadian authorities would do something like this based on what I am hearing without first alerting local authorities,” Mayers told us. This week Ross Cadasse, vice president of the council of Caribbean association in Toronto also expressed surprise at the move during a telephone conversation. “We knew there were problems but we were of the view that the realigning of the refugee status act which would have made it more difficult for persons seeking refugee status from the Caribbean to be granted protection, would have been a better option,” Cadasse says. “In that way legitimate persons from the Caribbean, who are coming to visit relatives, for a holiday and so on, could still have had access to Canada,” he added. In an official statement the association said that they were aware that the Conservative government had concerns about refugee claims from St Lucia and St. Vincent.

“This decision has created an issue that could potentially jeopardize the Canada entry status for these islands as it did in the case of Dominica and Grenada. This is particularly troubling to us as an organization as it puts further financial hardship on persons from the Caribbean wishing to travel to Canada, who must now go to Trinidad, plus pay a fee, to obtain a visitor visa,” the statement said. “As an organization, we would have liked to see more dialogue on the issue with the Caribbean countries impacted prior to implementation, however, this sends a very clear message to persons of Caribbean descent, especially from the OECS countries here, that we need to get significantly more involved in the political process, if we are to impact change that affects us,” it ended by saying. The new visa requirements, which came into effect on Wednesday September 12, 2012 are designed, according to Canadian authorities, to help significantly reduce the risk that individuals engaged in organized crime or the trafficking of persons could gain entry to Canada. For Saint Lucia and Saint Vincent in particular a key reason for the visa imposition is said to be unreliable travel documents with criminals from these countries legally changing their names and acquiring new passports. Ironically Saint Lucia’s new machine readable passports were facilitated by the Canadian company CBN which still maintains the facility. Still with all the questions and blame game there is no official joint statement from the Prime Minister, the Minister of National Security and the Minister of Foreign Affairs as to how Saint Lucia intends to proceed on this matter.

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45 Responses to Did our leaders fail us on Visa issue?

  1. DBORAH MONROE says:

    THIS IS NO SURPRISE..GOVERMENT IS NOT TO BE BLAME PAST OR PRESENT..BUT ST LUCIANS THEMSELVES..THEY BOLDLY ABUSE THE SYSTEM AND USUALLY BOAST ABOUT IT..PETER IS NOW PAYING FOR PAUL AND PAUL IS PAYING FOR ALL

  2. Botox says:

    Kanada is entering a very bad time for it’s economy. It did something for the very first time, thousands of immigration applications which had been accepted to the next stage of approval were cancelled, and Kanada which never gives refunds, quickly paid off the irate applicants who had patiently endured many years of the application process. Health care and old age pensions are causing the country to go broke. Hence they do not any Luashan mallawahe to cause even more financial stress. Kanada is a waste of time for most humans. Expensive and boring.

    • shanna says:

      Canada is a very nice peaceful country.I may have been born in st lucia but i have called canada home for the past 16 years. Its where the heart is.I have been treated with the uttmost respect at all times unlike in st lucia which is who u know and the colour of your skin and if u are half indian or half white. AM FULLY BLACK AND LIVING MY DREAM IN THE PRAIRIES!!! FELLOW ST LUCIANS IF U NOT HAPPY GET THE HELL OUT OF ST LUCIA.

      • Botox says:

        The reason you are so happy in Kanada is because the police cannot find you in that large savannah of wheat. Try living in any of the big metropolitan areas and you will be singing a very different tune for sure. How can you live in a place that has no sea? I think you were from the countryside originally so the Prairies would be perfectly good for you along with the country music.

      • shanna says:

        BOTOX U ARE SUCH AN UNEDUCATED FOOL!!! GO TO SCHOOL!! ENOUGH SAID. EDUCATION IS THE KEY TO SUCCESS. KNOWLEDGE IS FREEDOM IGNORANCE IS SOME SERRIOUS BONDAGE!!! THINK ABOUT THAT. DAMN IDIOT!!!

        • Botox says:

          I love all that love, I must be saying something that is so true and is buried so deep under the rug to be getting people so passionately expressive. I hate going to school, so boring and dull. Kanada likes Laushans to Kow Tow to all their BS. I man can live any where in the world and say any idiotic nonsense as I please, now that is freedom. I can’t help it, I am just so hopelessly useless, I am a good for nothing fool and I love being so.

    • Uncle Parry says:

      BOTOX, YOU MAKE ME SICK READIND THE CRAP THAT YOU WRITE,YOU HAVE NO CLUEOF WHAT CANADA IS ALL ABOUT..

      FACT… CANADA IS THE BEST COUNTRY TO LIVE IN THE WORLD, MAYBE IF YOU CAN FIND THE TIME TO READ ABOUT US CANADIANS.. WE MUST SEND BACK THE LIARS,FOR YOU TO TEACH THEM HOW TO TRAVEL.. WISH YOU WELL,FIND SOMETHING PRODUCTIVE TO DO WITH YOUR SICK MIND.

      • Botox says:

        Uncle Perry, looks like I struck a nerve, the truth hurts don’t it? Canada is a con job. That country spent billions conning the world about being so above every other country, but poverty is coming. Why is the Canadian Governemnt trying to buy up 75% of consumer debt? Babylon your time done come.

        The whole world is one world, one economy and one people. When you have tribal boasting it divides and castigates the rest of the world as lessor, but that is not possible since life is a flux. Canada is an exploitative capitalist society. They only care about money and this is to the point that your entire existence in Canada is one massive rat race.

    • Wardark says:

      Botox,
      I used to enjoyed reading you blogs after this one I may have used poor judgement. Anyway why on earth are St. lucians claiming refugee status in Canada? I am in the US and can’t wait to move back home refugee status in Canada send them all back, nobody wants to work the farms anymore.

      • Wardark says:

        …note the US is not getting any easier if OBAMA were lose in November prepare for mass repatriation too many Lucians squandered the great opportunities afforded to them while things were great in the US. Never went to school, have no savings, never thought of building a little house back home now they are old and gray in a state of panic; our youngsters are doing the same. Trust me you guys back are much better off that those slackers in New York and Toronto. Every year they look forward to Labor Day on Eastern Pkwy what a waste.

        • Botox says:

          Wardark, I have no choice but to offend your senses, you have been put to sleep by nice lies. You are disturbed and this is good. Why? Because I have made you doubt and now there is a possibility to be awakened.

          Obama is the top con man of all human existence on plant earth, not even Jesus can measure up to him. You cannot criticize him because he is beyond being judged. He is selling hope and faith, two things that keep people blind and asleep. He is going to take care of all your problems, he is going to be 100% responsible for your life, so now you can be 100% irresponsible to yourself. Ohhh the tranquility of lies but the anguish of truth.

  3. OMG says:

    Canada has been threatening to impose this visa restriction as far back as during the period of time that Joshua was St-Lucia’s Consulate General. He was warned that visa restrictions would be imposed due to the high volume of refugee claimants coming from St-Lucia.
    The problem with the corp of people that are being selected to represent St-Lucia overseas are do very little to represent St-Lucia in any kind of positive light.
    They are about sending their children to the most expensive private schools; live in a mansion in upper class neighbourhoods, drive around in the biggest SUV, and entertain….
    The only thing consulate staff are capable of doing is transfer calls; they are clueless…

  4. King junior Stewart says:

    Oh boo hoo hoo put a sock in it WELCOME TO THE CLUB PAL. I read the first paragraph and just shake my head. HELLO !! Canada is a sovereign country THEY HAVE THE RIGHT TO IMPOSE VISA RESTRICTIONS ON ANYONE THEY PLEASE. ST LUCIANS ARE NOT A SPECIAL BREED yu’ll are not exactly from MAYBERRY HILL, yu’ll misbehave just like everybody else. Knock,knock, Hee Haww Duh ! W-I-L-L Y-O-U B-E S-U-R-P-R-I-S-E I-F G.R.E.A.T B.R.I.T.A.I.N D.I.D T.H.E S.A.M.E. ?? I’m predicting they will. GET OVER IT !! They are not saying yu’ll are not welcome, they are just saying join the line like everybody else. Everything is political.

  5. Son of Helen says:

    Stephen Harper once said “You won’t recognize Canada when I get through with it.” His Conservative government is despised by 65% of Canadians, he won a majority government with only 40% of the popular vote. I think the other parties will unite and take him down come next election. The man has taken Canada 40 yrs backwards and people are ashamed of him being their PM. OH Canada!

  6. deborah Emmanuel says:

    It is not the Government who have failed us. It is the St Lucian people. When we go abroad we are ambassadors for our homeland, and as such anything people do outside will reflect back….how many people tell you St Lucia is beautiful, the people are friendly, easygoing…we were. Now we have a whole population of youngsters lounging around on street corners and beaches making people feel uncomfortable…and they are the ones who cannot get off this rock and work abroad…then we have the thousands go travelling, overstay and cry political persecution (I agree it can be punishment watching the political shanigans on the news everynight) and gay persecution. Come on guys – you cant all be…

  7. godless says:

    FREENESS MUST STOP!at home and abroad,to many of us LUCIANS who don’t want to work hard for what we need not what we want!and expect good living like winning a lotto or inheritance,and if it don’t come like that! we then force our selves on others by any means necessary like others are responsiable for their existance,it’s time some of us stop bringing our dirty attitudes an laundry else where and expect others to except it an forget charity begins at home end of story.

  8. the gatekeeper says:

    Finally!! Canada is keeping the trash out!! no more free-loaders other countries sending us their useless garbage to clutter our foodlines and hospitals.

    Stay where you are and all will be fine!!

  9. gingerbutterscotch says:

    With regards to the visa restrictions on St. Lucia, this is long overdue, Canada has become a free way for all St. Lucians who want to go somewhere foreign, I do not have a problem with the migration, but most of those who migrate do nothing productive to improve their lifestyles or contribute towards developing the Canadian economy. Other ethnic groups enter Canada with money, work hard, contribute, vote and stay out
    of touble, not St. Lucians. In most cases they live a life of crime and fraud, wreck homes and break up marriages.

    Joshua, Julien and this new consul general are all useless and a waste of tax payers money. All these consul generals come to Canada to do is to drink…

  10. gingerbutterscotch says:

    With regards to the visa restrictions on St. Lucia, this is long overdue, Canada has become a free way for all St. Lucians who want to go somewhere foreign, I do not have a problem with the migration, but most of those who migrate do nothing productive to improve their lifestyles or contribute towards developing the Canadian economy. Other ethnic groups enter Canada with money, work hard, contribute, vote and stay out
    of touble, not St. Lucians. In most cases they live a life of crime and fraud, wreck homes and break up marriages.

  11. gingerbutterscotch says:

    Joshua, Julien and this new consul general are all useless and a waste of tax payers money. All these consul generals come to Canada to do is to drink bounty or chairmans and pay dominoes, so disgusting… There is no need for a St. Lucia Consulate office in Toronto, as far as I cam concerned this is a waste of St. Lucian tax payer money, they all in that office are on an extended vacation and NOT doing anything to develop the economic and diplomatic relations with St. Lucia and Canada. With the turn of the world economy, some economies like St. Lucia should economize money and close all these consulates offices as they are not need, they do nothing to assist the St. Lucian national who…

  12. gingerbutterscotch says:

    With the turn of the world economy, some economies like St. Lucia should economize money and close all these consulates offices as they are not need, they do nothing to assist the St. Lucian national who need their assistance. Message to Kenny and the ENROUGE government, close this consulate in Canada.

  13. Nelson says:

    St. Lucia has more freedom than Canada. There is no reason for ANY St. Lucian to go to Canada because Canada has other rules for behaving and working than 3rd world country St. Lucia.
    Proof of this is the fact that St. Lucians already messed up big time up there. Applying for asylum buys the applicant time to live and work in Canada. Who does someone who cannot speak English well like Lucians think he can fool by applying for asylum?
    Another game is over for St. Lucians. Indeed Toronto has a large West Indian population, which is a shame. Canada can accept better immigrants than those from these islands.

    • Son of Helen says:

      Indeed Toronto has a large West Indian population, which is a shame.
      ______________________________________________

      Your racist colours are showing and the world can do without your kind.

  14. OMG says:

    There are a few things we need to take into consideration in light of this visa requirement imposed by Canada.

    A lot of Jamaicans and Guyanese (who could not enter Canada due to this same visa restriction imposed on their respective countries) are travelling to Canada under the St-Lucia banner…. Who was regulating our passport to ensure that foreign nationals were not abusing our passport? Or was someone getting paid to peddle passports…(we all lose).

    • Ann Elle says:

      Well said! This is another issue the government failed it’s citizens on, and thus made life harder for everyone. St. Lucian passports were too easily attainable to non St. Lucian citizens.

  15. OMG says:

    Ninety nine percent of St-Lucian women who made it to Canada albeit undocumented, work 7 days a week up to 10 hours per day. In many instances 3 jobs; two hours bus and subway ride to work; transfering from and to 3 or 4 buses to get to work. All the while dealing with a painful long and dreary season called “Winter”. Loneliness, abuse by the bosses

  16. OMG says:

    With no rights and nowhere to run, turn or complain.
    These women deserve to be and stay in Canada if this is their wish.
    Where are the St-Lucian representatives abroad to stand up for them and ensure they find their rightful place in Canada just like the Philipines Representative did for the Filipinos. Making sure that they were recognized for their contribution to raising Canadian children.

  17. OMG says:

    There are many women in St-Lucia today who qualify for refuge in Canada.
    Physically abused women.
    Where are the St-Lucian representatives to lay the ground work to help these women find refuge, safety and care in Canada?

    Canada simply responded to a bunch of unqualified,self-interest and slackness people.

  18. Guava Jelly says:

    IT IS THE CHOICE OF THE CANADIANS TO REQUIRE ANYBODY TO OBTAIN A VISA BEFORE GOING TO THEIR COUNTRY. BUT OH HOW I LONG FOR THE DAY WHEN WE WILL REQUIRE ANYBODY FROM ANYWHERE TO REQUIRE A VISA TO COME TO ST.LUCIA. DID SOMEONE SAY GLOBAL VILLAGE?
    G.J

  19. Botox says:

    Canada has such a smugness in their way. People here work like lunatics 7 days a week and they hate to see anyone get ahead. One thing, Canada has the best lotteries. They need it, everyone plays in hope of getting out of miserable debt.

    Canada sucks!!!

  20. Son of Helen says:

    It seems that there are some genuine house-slaves on this board.

  21. strictlylucian says:

    give an inch and they take a mile!!! Lucians just don’t know how to appreciate a good thing. For years people keep fleeing to canada to seek refuge and other things. Eventually didn’t you think they would notice? STOP BLAMING THE GOVERNMENT FOR EVERYTHING!! its high time some lucians start taking responsibility for their OWN SELVES! if they were doing the damn thing right there would be no issue today. BLAME UR DAMN SELVES not the government! get out of ur damn slave mentality expecting the govt to do everything for u

  22. looshan says:

    ITS NOT THE END ON THE WORLD…..I MEAN ITS ONLY THIRD STRING CANADA…SHEEESSSSSHHHH!

  23. joe says:

    Only an unfocused and drifting St. Lucian citizenry confused by a pliant media could keep on taking the excuses offered off the forked tongue of the failure…

    In response to the English tax and the Canadian visa restrictions all we hear with great fanfare is that the PM has “written” a letter to some Canadian or English functionary. The civil servant will merely treat it with disdain and pass it onto an underling to write a reply. End of story !

    We all know it does not mean “squat”, that he and his propagandists are “pissing on St. Lucians and calling it rain”. As usual when it comes to Lucians he has nothing to offer.

  24. joe says:

    Canada is definately a “nice” place on the surface but this facade has much to do with how easy it is for only 30 million people in a country bigger than the US. They also live off the US economy and military power. Yes they do have it good but if too many “foreigners” come knocking they will and do protect what they have.

    There are too many professional who immigrated there and are driving taxis who know the truth.

    I find Canadians nice people as cultures go but even they will not be able to withstand other nationals coming to feed off their system and unfortunately some St. Lucians have given us a bad name up there.

    Also – good for Botox for stating the truth about that fraud…

    • Ann Elle says:

      “They also live off the US economy and military power”. Where exactly do you get your facts from?? Last time I checked, I do not remember seeing any US military presence in Canada, neither does Canada go about provoking wars in other countries and requesting assistance from the US military-it’s the opposite. We’ve gone to help them fight wars they started in Iraq, Afghanistan etc. As far as the economy go what garbage are you talking about Joe? We Canadians are the one going across the border and spending $$’s and $$$’s of dollars per trip to boost their sluggish economy. We even buy their properties. Please get your facts straight before you spew garbage. And for those who come on…

      • Botox says:

        Ann Elle:

        Canada has lied to it’s people about the so called good economy. Not a single Canadian bank could survive doing business in the United States, why? Because Canada is not really a free market, you are mostly Government controlled and cartel styled big business with no competition at all. The Government creates all this false values, especially in the real estate business. This increases the property taxes, increases bank profits and condemns the next generation to poverty. Your patriotic vision has your ego so fat that you believe all the lies being sold to you. Understand this, no single economy in the world operates in isolation, the whole world is sick, and so is…

        • Botox says:

          …is the Canadian economy. Just last night the news reports that house prices have been evaluated as being much higher, and guess what? The Government now wants to increase property taxes by 4%.

          The United States is the only reason why Canada has any money. 80% of your trade is with those that you criticize as being sluggish. Canadians have become the @ssholes of the world in being so damn arrogant and in love with themselves. It’s interesting how your history has covered up the crimes and theft against native peoples of the North. This is a parasitic nation which has a thirst for money and showing off.

          • Ann Elle says:

            Continuing…
            Do you see our homes going into foreclosure or a ridiculous number of Canadians declaring bankruptcy like our neighbors in the south?? Clearly I can’t have an intelligent conversation with you because your facts are distorted which in my opinion amounts to ” you don’t know Jack!”. As far as the over-evaluation of houses. We have cities inside of Provinces with various by-laws. Yes, some cities such as Toronto/Central Canada and Vancouver/West of Canada, houses are being sold at ridiculous prices-easily half a million upwards. The all time low interest rate is one of the key things driving these prices-so in my opinion, it might pose a problem in the future if one decides…

          • Ann Elle says:

            Continuing…
            To re-sell their property, but maybe that is not a key factor in their decision to make their investment. But to each their own, maybe location and convenience is more important than anything else to the buyer, at the end to each their own. As for the property taxes, it’s not like the Federal tax-each city property taxes varies, they can impose their own tax rate based on a number of things…You really should do some reasearch before you repeat nonesense on this board.

        • Ann Elle says:

          It’s called “Regulation” my friend. If we conducted our affairs like the US did, we’d be in the same scenario they are right now. Due to lack of regulation, individuals were able to get loans from banks when they did not qualify as in their income and financial situation did not qualify them to get these loans, but the greedy banks gave it to them anyways-a very unhealthy way to conduct business out of greed. As a result, loans were being defaulted on, and it simply all came crashing when the recession hit. These people were obviously already living beyond what they could afford to start with.No economy is in perfect standing right now, but the facts speaks for itself. Do you see,…

  25. tabasco says:

    ST LUCIA IS THE MOST BEAUTIFUL ISLAND IN ALL THE CARIBBEAN ISLANDS AND YET IS SO BACKWARD TO MUCH CORUPTION IN THE BODY THAT MAKES UP THE GOVERNMENT IF YOU ARE A FRIEND OF THE CUSTOMS STAFF YOU WILL WALK FREE NO CHARGE WHERE IS THE RESPECT ,LAW . AND ORDER WHEN A ST LUCIAN TRAVEL ON THEIR RETURN CUSTOMS DIG ALL THEIR BAG IMAGINE A CITIZEN OF THE COUNTRY WHAT THEY ARE SEARCHING FOR ONLY THEY KNOW LEAVE THE POOR CITIZENS ALONE

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