KINGSTOWN, St. Vincent – This country continues to feature in Canada as far as immigration related issues are concerned.
A court in that North American nation this week reserved its decision in a matter in which a 46-year-old Vincentian woman claimed an official sexually assaulted her while in immigration lock-up last year.
According to a Caribbean Camera report this week, credibility is an issue in the case since the woman is said to have changed her story about the incident, which allegedly took place in July 2010.
The case continues even as Canada Border Services fired the accused former immigration official and the woman was deported last year.
Attorney for the accused man said that the Vincentian woman’s complaint changed, saying at first that the man groped her then later saying that he had sex with her.
The woman did not file a complaint about the alleged incident until one week after it reportedly occurred, when her deportation was confirmed.
She initially accused the 36-year-old man of ripping off her clothes, grabbing her breast and forcing oral sex and intercourse on her.
The accused man has denied the allegations, saying that the woman, who was desperate to delay her deportation, initiated “cheek-to-cheek” contact.
His lawyer told the Ontario Superior Court that the case is a “he says-she says” one and that the woman appeared “calm and composed” in video images captured in the hallway while leaving the interview room after the incident reportedly occurred.
The prosecutor however, said that the accused man was caught in the same video stepping out of the room “to ensure that the area was vacant”.
The prosecutor further argued that there is no template of what a victim should look like and the woman’s evidence appeared inconsistent because she was ashamed to reveal details of the assault.
This country came in for some negative press in Canada in November when the Toronto Star published an article asking if this country was the worst place in the world to be a woman.
The article said that last decade, 4,500 Vincentian, mostly women claiming domestic abuse, sought asylum in Canada.
While some of the applicants were legitimate and were supported by Vincentian envoys in Canada, reports say that unscrupulous lawyers have been encouraging citizens to file fraudulent cases for asylum in the North American country.
Meanwhile, Canada’s Citizenship, Immigration and Multiculturalism Minister, Jason Kenney said earlier this month that Canadian citizenship is not for sale.
He said that Canada was investigating 6,500 people from more than 100 countries for fraudulently attempting to gain citizenship or maintain permanent resident status there, according to a press statement.
In July, Kenney announced that Canada beginning the process to revoke the citizenship of up to 1,800 citizens who obtained it fraudulently.
That number had risen to more than 2,100 earlier this month.
Nearly 4,400 people with permanent resident status who are known to be implicated in residence fraud have been flagged for additional scrutiny should they attempt to enter Canada or obtain citizenship. The majority of these individuals are outside the country, the press statement said.
In typical cases, permanent residents will use the services of an unscrupulous immigration consultant to establish evidence of residence in Canada while living abroad most, if not all, of the time. This fraud is perpetrated so that individuals can maintain their permanent residence status and later apply for citizenship.
A family of five may pay upwards of $25,000 over four or more years to create the illusion of residence in Canada.