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Fri 25th Nov 2011

Vincentian women are justified in seeking refugee status in Canada

Canadian Federal Court Justice Sean Harrington said that there is something very wrong in SVG. That something is the ULP regime's practice of economic apartheid. It allows the rich, white people of Mustique Company tax and customs exemptions of billions of dollars, whilst forcing the poor, black population to pay tax and VAT. This targeting of the black population is persecution.

This injustice weakens the SVG's economy and the consequences of this perpetuate poverty and violence. Over the years, our nation has witnessed many murders, rapes and other severe acts of brutality against women. SVG has 8 times the world rape average per capita.

Vincentian women are fully justified to seek refugee status in Canada and SVG Green Party supports people who feel they have no alternative but to flee abroad. Violence against women is rife; women probably feel that they must run or their own blood will run.

Poor, black women are especially justified to seek refugee status, as they are persecuted for reasons of race under Gonsalves economic apartheid policies. They are persecuted too because of their social group ' the poorer class ' because they do not have the financial means to fight the government's persecution of them.

Under the United Nations Convention Relating to the Status of Refugees of 1951, a refugee is more narrowly defined as a person who "owing to a well-founded fear of being persecuted for reasons of race, religion, nationality, membership of a particular social group, or political opinion, is outside the country of his nationality, and is unable to or, owing to such fear, is unwilling to avail himself of the protection of that country".

It is not surprising that a Canadian newspaper reported that last year 710 Vincentians sought asylum in Canada, up from only 179 in 2001. Also, over the past decade, there were more than 4,500 refugee claimants, roughly 4 per cent of our population.

We call on the Canadian Government to please look at the broader picture and notice the violence and persecution facing many women in SVG. Even a judge has called for an end to violence against women. The Canadian government should come to SVG and see the squalor some people are forced to live in because of the persecution and economic apartheid they suffer.

There is plenty of persecution in SVG, and unless things change, Vincentians will continue to see fleeing as a refugee as their only option. The poor economy has caused the high number of refugee applications. Gonsalves has embarrassed our nation and Vincentians in Canada with his economic incompetence. Poverty and persecution are forcing Vincentian women abroad.

We have to change direction in our mindset and respect women. We must also abolish economic apartheid. SVG should go Green for prosperity and a better quality of life for all. Green philosophy promotes equality for men, woman and children. The time has come for a Green revolution to fix the economic and social problems created by the incompetent ULP government.

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