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Mcclean: Gay ‘scam’ bad for image

Natasha Beckles

Mcclean: Gay ‘scam’ bad for image

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The Canadian High Commission would have known if there were “a major problem” involving the persecution of Barbadian homosexuals which led them to seek asylum in Canada. 
This is according to Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Senator Maxine McClean, who told the MIDWEEK NATION the commission was aware of the issues that Barbados faced on a day-to-day basis. 
“. . . If they felt that there were issues, they would’ve drawn it to our [Government’s] attention,” she said yesterday. 
McClean was responding to recent media reports that nine homosexuals had applied for refugee status in Canada claiming harassment and abuse here. In the February 20, SUNDAY SUN, one gay youth, Negus Crookendale, admitted he received several benefits from the Canadian government before lying about persecution during his hearing. 
“I said negative things about Barbados, to make it look like I was in danger. I told lies but I wasn’t accepted,” he said. 
McClean noted: “Many countries will give you a hearing and in the process, from what the guy [Crookendale] is describing, he was able to get some useful benefits from the Canadians, which is exploiting that country’s generosity.
“At the end of the day, it was not successful because they would do their investigations to find out what was happening on the ground here.”  
The senator added that while such claims may arise “periodically”, it became a problem when there seemed to be an unusual number of people. McClean said the matter had been drawn to the attention of Barbados’ High Commissioner in Ottawa and the Consul General in Toronto. 
She also said in an interview on Starcom Network radio stations yesterday that if there were indeed such a scam, those involved should desist since it “besmirches the country’s name and makes it difficult for citizens”.
“I believe that there should be penalties in the law in either jurisdiction [and] we should seek to enforce those.”Refugee claims by Caribbean nationals in Canada are not new.
In 2003, St Lucia’s then Prime Minister Dr Kenny Anthony denounced what he termed reprehensible actions of young St Lucians applying for refugee status. He said the Canadian immigration department had reported an alarming number of refugee claims made by Caribbean nationals since 1999, noting that 256 Trinidadians had submitted such claims, 89 Jamaicans, 80 Grenadians, 21 Vincentians, 23 from the Dominican Republic, and eight from Barbados.