By TOM GODFREY
A quadriplegic man has been spared deportation to Jamaica where he has not lived for 30 years following a last-ditch appeal to the Federal Court of Canada.
Lancelot Bailey, 60, was slated to be returned to Kingston due to his criminal record when he appealed to the Federal Court that this month ruled proper procedures were not followed in his case and granted a new hearing.
Judge James Russell said Bailey requires 24-hour care and support, which he currently receives at a continuing care facility in Windsor.
Bailey has not lived in Jamaica for three decades and has little ties to the island, the court heard.
The former singer in a reggae band lived most of the time in the U.S., from where he was deported in 2004 after serving eight years in prison for assault, arson and drug related offences.
He entered Canada several months later using a false passport and was deemed inadmissible due to the U.S. convictions. A removal order was issued against him in 2006.
That year Bailey was brutally beaten by three men with a baseball bat and left for dead after allegedly providing information to police that led to the arrest of drug dealers, who were later deported to Jamaica, according to the court decision.
“He can move his arms somewhat but cannot use his hands,” Russell noted. “He cannot dress or wash himself, get in and out of bed or his wheelchair, use the washroom or do many other tasks without assistance.”
Court was told Bailey can “occasionally feed himself with an adapted spoon attached to his hand with a splint, but typically requires help to feed himself as well.”
Bailey in a bid to remain in Canada filed an unsuccessful refugee claim and humanitarian and compassionate case, which he appealed to the Federal Court.
Court heard that an immigration officer ruled Bailey would not suffer hardship if returned to Jamaica after conducting checks on the Internet for potential facilities on the island that may accept him.
No phone calls or further research was conducted and it turned out one facility only accepted short-term patients and another was for the mentally ill.
Bailey’s lawyer Melinda Gayda argued “if he is returned to Jamaica where he has no family he will be unable to care for himself and be vulnerable to deterioration of his medical condition, to disease, crime and even death from starvation.”
Court heard that “discrimination and prejudice against people with disabilities are widespread in Jamaica”.
An official of the Canadian Paraplegic Association of Ontario said Bailey “is completely dependent on others to take care of him, and that it was her understanding that services for individuals such as the Applicant are extremely limited in Jamaica”.
The Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities said in a letter that “services for persons with quadriplegia are very limited,” and that such persons are usually cared for by their families.
“In Jamaica, there are no government facilities dedicated to long-term residential rehabilitation services for adults with severe physical disabilities,” the Council said. The letter said privately-owned homes or institutions are available but very expensive.
A letter from the St. John Golding Rehabilitation Centre in Kingston, said patients are required to provide a next of kin to whom they can be released after a three-month stay.
Russell said Bailey was not provided an opportunity to respond on the facilities or if he can even be accepted for placement.
“I cannot accept that the officer could simply go on the Internet and find relatively obscure information of dubious relevance to someone in the Applicant’s position,” Russell said, adding Bailey was not advised or given a chance to reply.
He said Bailey is “physically helpless, extremely vulnerable, has no family or other support in Jamaica, and who could face death on the streets there.”
“I find the officer’s approach in this Decision very disturbing,” Russell noted. “Clear authoritative evidence which says that the Applicant’s needs cannot be met in Jamaica is simply ignored.”
No date has been set for a new hearing.