Jennifer Webster loses Canadian residency status

Former government minister in the People’s Progressive Party/Civic (PPP/C) administration, Jennifer Webster, who sold all her properties and moved out her cash to Canada, has lost her bid to retain her Canadian residency.

Records show that after she obtained the status in 2009, she resided in that North American country for a mere 148 days over a six-year period.

In her quest to convince Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board that she should retain her residency status, Webster told a Tribunal that she transferred all of her wealth to Canada. “She invested most of the funds from the sale of her Guyana properties in the purchase of an expensive home. Unfortunately the builder of the home received the funds and did not complete the building. The matter is now being litigated. The appellant also testified she moved her personal belongings to Canada, purchased a motor vehicle and transferred her funds to Canada. She testified she has no further assets in Guyana,” the decision stated.

Canada’s Immigration and Refugee Board in July 2018 ordered Webster’s removal for breach of her residency obligations. A Tribunal found that Webster failed to prove that she had been away from Canada for at least 730 days in the five‑year period immediately before November 2014 due to humanitarian and compassionate reasons.

The Board found that although Webster landed in Canada in October 2009 she made career choices to be away by serving as Junior Finance Minister from 2006 to 2011 and again as Minister of Social Services from 2011 to 2015 when the PPP lost power. Webster sought to justify her second ministerial stint by saying that she grasped the opportunity Guyana had to have a seat at the UN Commission on the Status of Women to advance the cause of women and girls internationally.

However, Webster failed to convince the Tribunal lone member, Roxane Vachon about her decision to remain outside Canada for most of the first six years after obtaining her permanent resident status.