Queen Nzinga: My odyssey

by Wendy Maxwell/Nzinga
Mon. March 23, '05

I want to thank everyone working so hard for me and also wanted to give you some 411 on my story. This is not all but it's what I can afford to write now.

Well in reality, this story begins way before the arrest; way before the deportation order was issued, long before that. I started when I came here, I will skim through this part of the story for the readers to have some background.

I arrived to Canada after leaving Costa Rica in search of safety and a new life. Found the opportunity to work in Canada. However, this opportunity proved not to be so good. I could tell that story but it will take an entire book to explain all that. I rather stick to the subject. In short, I left the job after learning my rights 1½ years later, took the matter to the Labour Board and Revenue Canada, won. The bastards appealed and applied intimidating pressure tactics on my legal councils and me. I got tired of it all after 2 years of litigations and saw the need to move on with my life, so I settled out of court.

When Parkdale Community Legal Services decided to take on this case, Jackie Chick, my labour lawyer, pleaded with Geraldine Sadaway, the Immigration lawyer at PCLS, to take my case, arguing that it only made sense for both cases to be dealt with at the same clinic. The witch did not want to take my case from the beginning. This explains why she screwed me over. Let me explain.

At the refugee hearing, Mrs. Sadaway told me that there where many other avenues we could take if the Refugee Board made a negative decision. When the negative decision came thought, she decided to drop my case; they did not even advise me that I could and had grounds for an appeal. I received a call at my recently attained job, at the end of the summer of 2002, saying that it was urgent that I came to PCLS.

As I had just begun working there less than 2 weeks, I was in the middle of training. I pleaded to HR to allow me to go without penalty. Therefore, dropped everything and flew to PCLS. A student that I never met before, cold and indifferent to my situation, told me about the decision. I cried like a baby. She told me that I needed to apply for an H&C as soon as possible and that I needed to return to PCLS with $500 to submit the application. I was broke and hardly had any money to get to work and back. I ran around asking friends lend me the money, 2 of my friends lent me the funds and so I was back in a week.

Then the same student told me that I needed to get my birth certificate and criminal records from Costa Rica and Canada. She said that her fiancé was from Costa Rica and in their experience she advised it would be faster if I could get my parents to do make the request and send the documents than if I requested it through the consulate. I asked my parents to do this paperwork for me and sent them a power of attorney.

About 1 or 2 weeks after this, the student leaves me a message on my answering machine telling me that PCLS was no longer representing me. She explained that an H&C is a new case and they could not open a new case for me, cause they where not taking new cases, that my address and my income bracket at that moment disqualified me for their services. I desperately called them back explaining that I did not have much time working there and could not afford a lawyer. I was at the time living in a basement room paying cause I could not afford much, I had just moved out of Nellie’s Shelter and was trying to get on my feet after going to school and not having worked for over a year. I never lived in the Parkdale area; the case was taken by PCLS after Jackie asked Geraldine to take the case as an exception.

My plea fell in deaf ears, I also expressed my discontent with having this message relayed via telephone message rather than face to face. I have a long history with PCLS and they owe me the courtesy of a face-to-face dismissal. I called Jacques Roy to tell him about this and made him listen to the message. The student then left me another rude message on my machine saying that my case was not going to be taken and that “talking to other lawyers is not going to help your case” she said. I made Jacques listen to this message as I did with the previous one.

Finally, Jacques got the lawyer that had replaced Geraldine during her holydays or sabbatical or whatever she was doing, to give me a call and set an appointment to see me. In this visit, I was distressed, crying and very upset. This lawyer just repeated the same the student said and gave me a copy of my file and names of lawyers I could call. I explained to her that I was never told that my case could be dropped, I could have prepared for it if I knew in advance. In addition, I explained that at the Refugee hearing Geraldine gave me the impression that she was going to try other alternatives if this did not work. She said she would call Geraldine and ask her. Well, Geraldine was not very helpful.

I went on with my life, hassling my parents to hassle the lawyer who was doing the paperwork for me in Costa Rica. My parents both ran around to get the documents, hired a lawyer who took their money and did nothing after various months, then had to find another lawyer to get these papers done and my mother finally brought the documents with her when she came to Canada to visit me.

Upon the arrival of my mother and children to Canada, immigration tried to keep them in detention, I had to move heaven and earth to get them out that day. Cried to the immigration officials who informed me that I had no legal status in Canada and I needed to surrender my passport. This was June 03. They kept my mother and children’s passports and plain tickets plus the documents my mother was bringing for my H&C, until I could produce my passport. I called Jacques and asked him to act as my lawyer for this cause I was afraid of what immigration could do me not knowing my rights.

Jacques came with me that day. Within few days, I received a call from a GTEC officer. I went to the GTEC office and they gave me the option of the PRRA. Jacques submitted the PRRA application and I lost it. Following came a removal order for October, I ran about to try to stay the removal.

I had a pending case in the courts. A security officer working for “Group 1”, while on shift at his job, sexually assaulted me some time ago. I pressed charges and the case hadn’t yet been argued in court. I pressured the Crown Attorney’s office to contact immigration. The removal was stayed indefinitely.

This gave me time to retain a lawyer. Mr. Cohen prepared and argued the appeal for the PRRA which also resulted negative. He was recommended cause he knows Costa Rica, been there and knew the situation. I lost the PRRA and he prepared the appeal. I cant remember the hole process but I can say that I spent lots of money in it.

Finally, the crowns attorney’s office and the police, fucked me over when they decided to go behind my back, drop the case, and tell immigration to pick me up. I received a removal order the week before December 1st for that date.

Knowing fully that I faced grave danger if I was to return to Costa Rica, I made a desperate move and decided to go underground, leaving employment, home, and moving everything I had in storage.

I applied for my H&C in February 2004, to which there still has not been a response.

I roamed from one place to another until I found an apartment to share at very affordable price. My roommates where: a white guy, an intermixed African-European decent woman and an Egyptian decent woman.

I had many problems with the last one due to her controlling ways, I did not understand that the bottom line was that I was paying her to share her space as where all of us, and she resented my strong energy and was jealous of me in many ways. In the days leading up to my arrest, just about 1½ month before, she threatened me with having me removed from the apartment. I knew what this meant for which reason I desperately looked for a place where to go. I stayed at a friend for the month until I found a place. The day of my arrest I was supposed to move into my new apartment. The week before there was a big snowstorm and could not have done it then.

This is a brief explanation of all what happened. I just don’t have the energy to get into more detail.

I’m going through a rough patch, jail was just the start. My father had a stroke while I was in jail. I have been out-ed to my entire family, they now don’t only know I’m bisexual (fact that I never-ever planned on telling them), they also know every thing else that I never told them that appeared on the internet. In addition, a man from the gang I have been fleeing from, recognized me last week, just days after I arrived. I went out of the city for a few days but do not know if they can find me or not, I’m just trying to keep my head down.

Can’t write anymore cause now I’m upset and crying. I will try to write you guys later. And give you more updates on what is happening with me.

you can write me here or to

Wendy Maxwell
PO Box 13976-1000
San Jose, Costa Rica

if any one needs to call me you can get my PH from Mac Scott.

Queen Nzinga

Tiko Ba Si Igi Le Hin Ogba Ma Nwo
(If the fence does not have props it will collapse)
Yoruba proverb

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