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Kathy Bockus/Courier Lola Abou Elniaj, third from left, was the keynote speaker at an information session on Arabic and Muslim cultures offered by the St. Croix Vineyard and Friends Refugee Committee at the Garcelon Civic Center in St. Stephen Sunday. She is shown here with, from left, Peter Fitch, Mary Ellen Fitch; her husband Ahmed Khanes; speaker Paul Carline, Tom Wiebe and Joy Green.

 

NEXT REFUGEE MEETING DEFERRED

We do not have any major items requiring a meeting until we get word on the arrival of our first family. So we felt it best to defer this meeting until issues arise that require our group attention. Additionally, it is March break and some people felt attendance would be low.

THE MEETING SCHEDULED FOR THIS SUNDAY Mach 6th IS THUS DEFERRED TO A LATER DATE

DANCE & AUCTION RESULTS !

Wow ! Congratulations and thanks to the many people who worked so long on this major effort ! Results are a net gain of $4,230.50, a big boost that puts our fund close to $45,000 ! Well done ! Community attendance was about 115, an excellent dance turnout we are told,  and everything went very well.

MEETING WITH KAREN LUDWIG, MP

A meeting with Karen was achieved on Tuesday noon on short notice but she was fully updated on our situation and the concerns about the lack of families being posted for uptake by BVOR groups like ours. She is aware that many NB groups are waiting for families under the BVOR Program while thousands of refugees are being housed in hotels at great expense. We expect to hear back from her efforts in about a week and will update everyone.

PHONE CALL TO PAUL CARLINE

Spoke with Paul who is our contact at the Atlantic Baptist Convention, the Sponsorship Agreement Holder group we work through, and Paul has no word on when postings of families may resume.

When asked about all the families in hotels in Saint John under the Government Sponsorship Program ( GSP) , as distinct from the BVOR ( Blended Visa Office Referral)  Program we come under, Paul advised he would explore the possibility of getting families from the GSP as was done just recently in Sussex. What is unclear is the funding formula for these families. Taking a family parked in a hotel under the GSP may mean we do not get the $5,000 to $10,000 per family subsidy available under the BVOR Program.

Once we hear from Paul whether this is possible AND we sort out the subsidy issues, there may be need for a group meeting to make a decision about this other option. First we need to fully understand the plan and the finances and we also need to hear back from Karen Ludwig. Estimating a week or more before we have sufficient information on which to make a decision.

                AS SOON AS WE HAVE RELIABLE INFORMATION OR OPTIONS WE WILL CALL A MEETING

Don & Tom         March 2, 2016

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