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Some of the members of Team Bongu. (Gofundme image)











By NAN Contributor

News Americas, TORONTO, Canada, Thurs. Aug. 11, 2016: The Canadian government has dashed the hopes and dreams of a young Haitian basketball team to pieces by denying them visas to travel to British Columbia to compete at the HaiCo World Indigenous Basketball Challenge.

Sebastian Petion, the coach of Team Bongu, told CBC News that Canadian officials in Haiti denied the team the visas earlier this week, claiming they represent a flight risk. He said he was told the players, age 17 to 28, couldn’t provide enough documentation to satisfy Canadian immigration officials that its members would return to Haiti after the tourney.

“I think it’s because we’re Haitian,” Petion was quoted as saying. “We’re living in a tough situation right now. And I think that’s the reason they didn’t give us the visa.”

The team had been fundraising on the Crowd Funding site, Gofundme and had raised over US$5,000 for the trip.

The tournament got underway at Simon Fraser University’s Burnaby, B.C campus yesterday, August 10, 2016 and will run through Friday, August 13th.  The tournament invited more than 15 teams from around the world to play in the tournament, including Haiti. Bermuda Senior Men’s National Team will also play in the tournament.



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