Attorney General Anand Ramlogan said on Saturday Trinidad and Tobago decided to repatriate a group of Orthodox Jews to Canada for several reasons, including the need to maintain good diplomatic relations with Canada.
Canada's High Commissioner to Port of Spain expressed his country's gratitude, calling the repatriation operation "excellent work".
Local law enforcement officials handed over the group to Canadian authorities at Piarco Airport on Saturday afternoon. Immigration authorities had detained them when they arrived last week enroute to Guatemala.
Ramlogan told local media the matter was serious and urgent matter because it involved children and the breach of a child protection order issued by a court of competent jurisdiction in the province of Quebec. "That order was based on serious concerns about the conditions under which these children were being kept and hence custody was vested in the Canadian Child Protection Agency,” Ramlogan told the Express newspaper.
The group had appealed the court's ruling before fleeing Canada. Last Thursday the Canadian courts upheld the judgment while the Jews were in custody in Trinidad.
The AG explained why T&T agreed to send them back to Canada. "There was no legal justification or legal basis upon which they could be allowed to remain in Trinidad," he said. "The welfare of the children is the foremost consideration and remained of paramount importance and the child protection agency in Quebec is the most suitable entity to care for them," he added.