Ottawa-area family at airport for deportation

A family south of Ottawa was scheduled to fly back to Trinidad and Tobago this afternoon, CBC News has learned, as they are being deported after their refugee claims were denied.

Members of the Maharaj family from Kemptville, Ont., about 60 km south of Ottawa, were set to be returned to the Caribbean country after spending four years in Canada.

Government officials removed them from their home and took them to the airport just after midnight, neighbours say.

The family, which also owns a video store in Kemptville, claimed refugee status when they arrived in Canada but federal government officials have said the family "lacks credibility".

In a statement, officials added the family has not produced enough evidence to prove they would be in danger in their home country.

As a result, their refugee status was never granted by the independent review board. The family appealed last year's ruling but that appeal was denied last week.

The Maharaj family spent eight years in the United States before they came to Canada.

Father Motilal Maharaj has told CBC News police in Trinidad threatened his children's safety and demanded protection money in the Caribbean country, which they felt was cause for departing the country 12 years ago.

Since arriving in Canada, one son of Motilal and Vashti Maharaj has married and had a child. He and his family are allowed to remain in Canada.

Friends and neighbours created a petition to keep them in Canada. They also tried to help the family find refuge at a local church Thursday night but that did not work out.

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