|Danette LeCompte and son Cody. (QMI Agency photo)
SANTA LUCIA, CUBA — Better late than never.
After more than three months of feeling “alone” while waiting for news on his Cuban detention, Cody LeCompte, his mom and his uncle finally had their first face-to-face meeting with Canadian embassy officials Thursday.
And although the meeting came a day after the Simcoe teen learned he may be free to go home as early as next, the officials apologized.
“They looked at Cody and they said, ‘We’re sorry,’” the 19-year-old’s mom, Danette, told The Sun after the 90-minute sit-down.
The embassy staffers, who work in Havana, also admitted to the LeComptes: “We know we made mistakes along the way,” during the meeting at the Gran Club Santa Lucia.
Cody has been trapped at the resort for more than 13 weeks because of a car accident that allegedly wasn’t even his fault.
The 19-year-old and his mom, who racked up $30,000 in debt fighting to bring her son home, pleaded for help from the embassy for months, hoping they could reassure them everything was okay.
Instead they received only sparse phone calls, asking the LeComptes for updates, and maintaining Canada couldn’t interfere in another country’s justice system.
“I think it’s ironic,” Gary Parmenter said with a chuckle, not because the issue with his nephew is funny but because the notion consular officials would choose to finally visit Cody after his crisis has all but been resolved is laughable.
He said they also offered the officials advice during the meeting on how the government could “do things better” in the future.
“They need to be more proactive and educate Canadians, and not just on the government website, so they’re not blind-sided when they travel to certain countries,” Parmenter said.
With the federal government under heavy fire from outraged Canadians across the country, political opponents criticizing the apparent lack of action from foreign affairs, and mounting media pressure over the last week or so, the PMO ultimately stepped in Tuesday.
The next day, Cody and his family received the news they’d been waiting to hear since the end of April — that they could leave the Caribbean island, likely next week, and return for his trial if one is deemed necessary.
Cody, who had been under tremendous stress, has been all smiles since receiving the good news.
Like any young man his age, there’s one thing he’s especially looking forward to when he gets home.
“For the longest time, I’ve been craving a bacon cheeseburger ... from Harvey’s,” Cody said, before sheepishly adding that he’s also looking forward to seeing his girlfriend.
John Arsenov, owner-operator of Amberlea Executive Limousine Service, has kindly offered to pick up the LeComptes at the airport the day they arrive back in Canada.
And he has told Cody he’ll pull the stretch limo into Harvey’s drive-thru just for him.