Sun | Nov 29, 2020

Deportation plea - Local relative of ex-con being sent back to Ja asks UK authorities to consider his eventual well-being

Published:Friday | February 7, 2020 | 12:25 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves at the media as he leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to attend the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions at the Houses of Parliament, in London, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson waves at the media as he leaves 10 Downing Street in London, to attend the weekly Prime Minister’s Questions at the Houses of Parliament, in London, Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020. (AP Photo/Matt Dunham)

A relative of one of the 50 people now being processed for deportation from the United Kingdom (UK) to Jamaica next Tuesday is appealing to the Boris Johnson-led Government to “give things a second thought”.

Her request comes amid a protest that erupted outside the Jamaican high commission in London, England, yesterday.

Marie Whitehall told The Gleaner she was made aware two weeks ago that her cousin is to be deported, even though he had served his full sentence in prison for selling and distributing Class A drugs.

Her concern is that, at 37, her cousin will not be able to adjust to life in Jamaica, having migrated as a six-year-old.

“I cannot understand what is going on. You tell me say big old England cannot fix them problem? He is as much British as Jamaican, if not more, because he left here as a child. How will he make it here? He has very few relatives here and I cannot really help,” she said.

Whitehall, who lives in St Mary, noted that information coming out of local and UK media indicated that all the soon-to-be-deported migrants have completed prison terms.

She said that, having faced up to their wrongs, the authorities should be mindful that many of them would have no recollection of Jamaica and stand the chance of being lost in the society.

“It is a sensitive issue, I know, but where will all these people end up? The report said they are people who served time in prison and my cousin was in prison, too, but I feel they have paid their dues and should be allowed to reintegrate into the British society.

“Deporting them is worrying because the devil always finds work give idle hands. I know some a dem will end up on the streets enuh, some a dem sure fi turn gunman based on certain things and others will turn cokehead, so may God help us,” said Whitehall.

A UK-based group, Joint Council for Welfare of Immigrants, which is leading the push for the government to halt the deportation flight, said many of those facing expulsion have been residents in the UK for decades.

The organisation has joined British Labour members of parliament in urging Prime Minister Johnson to suspend the flight until a report into the Windrush scandal is published.

Johnson, responding to the suggestion in a debate on the issue in the House of Commons yesterday, would have nothing of the plea, stating categorically that it was the right thing to do.

“Mr Speaker, I think the whole House will understand that the people of this country will think it right to send back foreign national offenders,” said Johnson.

Reports coming out of the UK suggest that many of those to be removed are parents of young children and that they are children and relatives of the Windrush generation.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com