Mon | Apr 6, 2020

Deportees in danger of losing their minds, says returnee

Published:Wednesday | February 19, 2020 | 12:14 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
A deportee is met by a relative at Harman Barracks in Kingston last Tuesday. He was one of 17 people sent back on a charter flight from the United Kingdom.
A deportee is met by a relative at Harman Barracks in Kingston last Tuesday. He was one of 17 people sent back on a charter flight from the United Kingdom.

As questions continue to swirl around last Tuesday’s removal of Jamaicans from the United Kingdom (UK), a proclaimed “self-deportee” has warned that returning expats “who find themselves in a strange country” may be jolted by a culture shock.

Selvin Ferril, who had been on probation for a crime he insists he did not commit in the United States where, according to him, he was falsely accused and arrested, said he was concerned that deportees may end up losing their minds.

“I am particularly worried about the ones who were charged, served time, and now deported for crimes they did not commit that. They could be in danger in terms of their mental state,” Ferril told The Gleaner.

“I must also say that even though things and life itself are very hard and difficult in Jamaica, one can survive if wise and without getting into illegal activities,” he said.

Last Tuesday, 17 so-called “hardened criminals” who served time in prison for a slew of crimes ranging from murder to rape were sent back to Jamaica, some with only their shirts on their back.

And while a few had relatives and some friends waiting on them outside the Harman Barracks processing centre in Kingston, many spent their first night back at drop-in centres but will be seeking more permanent housing arrangements with little assistance from the Government.

Ferril said he can attest to the fact that even a deportee can have a good life in Jamaica, if willing to adjust thinking and try to remain on the right side of the law.

“My personal advice to all these deportees, guilty or not, are to stay clean. If you did wrong in the past, abandon your old criminal ways and seek the Lord.

“Don’t go looking for a job, as not many Jamaican business owners will want to employ you, thus seek to get into a business of your own selling whatever you can, especially to retail locations instead of on the street corner. I am doing it and so can you,” stated Ferril.

He further advised the involuntarily returning immigrants to prepare to be disappointed, as persons on whom they could once lean on for assistance may suddenly turn their backs on them.

Meanwhile, it is believed that the Home Office is planning a second charter flight to Jamaica that is likely to include prospective deportees who were taken off Tuesday’s flight after an eleventh-hour appeal court reprieve when a court ruled that they be removed, as they had not had five working days of access to their lawyers because of a problem with the phone signal at two detention centres close to Heathrow airport, Colnbrook and Harmondsworth.

A report in the UK also mentioned several detainees at Brook House, near Gatwick aiport, who were spared being deported with the last batch following legal action. The fear is that they could now be in line for deportation.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com