Mon | Sep 27, 2021

August UK deportation flight blow to Windrush activism – Jaddoo

Published:Thursday | July 29, 2021 | 12:09 AMJudana Murphy/Gleaner Writer
Jaddoo
Jaddoo

The impending mass-deportation flight to Jamaica from the United Kingdom (UK) has threatened to impact the work of groups like the Windrush National Organisation. Chairman Dr Desmond Jaddoo told The Gleaner that the deportation is scheduled for...

The impending mass-deportation flight to Jamaica from the United Kingdom (UK) has threatened to impact the work of groups like the Windrush National Organisation.

Chairman Dr Desmond Jaddoo told The Gleaner that the deportation is scheduled for August 11 and that at least three Jamaicans were detained on Wednesday morning.

The precise number of Jamaicans expected to be returned has not been confirmed.

This will be the fourth mass-deportation flight to the island since the Windrush scandal emerged.

He said that on all occasions, deportation has affected the efforts of the organisation he chairs.

“About 12,000 to 13,000 people are on status. We believe there could be up to 40,000 people caught up in the Windrush Scandal, but people aren’t coming forward. These mass-deportation flights will impact upon that engagement even more,” Jaddoo said.

On Sunday, The Guardian reported that freedom-of-information data suggested that Jamaicans were being disproportionately targeted for deportation from the UK.

The British newspaper stated that an average of 65 per cent of overseas nationals jailed for at least 12 months had been deported.

“For Jamaican nationals, this proportion rose to 75 per cent, however, despite the much greater likelihood of their having significant ties to the UK,” a section of The Guardian’s report read.

Jaddoo argued that men with children have been deported, leaving their children fatherless.

“We know that when people have children, deportation should be the last thing that is looked at. But when it comes to Jamaicans, particularly Jamaican men, it just happens, and the figures speak for themselves,” Jaddoo pointed out.

He is urging the Andrew Holness administration to reject the deportation flight as it would place Jamaicans at a potentially higher COVID-19 risk.

“We know that the Jamaican Government will put mechanisms in place, but why should the Jamaican economy be bearing that when really the UK has been treating Jamaicans very unfairly?” he questioned.

Meanwhile, British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad, said his office does not intend to offer a running commentary on routine deportation flights planned for the months ahead.

He said the UK would continue to deport foreign nationals who have been given sentences of over 12 months for criminal offences.

“We screen carefully for any Windrush links. All deportees have the right to legal recourse when they receive notifications for impending flights. We work closely with the Jamaican Government on such regular exercises, and through our support for Open Arms, we are able to offer some assistance with reintegration to Jamaica,” Ahmad said in a written response.

Calls to Jamaica’s high commissioner to the United Kingdom, George Ramocan, went unanswered up to press time.

Matthew Samuda, Jamaica’s minister without portfolio in the Ministry of National Security, did not offer a response to questions from The Gleaner up to Monday afternoon.

judana.murphy@gleanerjm.com