LONDON, England – Amid another mass deportation of Caribbean nationals from the United Kingdom, Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Seth George Ramocan, says persons to be deported should be entitled to the due process of the law.
“The individuals who are being deported have a right to be heard, they have a right to have access to their lawyers, they have rights for any possibility or privileges for making applications to determine their rights to remain…before that flight departs,” Ramocan said in a recent interview.
He acknowledged during the interview that the state had the right “to determine whether that person would be allowed to remain in the country” saying that he was in discussions also with a legal voluntary group involved in the community on the matter.”
His comments come after the Uk’s Home Office announced a charter flight with deportees is scheduled to arrive in Jamaica on February 11. This is the second charter flight to depart Jamaica from the UK since the Windrush Scandal broke in 2018.
In February 2019, 29 criminals were deported on the charter flight to Jamaica, all with a combined sentence of 150 years, or an average prison term of five years (according to the Home Office).
Following the Home Office’s announcement of this week’s flight, hundreds of protesters lined outside of the office to protest the decision.
Karen Doyle, from national organisation Movement for Justice, told British media that the protest “was a powerful demonstration of how people feel about these unjust mass deportation charter flights”.
While the Home Office, Ramocan, and the British High Commissioner to Jamaica, Asif Ahmad, have all assured that the deportees are not members of the Windrush generation, lawyers say some passengers could be victims of trafficking and county lines exploitation.
The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) says some have lived in the UK for the majority of their lives and are being disproportionately punished for minor crimes.
Since 2018, the British government faced a serious backlash about the treatment of the Windrush generation – named after a ship that brought people to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean in 1948. It emerged that thousands of long-term UK residents were denied access to services, held in detention or removed despite living legally in the country for decades.