Caribbean News, Latin America News:
News Americas, NEW YORK, NY, Tues. Feb. 11, 2020 – UPDATE: Seventeen Jamaicans are now on a charter flight back to Jamaica after being deported from the UK this morning by the Home Office.
The 17 were deported despite a last-minute court order stopping the deportation of detainees from Colnbrooke and Harmondsworth detention centres, near Heathrow, after lawyers argued mobile phone signal problems meant some of the detainees could not get legal advice. The ruling said the government must not deport anyone from those centres unless they had access to a functioning, non-O2 Sim card on or before 3 February.
Twenty-five others were taken off the flight and spared deportation because of the order filed and won by the group, Detention Action.
Tottenham MP, Guyanese-roots David Lammy, said it was an “outrage” that the flight had departed.
“The government wants to give the impression that everyone who was deported was a hardened violent criminal, but the reality is many of those who were scheduled to be deported had committed non-violent, one-time drugs offences,” he said. “The lessons from Windrush have not been learned. Lives are being ruined because we don’t remember our history.”
But in a defiant statement, the prime minister’s spokesman said “we bitterly regret” the court decision that stopped the 25 people from leaving, and will urgently appeal.
“The offences which these people were responsible for include one manslaughter, one firearms offence, seven violent offences, two which are in the category of rape or sexual offences and 14 drugs offences,” the spokesman said.
He added: “We make no apology whatsoever for seeking to remove serious foreign national offenders.”
Chancellor Sajid Javid said no-one protected by the court ruling was on the flight.
“It is absolutely right that when they have served their sentence that we send them out of the country,” Javid told BBC Radio 5 Live on Tuesday morning. “They are not British nationals, they are not members of the Windrush generation, they are all foreign national offenders.”
The #Jamaica50 deportation had drawn protests in the UK. On Monday evening, around 30 community groups participated in the second major protest demanding an end what they consider to be unfair deportation practices against British residents.
Between 150 to 200 people endured low temperatures and intermittent pouring rain outside UK Prime Minister’s Boris Johnson’s residence to denounce the latest scheduled mass deportations of British residents to Jamaica.
“We want human rights, no charter flights” they chanted. The demonstration against the charter flight began across Number 10 and travelled down Downing Street to the intersection with Parliament Street & Bridge Street, blocking four main roads.
But the government has argued that the people due to be deported are hardened criminals and that their removal from the country is proportionate. “The people on this plane are people who have committed very serious crimes, whether it’s rape, manslaughter, murder,” said Rishi Sunak MP, Chief Secretary to the Treasury.
Lee Jasper of BAME Lawyers for Justice, however, said that deportees are made up of people with minor level convictions such as low level fighting, traffic violations and low level drug dealing, “not the serious psychopathic, rapist and murderers described by Boris Johnson.”
People who would have been British, “had their parents not been denied citizenship under the Windrush Scandal” are now finding themselves “subject to arbitrary deportation,” Jasper said. This is despite the fact that many have resided in the UK for 25 – 30 years, including those born and raised in the UK.