Fri | Aug 18, 2017

'Most of us never went to steal or traffic drugs' - 32 deportees arrive on charter flight from UK

Published:Thursday | March 9, 2017 | 3:00 AMPaul Clarke
Christie, making her way from Mobile Reserve in Kingston, yesterday.
Two of the persons sent home by the UK government leaving Mobile Reserve in Kingston, yesterday.
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She gave her name only as Christie, but to her, that was not important. What was significant was the fact that she had to leave behind her elderly mother, who has been living in the United Kingdom for approximately 50 years.

Wearing a smile that masked her sadness, she spoke to The Gleaner, having exited Harman Barracks, where she was processed as one of a batch of 32 persons who were deported to the island on a charter flight from London yesterday. Christie said that she would be fine, although looking back, she feels that the British system just never worked out for her.

"I was there for 16 full years, and I tried several times to get myself straight, but each time, they turned me down. But I will be OK. I never went there to steal or traffic drugs or anything like that," she said.

"The system just never worked for many of us, but I will be fine. I still have my home here," the mother of four said before dashing off to get into a car that one of her sons was driving.

The white Meridiana Airline charter flight arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport at approximately 12:55 p.m. before they were taken to Harman Barracks to complete the processing.

Christie was one of six women among the 32 deportees as the UK government continues its deportation policy of Jamaicans who have either overstayed their time in that country or have run afoul of UK law.

 

'Decent' 22-year-old

 

Included in the batch was 22-year-old Francois Somers, who left Jamaica when he was eight years old to live in London, England, with his aunt and other relatives.

His mother, Sherine Dean-Collins, admitted to The Gleaner that he had immigration issues but that while living there, he had established himself as a decent young man, who was willing to contribute positively to the society.

Now deported, Somers has been separated from his three-year-old son and his common-law wife, who has begun preliminary proceedings as she seeks to get him back into the UK.

"He was doing OK. He never got into trouble. I guess that is just how their (UK Government) want to deal with things," Dean-Collins said.

"Now, all of us as a family will have to rally round him and provide the necessary assistance to get him back on his feet as quickly as possible," said Dean-Collins.