Tue | Sep 29, 2020

Death before deportation - Man attempts suicide ahead of February 11 flight back to Jamaica

Published:Saturday | February 8, 2020 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

The head of a United Kingdom (UK) pressure group is urging the Andrew Holness administration to deny landing rights to a charter flight from Britain with 50 Jamaicans to be deported to the island next Tuesday, after one of the detainees attempted to end his life.

The man, said to be about 22, is now on suicide watch, Desmond Jaddoo, the founder of the Birmingham Empowerment Forum, has reported.

“I can confirm that one individual had in fact attempted suicide and is currently on suicide watch. He attempted an overdose of some medication while detained for removal to Jamaica,” Jaddoo said.

The man’s relatives in Jamaica have been notified of the situation.

“I am, therefore, calling on Mr Holness and the Jamaican Government to actually deny landing rights for this plane to land in our country (Jamaica) because that’s how serious we have to take it now,” said Jaddoo, who also heads the Windrush Movement in the UK.

President of the Association of Returning Residents Percival Latouche agrees that the Government should deny the flight landing rights.


“I am appealing to the Government; that plane must not land here,” he insisted.

“They should reject the grounds on which the UK summarily sends people to this country because they share heritage here. Many of them went over there at tender ages. They were schooled in their system, and now that some end up committing crimes they should be shipped out here?”

Latouche said he hopes the Government can prove him wrong that they are not lackeys and do the “right thing”.

At the same time, an official from the UK Home Office has said that next week’s planned charter flight is specifically for the removing of “foreign criminals”.

Responding to yesterday’s Gleaner headline: ‘Deportation plea – local relative of ex-con being sent back to Ja asks UK authorities to consider his eventual well-being’ – the official confirmed that those detained for removal include people convicted of manslaughter, rape, violent crime and dealing in Class A drugs.

“The Government, in accordance with the law, has continued to remove foreign national offenders to Jamaica, some on charters and some on scheduled flights”.

Further, he said that the priority of the British Government would always be to keep the British public safe.

“That is why foreign nationals, who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes, should be in no doubt of our determination to deport them,” the official, who declined to be named, said.

Since 2010, more than 51,000 people, hundreds of them Jamaicans, have been deported according to the official.

“We only return those with no legal right to remain in the UK, including foreign national offenders. Individuals are only returned to their country of origin when the Home Office and courts (if applicable) deem it is safe to do so.

“Any new legal representations made while an individual is detained are considered carefully and in accordance with the law,” stated the official.

None of the individuals on the flight are eligible for the Windrush Scheme.

The Home Office said 29 “foreign criminals” with a combined sentence of 150 years were deported on last year’s charter flight – an average sentence of five years imprisonment per person.

This includes a combined total of 49 years for drug-related offences, including Class A drugs; 45 years or life for violent crimes, including murder, attempted murder and assault occasioning bodily harm and grievous bodily harm; 18 years for sexual offences, including against a child.