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Jamaicans residing in UK not heeding immigration warnings

Published:Thursday | July 9, 2015 | 12:00 AMGary Spaulding

Jamaica's High Commissioner to the United Kingdom Aloun Assamba has expressed concern that Jamaicans residing in that country are not heeding immigration warnings until they are confronted by obstacles that render them immobile.

Assamba was referring to the case of Neville McKenzie, who, The Gleaner reported yesterday, has been left stranded in Jamaica after visiting to attend a funeral.

"This is a matter that is out of our hands here at the High Commission in London," said Assamba. "We can do nothing about it."

Added Assamba: "I would suggest, as was done when the last one was brought to the public, that he gets in touch with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to see if he can get some assistance."

Last year, reports surfaced that Lloyd Bogle, a 64-year-old British resident, was left stranded in Jamaica. It provoked the intervention of the British High Commission in Jamaica.

Said Assamba: "We have waged a public education programme on the matter here ... . I am on radio as well as in the community newspapers about it."

Assamba disclosed that local television programmes that cover the various events in the UK all carry the information. "I am surprised that there could be anyone here who would not be aware of the need to get their status dealt with," she said.

A London resident since 1962, McKenzie, who came to Jamaica in November last year, has been blocked from entering the place he has called home for 53 years.

While McKenzie's lawyer, Jennifer Housen, is contending that the UK's visa policy is extraordinary and circular, Assamba said: "It is amazing that this could be happening after the last case which got so much publicity."

Added Assamba: " People just do not pay attention."

She mentioned another case in which the person went to Trinidad and had similar problems. That case, she said, was only concluded earlier this week. "Only the British High Commission in the respective country can deal with it to offer the visa back to the UK," said Assamba.