Sat | Jan 23, 2021

We had to accept deportees, says Gov’t

Published:Thursday | December 3, 2020 | 12:21 AM
Dr Horace Chang, minister of national security.
Dr Horace Chang, minister of national security.

Thirteen Jamaica-born migrants were deported from the United Kingdom yesterday on a chartered flight, which landed at the Norman Manley International Airport in Kingston.

News of the planned deportation flight had resulted in a backlash in Jamaica and in the United Kingdom, with several high-profile individuals campaigning against the move, especially in light of the COVID-19 pandemic as well as the contention over the fairness of the process in light of the offences committed by some of the individuals.

The parliamentary Opposition had also objected to the plans, urging the Government not to accept the flight.

In a release yesterday, National Security Minister Dr Horace Chang and Foreign Affairs Minister Kamina Johnson Smith said that the Government had an obligation to accept the deportees and that it was committed to their safe and orderly reintegration and rehabilitation.

They said that the Jamaicans had “exhausted all legal remedies and recourse available to them” prior to their deportation.

Initial numbers had suggested that a larger number of Jamaicans would have been placed on the flight, but a late agreement was reached to not deport anyone who had arrived in the UK before the age of 12.

“We are informed that no Windrush victims or persons eligible for compensation under the Windrush Scheme were included among those removed and that factors such as the right to family life and issues around trafficking in persons, which the Government of Jamaica also takes seriously, were taken into account,” the statement released by Chang and Johnson Smith said.

“The Government of Jamaica continues to encourage Jamaicans overseas to abide by the laws of their country of residence and to have their immigration status regularised if they wish to remain permanently in those countries,” it added.

The deportees have been tested for COVID-19 and will undergo the mandatory 14-day quarantine period for persons arriving in the island.