Wed | Jul 28, 2021

‘LIKE UNWANTED ANIMALS’ - Positive for COVID and his spouse having a miscarriage, deportee decries treatment by UK authorities

Published:Monday | December 7, 2020 | 12:13 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer
Windrush lobbyist Desmond Jaddoo.
Windrush lobbyist Desmond Jaddoo.
British radio host Nick Ferrari.
British radio host Nick Ferrari.

A Jamaican who expressed concern last week that his deportation from the United Kingdom could be a “death sentence” as he had no known relatives here has tested positive for COVID-19 after landing last Wednesday.

Now undergoing treatment as he serves out a mandatory 14 days in isolation, Milton* told The Gleaner that he was not tested for the deadly coronavirus before he left the UK on a charter flight with 12 other deportees last week.

Speaking from his hospital bed, Milton told The Gleaner that he had not been feeling well for about a week prior to the flight, adding that some persons took off their masks during the trip.

Further adding to his emotional stress is the fact that the mother of his two-year-old and three-year-old sons back in Birmingham, England, has had a miscarriage. She was two months pregnant.

“The authorities there in the detention centre simply did not care for any of us. After all, we are criminals to them, right? They didn’t even bother to test us, knowing fully well that this disease is deadly and easily transmissible,” Milton said.

“How could that be? Aren’t we human, too? Are the people in Britain that wicked that they see us only as criminals?” Milton asked.

“We all did wrong, yes; and we all, for the most part, have paid the ultimate price by being incarcerated, some for [many] years ..., but to treat us like unwanted animals should be condemned there and here in Jamaica.”

Milton said that he was gutted knowing that he can’t be with his children’s mother to offer comfort during such a difficult time.

“It is too emotional for me to even talk about it at the moment. I just wish I was there to be of comfort to her and my kids. She wasn’t eating because she was so stressed over this deportation,” Milton said.

Milton was among a batch of 50 persons initially slated to be deported last week. Twenty-three others were left off the flight following a volley of successful requests by their lawyers.

UK radio host Nick Ferrari has been facing increased pressure to recant a statement many suggested was racist as the matter dominated public discourse.

Speaking at the top of one his shows last week, Ferrari suggested that Jamaicans were rapists and paedophiles.

“Remember we spoke couple days ago about those Jamaican nationals being rapists, paedophiles and murderers? Don’t worry, the lawyers there have had their say, aided by some celebrities and lot of labour politicians,” he said on air. “Many of them now currently abide in this country ... unlikely to be deported, so probably will be freed. So that’s great work by the various celebrities. So fairly soon there could be a Jamaican rapist or paedophile coming to a street near you.”

Yesterday, he followed up those comments with an opinion piece in the Daily Express, saying the deportation “was an attempt to rid this country of dozens of lowlifes, none of whom were UK citizens”, adding, “How joyous it would be if some of these vicious undesirables moved next door to the dopey do-gooders who support them so loyally.”

The UK Home Office described the deportees as being very dangerous criminals and listed murder, rape, dealing in drugs and other “serious crimes” as reasons for giving them the boot.

Bishop Desmond Jaddoo, the chair of the Windrush National Organisation, was terse in his condemnation of Ferrari’s comments, describing it as another devastating blow to people of colour in the UK.

“This statement should have no place in the discourse around deportation in this country. It is racist and needs to be called out as such. Mr Ferrari should be ashamed of himself to even utter those words,” he said.

*Name changed.