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Letter of the Day | More deportees than returning residents

Published:Wednesday | February 14, 2018 | 12:00 AM


For all of the Jamaicans concerned about migration and Diasporas, the recent findings that we now have more deportees than returning residents should give us pause for thought. I hope that the work done by Professor Thomas-Hope on the Migration Report in 2017 will be widely disseminated by the Planning Institute of Jamaica. Many of our people, politicians, business people, family members are only concerned about the flow of remittances which form an alarming high proportion our gross domestic product.

While speaking of the flow of remittances both social and financial, I pause to record my deep sadness about the elderly couple aged, 81 and 70, respectively, who returned from cold Winnipeg in Canada after 50 years to build their dream holiday home in Retreat, St Thomas only to be murdered by a 25-year-old resident of Seaforth. I heard the news of the arrest of this young man and in the same newscast heard the clip of a recording by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation of the 400 mourners who turned out for the memorial service in Winnipeg and how the family members wept and the sadness of the event.

We need to deal with the increased levels of crime and seriously ask ourselves if Jamaica is safe for those who wish to return to contribute to the place of their birth. Many retirees have chosen to go elsewhere out of fear and trepidation. Countries like Costa Rica, which are safe, and where there is clearly a respect for law and order is benefiting from retirees from across the world.

Then what about the deportees, I suppose, that our prime minister had talks with Mr Tillerson about the possible deportation of the 2400 DACA recipients to Jamaica. The country is receiving a steady flow of involuntary-return migrants, or deportees, from the UK, the USA and Canada into families, communities and a country with very limited or non-existent support systems.

Of interest is the fact that more than 3,000 have applied to Jamaica to become citizens, and we need to know more about who is coming to our shores.

We need to pay attention and understand why such large numbers of persons continue to leave or desire to leave Jamaica, and in this regard, I end by congratulating the National Library of Jamaica for undertaking a commemorative exhibition for the departure of the SS Windrush 70 years ago. We need to find out about the impact of major journeys and understand if that departure resulted in brain drain, brain gain, or brain circulation.

Hillary Hickling