JM | Dec 3, 2020

Return of UK deportees ‘a routine process’

/ Our Today

Reading Time: 3 minutes

Jamaican Goverment says British authorities have assured that returned individuals all exhausted legal process

Kamina Johnson Smith, minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade.

The Jamaican Government says it has been assured that the group of 13 deportees returned to the island from the United Kingdom on Wednesday had exhausted all legal remedies available to them in Britain.

In a joint statement yesterday, the Ministry of National Security and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade said the 13 Jamaica-born involuntarily returned migrants (IRMs) arrived at the Norman Manley International Airport from the United Kingdom after having met the criteria for removal set out in the UK Borders ACT of 2007.

Their arrival followed growing pressure on government in the UK last week, against plans to deport 50 individuals, many of whom rights advocates argued should not have been ripped from their families or faced special circumstances that deserved further examination.

READ: Pressure mounting on UK government to halt Jamaica deportation plane

But earlir this week it was revealed that, after a agrement was reached before two nations, a last minute reprieve was granted to the majority of the persons scheduled to be flown back to the island.

READ: Quiet deal reached on planned deportation of Jamaicans from England this week

“The return of the IRMs is a routine process that is guided by agreements between Jamaica and our bilateral partner countries,” the ministries said.

“The government is mindful of the heightened sensitivities in respect of IRMs from the UK in particular. For this reason, diplomatic engagements between the Jamaican and UK governments have always sought to ensure that the process is one that takes into account these sensitivities and in particular any remaining legal processes that could provide for exemptions for any of those persons.”

The ministries added: “The information available to the Government of Jamaica is that the IRMs were allowed to exhaust all legal remedies and recourse available to them prior to their departure. This resulted in only 13 IRMs being returned to Jamaica today, notwithstanding the larger number of persons initially proposed. 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 ministries noted that, from a humanitarian perspective, an agreement was also reached with the UK Government that no one who arrived in Britain before turning 12 years old would have been among the persons removed on Wednesday’s flight.

Dr Horace Chang, minister of national security.

“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,” the ministries said.

“At the same time, we also have an obligation to receive Jamaican citizens who fail to meet the criteria for remaining in those countries. It is in this context that we also receive Jamaicans who are removed from other countries. The charter flights from the United Kingdom are no different.”

The ministries noted that the Jamaican Government remains committed to the safe and orderly reintegration and rehabilitation of Jamaican nationals deported from the UK and elsewhere, and to ensuring that strengthened mechanisms are put in place to that end.

They said that, taking into account the COVID-19 pandemic, precautionary measures were put in place to ensure that the necesesary protocols were followed, at both ends, to protect both the IRMs and the Jamaican population.

“This includes testing and observation of the mandatory quarantine imperatives on arrival in Jamaica,” the added.


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