LONDON, England, Novembert 5, 2021 - The Labour Member of Parliament for the Streatham constituency in the United Kingdom, Bell Riberio-Addy, is calling for a charter flight with deportees destined for Jamaica to be halted, claiming that if it goes ahead, it will be the first of its kind since the Windrush scandal.
The British Home Office is seeking to deport two vulnerable women to Jamaica on a special charter flight next week despite neither of them having committed a criminal offence. This is in addition to several other Jamaicans who are said to have committed crimes in the UK.
The women are said to have lived in Britain for over seven years and have close relatives in the country. One is said to be on suicide watch in detention.
They are facing removal on a flight next Wednesday after they were recently refused further leave to remain.
“What we’re seeing is exactly the same deport-first-ask-questions later approach that led to so much suffering in the Windrush scandal,” the Streatham MP said.
“The government shouldn’t be tearing apart vulnerable families dealing with difficult personal circumstances – especially not while we have an ongoing pandemic.”
Britain’s Morning Star newspaper, which seems to have joined the campaign against arbitrary deportations of Jamaicans by the British Home Office, is reporting that “the move indicates a change in the government’s approach to deportations to the Caribbean island, with charter flights in recent years exclusively targeting Jamaicans with criminal convictions.”
The Windrush scandal, which broke in 2018, saw British citizens wrongly detained, deported and denied rights due to the government’s hostile environment policies. The two women are thought to be the first Jamaicans to be targeted for removal solely due to immigration issues since the scandal.
Protestors have urged prime minister Andrew Holness not to collaborate with Home Office removal operations pointing to the environmental as well as human cost of deportations, and urged him not to collaborate with Home Office removal operations.
The charter plane, scheduled to leave the UK on 10 November, is expected to have up to 50 people on board. Among those served removal directions is a man with learning disabilities who has been in the UK since he was three months old.
The group, Movement for Justice, said that of the 11 detainees it had spoken to, eight came to Britain as children.
Wednesday’s flight also seeks to remove men with past convictions, many of whom have lived in Britain since childhood, according to campaign group Movement for Justice.
A Home Office spokesperson said: “Those with no right to be in the UK and foreign national offenders should be in no doubt that we will do whatever is necessary to remove them.”
It added that “extensive checks” have taken place to ensure that no British citizens or anyone eligible for the Windrush scheme are facing removal.