Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Seth George Ramocan, says while the United Kingdom has the right to determine who should be allowed to remain in the country, persons to be deported should be entitled to the due process of the law.
“The individuals who are being deported have a right to be heard, they have a right to have access to their lawyers, they have rights for any possibility or privileges for making applications to determine their rights to remain…before that flight departs,” Ramocan said in a recent interview.
He acknowledged during the interview that the state had the right “to determine whether that person would be allowed to remain in the country” saying that he was in discussions also with a legal voluntary group involved in the community on the matter.
“The individuals who are being deported have a right to be heard…before that flight departs”— Jamaica’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Seth George Ramocan
Hundreds of protesters Thursday night descended onto Downing Street in protest over the decision by London to deport Caribbean nationals next week.
The protesters, armed with placards are urging the Home Office to halt the plane to Kingston until a review into the Windrush scandal is published.
In 2018, the British government faced a serious backlash about the treatment of the Windrush generation – named after a ship that brought people to the United Kingdom from the Caribbean in 1948. It emerged that thousands of long-term UK residents were denied access to services, held in detention or removed despite living legally in the country for decades.
During the Prime Minister’s questions in Parliament, Labour MP Nadia Whittome said that the new charter flight was taking place before the ‘lessons learned’ review of the Windrush affair had been published.
“Will the prime minister immediately suspend the flight until the lessons learned review is published and the recommendations implemented?”
But Prime Minister Boris Johnson insisted that the flight must go ahead, saying the authorities had the “right to send back foreign national offenders”.
The Home Office also denied non-criminals would be on the flight, but promised to legally review the 50 cases before Tuesday
Karen Doyle, from national organisation Movement for Justice, told British media on Thursday night that the protest “was a powerful demonstration of how people feel about these unjust mass deportation charter flights”.
But the government said those being deported are all criminals with no right to remain in the country. However, lawyers say some passengers could be victims of trafficking and county lines exploitation. The Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI) says some have lived in the UK for the majority of their lives and are being disproportionately punished for minor crimes.
The flight to Jamaica, revealed by The Independent newspaper, is the second since the Windrush scandal.