Socialist Worker

Man threatened with deportation flight to Jamaica says his life is on the line

by Tomáš Tengely-Evans
Issue No. 2732

A protest against a deportation flight to Jamaica in central London in February

A protest against a deportation flight to Jamaica in central London in February (Pic: Guy Smallman)


A Jamaican man threatened with deportation from Britain says his “life would be in danger” if he’s sent back in two weeks' time. 

John—not his real name—is one of at least eight people who have been booked onto a charter flight scheduled to take off on 2 December. “My life would be in danger,” he told Socialist Worker. “If I go back there, I know what would happen to me. 

“I wouldn’t last too long.”

The Tories tried to deport John on the last Jamaica charter flight in February. He was taken away from the airport at the last minute after a successful legal challenge blocked some of the deportations. 

John was locked up in Colnbrook immigration removal centre, near Heathrow Airport, after signing on at the Home Office’s Eaton House last Wednesday. He hasn’t been able to see his three children, aged 12, eight and five, or his pregnant partner since. 

“No visitors are allowed to come inside this place,” he explained. “My partner and my 12 year old daughter were sat outside for five and a half hours, waiting for the decision about me. 

“When I was detained on that day, I couldn’t say anything to them.” 

John says the family is "finding it very difficult” because “we did everything by the book”. “My solicitor sent off the paperwork, with recorded delivery, to the Home Office a few weeks ago,” he said.

“The Home Office said they’d tried to take £65 from my partner’s account and couldn’t, and that’s why my application was refused.

“But that’s not true, my partner went to the bank and no one tried to take no money out and there is money in there.” 

Murder

John was forced to flee Jamaica in 2002 after a gang tried to murder him. “In 2001, I was kidnapped,” he explained. “I used to run a minicab, and in Jamaica, if you are running a mini cab they feel that you should be paying them protection. 

“They kidnapped me, cut my wrists and shot at me as I was going over a fence.” 

John added that the gang had targeted other members of his family, “burning my brother with acid. So what would happen to me if I went back?”

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He came to Britain and was given indefinite leave between 2004 and 2015, when he was sentenced on a drugs charge. 

The Tories are trying to justify the flights by claiming the people being deported are “serious criminals”. It’s part of a divide and rule strategy that falsely paints some people as “good migrants” and others as “bad migrants”.

There should be no deportations—whether people have been convicted of crimes or not. 

Anti-racists must fight to stop deportation flights and bring down Britain’s racist immigration system.


Detainees faced with horrific conditions

John has been taking medication for depression for five years. But he was forced to go without them when he first came to Colnbrook.

“On Saturday they came into the room because I was very distressed. “I was crying my eyes out. I had no sleep for two days, and they’re telling me they can’t give me my medication.”It wasn’t until the following lunchtime that John saw a doctor who restarted his medication. 

He added that he’s “finding it very difficult to cope” inside Colnbrook. 

“There aren’t any precautions with health,” John said. “When you go to get your medication, there aren’t any masks provided.” 

“I see bloodstains on my bed.”


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