Gov’t emphasizes that Jamaica has an obligation to receive deportees

by December 3rd, 2020

The government has emphasized that Jamaica has an obligation to receive its Nationals, who fail to meet the criteria for remaining in foreign countries, resulting in their deportation.

This, in the wake of wide spread condemnation, and calls for intervention, when reports emerged that about 50 Jamaicans were to be deported from the United Kingdom.

Many of the persons initially slated to be deported were removed from the flight just before take off and as such, only 13 arrived in the island yesterday (December 2).

In a joint statement, Minister of National Security Dr. Horace Chang, and Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Kamina Johnson-Smith, noted that the obligation to receive involuntarily returned migrants, applies to many countries, not just the UK.

The ministers said the 13 returned migrants were removed from the UK pursuant to having met the criteria for removal, set out in the UK borders act of 2007.

They said this is a routine process that is guided by agreements between Jamaica and bilateral partner countries.

The government said its mindful of the heightened sensitivities in respect of returned migrants from the UK, in particular.

For this reason, diplomatic engagements between the Jamaican and UK governments have sought to ensure that the process takes into account these sensitivities, and in particular, any remaining legal processes that could provide for exemptions for any of those persons.

The ministers said the information available to the government is that the returned migrants were allowed to exhaust all legal remedies and recourse available to them, prior to their departure.

They noted that no Windrush victim, or persons eligible for compensation under the Windrush scheme, was included among those removed, and that factors such as the right to family life, and issues around trafficking in persons, were taken into account.

Furthermore, government noted that from a humanitarian perspective, an agreement was reached with the UK, that no one who arrived in the UK before the age of 12 years, would be among the persons removed.

The government is encouraging Jamaicans overseas, to abide by the laws of their country of residence, and to have their immigration status regularized, if they wish to remain permanently in those countries.

The government said it remains committed to the safe and orderly reintegration and rehabilitation of Jamaican Nationals deported from the UK and elsewhere.

Additionally, taking into account the Covid-19 pandemic, precautionary measures were put in place to ensure that the necessary protocols were followed, at both ends, to protect both the returned migrants, and the Jamaican population.

This includes, testing and observation of the mandatory quarantine imperatives, upon arrival in Jamaica.