Thursday 9 April, 2020

Mark Shields weighs in on UK deportation to Jamaica

Mark Shields

Mark Shields

Former Deputy Commissioner of Police, Mark Shields, has acknowledged that deportees are in mortal danger in Jamaica because of their checkered pasts.

"It is quite possible that a deportee could be targeted by a local gang. If the deportee had been involved in gang activities in the UK (United Kingdom), there is a likelihood that the network has links to a kindred gang in Jamaica. Rivalry and risks do not end when you cross a border. There have been several instances in the past where deportees have been murdered," Shields Loop News.

In the past few years, there have been several murders of well-known deportees with ties to the underworld.  Owen 'Roy Fowl' Clarke, 62, who was shot and killed by armed men on February 23, 2019 was among them. Another, Dewayne Robinson, 37, known as ‘Little Wicked’, was murdered in March 2018.

Shields suggested that personal life choices likely led to their demise.

"Every nation has laws supporting the right to deport offenders to their country of origin. Jamaica has the same legal framework for this practice as the United Kingdom. Any chaos it wreaks is generally caused by the choices people have made in their lives. The majority of people who emigrate or are the children of immigrants are good, law-abiding citizens, making a meaningful contribution to the country that has adopted them. Regretfully, there will always be a minority who end up involved in serious crimes and gang activities, and the risks to those who have made that choice will always be greater than for law-abiding citizens," Shields said.

Recent news of deportees sent home from the UK last week has reignited debate about their impact on the country's crime problem. Senior members of the Ministry of National Security and the police force have long blamed deportees for the upsurge of major crimes in Jamaica, although there is no solid data on the number of deportees arrested or convicted over the past four years.

Efforts to get a comment from the group, ‘Family Unification and Resettlement Initiative’, which in the past has the put forward the perception that deportees fuelling the spiralling crime problem locally is not true, were unsuccessful.

In the meantime, the Home Office in the UK is rumoured to be planning a second chartered flight to Jamaica this week for approximately 50 Jamaicans who were taken off last week’s deportation flight to Jamaica after an 11th-hour Court of Appeal ruling in their favour. The ruling said they should not fly last week as they had not had five working days of access to their lawyers because of problems with the phone signal at two detention centres close to Heathrow Airport – Colnbrook and Harmondsworth.

There are also several detainees at Brook House near Gatwick Airport, who won a reprieve from going on that charter flight following individual legal actions by their lawyers. They fear they might be deported on a future flight.

Many Jamaicans have continued to pursue legal challenges on several grounds, arguing that they ought to remain in the UK, and their deportation orders ought to be reconsidered, pending the government’s overall review on foreign national offenders.

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