Stop the Deportation Flight


News of the planned deportation flight to Jamaica has resulted in anger and concern. This latest chapter in the Windrush scandal is extremely worrying not just for the families and individuals involved, but also for the wider Caribbean communities here in the UK and beyond.

It has been reported that up to 50 people are due to be placed on a flight to Jamaica this week. This will be the second time a flight has been chartered to Jamaica since this sad and at times tragic affair. There is expected to be legal action against this position, from groups and individuals.

Aspects of law and order are expected and indeed demanded but the Government has got much of this so badly wrong, even by their own admission, without time to reflect and learn lessons surely no action should be taken. We therefore, like many others ask Government to pause and reflect on this proposed action. Wait for the review which is yet to be released and pay heed to its own recommendations. David Lammy MP has argued for this position and makes it clear, as to why the deportation flights should be halted. “The right thing to do is to wait for their own review, where a leak last week suggests that Wendy Williams was saying: ‘Don’t deport people who arrived here under 13.’ I think that sounds right.”

Removing individuals from the UK in this manner is traumatic. However, when we consider that some of those who have been identified have been in the UK from the age of 5, being removed in this manner will be devastating. Decades of family life will be ripped apart and destroyed. Those who were once children now have children of their own.

The recent Windrush story should not continually end with heartache. An overwhelming majority of the families who were pushed emotionally and financially with the threat of being deported have yet to be compensated for their pain. Although the government apologized for the Windrush scandal back in 2018, only 3% of those involved had received payment from mishandled cases. More than 8,000 people from that point in time have been provided with documentation confirming their legal status.

The government’s slow push to compensate families underpins our call for this lack of movement to be mirrored in relation to the planned deportation flight. The joint draft letter by Diane Abbot MP and Nadia Whittome MP, with additional signatures from over 100 cross-party MPs, requests that the government wait for the recommendations from the review. The letter was sent onto Boris Johnson.

Diane Abbot believes it is clear that some of the people on the flight are “…actually British” and states clearly that “We must not continue the Windrush scandal of deporting our own citizens.” It is time for the government to listen and stop the arranged deportation flight now.

There will be more demonstrations this evening outside Downing St. We hope that the Government having investigated what went wrong before will learn from their mistakes, to do otherwise demonstrates a lack of respect, not least for the pain the Windrush scandal has caused.

Rodney Reid