NEWS
06/02/2019 19:49 GMT | Updated 07/02/2019 00:30 GMT

Six People Given Last-Minute Reprieve As Deportation Charter Flight Leaves For Jamaica, Campaigners Say

One man being removed had a Windrush application still under consideration, say supporters.

Nadine White

At least six Jamaican detainees have been granted a last-minute reprieve from a charter deportation flight, campaigners have told HuffPost UK.

A decision by the Home Office to send around 50 people to the Caribbean country prompted outrage as many had lived for decades in the UK - and have British families - and have links to the Windrush generation.

But it has now thought a small number will stay in the UK as their cases are reviewed by the government. It comes as the private Titan Airways flight is understood to have departed Birmingham airport on Wednesday.

The Home Office later confirmed the flight has left the UK, and that “29 serious foreign criminals” were on board.

Among those spared is 61-year-old Lascelles White, who had an application pending to the Windrush Task Force to allow him the right to remain in the UK, according to campaigners. None of the people on the flight were members of the Windrush generation, the Home Office said on Wednesday.

HuffPost UK also understands Twane Morgan, a former soldier who served in the British army before he was discharged with post-traumatic stress disorder, is also among those spared from removal.

He was granted a late reprieve after a court injunction was granted, the Movement for Justice campaign group has said. 

Another young man, who attempted to take his own life in a detention centre on Tuesday night, has also successfully made a last-minute asylum claim after the Jamaican High Commissioner Seth Ramocan intervened on his behalf, according to Movement For Justice.

Other reports suggest Owen Haisley, a DJ from Manchester who has lived in the UK since the age of four, has also been spared the flight following an intervention from his solicitor. 

Meanwhile, the Independent has reported that detainees at the Harmondsworth Immigration Removal Centre heard “screams” from people as they were taken from their cells in the early hours of Wednesday morning as guards escorted them out for the flight.

Those being deported are believed to have been transferred to Birmingham airport, where they were put on the first charter deportation flight to Jamaica since before the Windrush scandal.

Labour MP Helen Hayes questioned how many had now not been deported, adding: “Confidence in Home Office decision making is at an all time low – use of charter flights must stop before more people suffer injustice.”

Addressing the home secretary Sajid Javid on Tuesday, Labour MP David Lammy said that black British people have been “killed by the Home Office’s incompetence”, and criticised the department for arranging a charter flight to Jamaica before the Windrush review had been concluded and compensation paid to scandal victims.

On Monday, protestors gathered outside the Jamaica High Commission in London.

Campaigners said at least eleven people facing deportation on the charter flight are thought to be connected to the Windrush generation through grandparents, aunts and uncles. Eight have British-born children, and one grandmother says she is set to be separated from her ten British grandchildren.

Earlier this week, Ramocan broke his silence and told HuffPost UK: “We’re working behind the scenes to ensure justice is being served. But we want people to know that the High Commission is not unmindful and is very sensitive to their cause.”

A Home Office spokesperson said: “On 6 February, 29 serious foreign criminals were flown to Jamaica on a chartered flight.

“The crimes committed by the individuals include murder, rape and serious violence. The total combined sentence of their crimes is over 150 years imprisonment.

“The law requires that we seek to deport foreign nationals who abuse our hospitality by committing crimes in the UK. This ensures we keep the public safe.”