Who sold out the deportees?
Last week, a number of Jamaicans deported from the United Kingdom for a variety of reasons accused the Government of 'selling them out'. Many of them were snatched and herded on to a plane and sent back to Jamaica.
Some of them, I gather, had been living there since they were children.
One man in particular, who admitted to not only living illegally in the UK but also to selling weed, said Jamaicans were being targeted and mistreated, adding that the Jamaican Government should stand up for the rights of Jamaicans living overseas.
I will agree with him to a point, but in all fairness, if you are an illegal alien committing illegal acts in another man's country, you can't really argue when they throw you in jail and then pack you off to your country of origin.
I think many Jamaicans are delusional when it comes to what rights they have when they flout laws overseas. Those who grew up here seem to be of the belief that there are no consequences for breaking the law because they get away with so much here at home. They take that behaviour overseas and expect the authorities there to respond similarly.
However, a bigger issue for me is what happens to them when they are shipped back home. I find that not enough is done to help deportees re-integrate into the Jamaican society. There is a feeling that they are left to fend for themselves and, eventually, they are forced into breaking more laws, descending once more into the world of criminality.
According to statistics I saw this week, between January and the end of June, almost 1,000 Jamaicans were deported to Jamaica. Most of them, 342, arrived from the USA. The second largest batch, 149, arrived from England. Interestingly, the third largest batch, 130, arrived from Trinidad and Tobago.
Now that they are back, the question is: What do you do with them?
I have discovered that the Government doesn't sell anyone out, as the deported dreadlocked gentleman would have us believe.
There are a number of facilities - The Marie Atkins Night Centre, Open Arms Centre, Open Arms Charitable Centre, and Portland Rehabilitation Ltd - that offer a range of services to deportees. Those services include medium to long-term accommodation, meals, counselling, as well as access to clothing and footwear, and identification documentation.
These centres also offer skills training programmes in beekeeping, pig farming, vegetable farming and other pursuits that are income-generating and can turn out to be more than worthwhile pursuits. In other words, the programmes assist deportees to make a decent living and to be able to, at least, take care of themselves without resorting to criminality.
And the way I see it, the fewer deportees that turn to a life of crime, the better. Should that ever become a reality, the police can allocate resources elsewhere.
However, the onus cannot be on the Government alone. Some of the returnees also have to take the bull by the horns and choose to work with the programmes and adopt the mindset that criminality is not a viable option.
But if they choose to take that route, then one can't blame the Government for not standing up for the rights of those Jamaicans living abroad. If you break the laws, then there are consequences, but at the end of the day, there is always a path back home.
What you do when you get there is entirely up to you.