Phillips defends deportee MoU

September 09, 2016
Dr Peter Phillips

Former national security minister Dr Peter Phillips says that the 2007 memorandum of understanding (MOU) that was signed between governments of Jamaica and the United Kingdom was aimed at ensuring that due process was observed in the deportation of persons.

The United Kingdom on Wednesday deported 42 Jamaicans to the island despite protests in the UK that persons being deported had filed appeals against their deportation.

"We were really trying to clear up particular irritants that had arisen. We have had persons sent back who were proven to have been not of Jamaican nationality. ... We have had persons who were dangerous who the Jamaican authorities had not been apprised of their antecedence," Phillips said yesterday.

"It was intended to prevent any authority doing as they saw fit without reference to the Jamaican authorities," Phillips said.

He told THE STAR yesterday that prior to the MoU being inked, that deporting countries had dumped a plane load of deportees in a Caribbean territory without verifying their nationalities.

The national security ministry, headed by Robert Montigue, said yesterday that because of the MoU, Jamaica was obligated to accept persons being deported.

"The Ministry of National Security acknowledges the sensitive nature of the circumstances and has always respected the individuals' rights to be reunited with family and friends away from the glare of publicity. Our practice has always been to afford families to have the space and time to recover from the trauma of this sudden displacement," the ministry said.

The ministry said it is watching and waiting on the outcomes of the legal challenges in the United Kingdom and will lend support where necessary.

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