Deportee scolds Gov’t
A Jamaican man who was deported from the United States 16 years ago is insisting that the Government here accepts responsibility for some of the crimes perpetrated by people involuntarily sent back to the country, following the shooting death of two policemen last week, allegedly by a deportee.
Charlie Brown, who served in the United States military but was sent back to Jamaica in January 2004, made the point in an interview with the Jamaica Observer on Monday, three days after the killing of Detective Corporal Dane Biggs and Constable DeCardo Hylton, and the serious wounding of two other cops, allegedly by Damion Hamilton who was deported from Canada in 2017.
Brown, who is also a former Jamaica Constabulary Force member, said the Government has failed to help reintegrate deportees into society, leaving several who have no ties to the island to the mercy of criminal elements.
According to Brown, in most instances, people being deported to the island should be readily presented with a taxpayer registration number (TRN) and a national identification card.
He said those who are found to have no ties to the island or have committed a criminal offence in the country they are being deported from must be assisted through a halfway house.
A halfway house is a centre for rehabilitating former prisoners, psychiatric patients, or others unused to non-institutional life.
The advantage of this, he argued, is the benefit the Government has of being better able to monitor those returning.
“The Government not playing them role in order to make the reintegration process easier. So when it doesn’t happen, like that a lot of these guys seek solace in criminal gangs and then we are left to read about it — Bubba from Spanish Town, Bulbie, all of them, all the havoc that they wreak in society. The Government just not doing what ought to be done in order to prevent occurrences like these,” Brown, author of the book The Jamaican Deportees: We are displaced, desperate, damaged, rich, resourceful, or dangerous (who am I?), stressed.
“Not all deportees are criminals, but monitor the ones who are; the dangerous ones. You got six categories of deportees — displaced, desperate, damaged, rich, resourceful, and dangerous. Every deportee comes with him file. Here’s Mona, she overstay. We nuh need to monitor her. We need to monitor the one who come back fi murder, the dangerous ones, and not that they can’t be rehabilitated, but monitor them. Monitor the ones who served in the army — those people,” argued Brown, who has settled in St Thomas since his return.
He had spent 19 years in the US.
“You know how hard it is just for some deportee fi get a passport when them come back a Jamaica? So them nuh get nuh good passport, them go get bogus one. Them nuh get them TRN, them nuh get them national ID, and those things are the main things that they need to reintegrate back inna society. But once the hindrance is there where you think them going turn?” added Brown who said he currently runs his own visa application business.
The 56-year-old, who told the Observer that he was wrongfully detained and arrested for 40 months in the US before being sent back to the island, said the Government seems far removed from the issues facing deportees.
In his case, he said that he was deported after the Illegal Immigration Reform and Immigrant Responsibility Act of 1996 (IIRAIRA) took effect, having been convicted before for “resisting arrest without violence”.
He said at the time he was being arrested because a white police officer believed he had stolen the motor vehicle he was driving, though he owned the vehicle.
He said he objected to the move and was booked because of that objection.
The IIRAIRA, among other things, allows for the deportation of immigrants who commit a misdemeanour or a felony.
He said after the Act took effect, he was sent home.
Brown said the Jamaican Government offered no objection to his deportation although a US judge had ruled against it.
He said the Government also offered no assistance upon his return to the island.
He told the Observer that he was able to survive in the country because he still receives his pension from the US Government because he was injured on the job while serving in the army.
Pointing to Hamilton, the former cop said what the man is alleged to have done could have been prevented if the Government had a proper system in place.
“It’s a lot of underlying things with deportation and the Government of Jamaica doesn’t even understand them. The reintegration process is where the problem comes in. A lot of these people need help from all angles — friends and families, NGOs and the Government.
“The deportation issue needs to be resolved by the Government. The US does give the Government of Jamaica money for deportees. What them do with it, mi nuh know,” he said, noting that he was not attempting to defend deportees or justify their actions.
“I’m saying put things in place to assist who needs assistance and monitor who need fi monitor,” he said.
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