A letter to… Theresa May
In a change to our usual ̒A letter from…̕, a Jamaican living in South Africa writes to the British Prime Minister
Dear Theresa May,
Who would have thought that a nation of imperial and colonial heritage would deport African-Jamaicans – people who live there and make positive contributions to the economy – after 400 years of enslaving their ancestors? I refer to the UK government’s decision to forcibly remove 50 people to Jamaica in a private charter plane. (‘Protest at Jamaican embassy in London against deportation flight’, Guardian, 6 September 2016.) Is this the UK government’s reparation payment to African-Jamaicans for their ancestors’ enslavement?
Please don’t hide behind cliches (‘The government followed all due legal processes’) – I don’t buy that crap! ‘British legal process’ legalised the enslavement of peoples of African descent. That did not make it right!
This flight represents the epitome of the depth of moral depravity required to implement your immigration ideology. Vulnerable people, some of whom arrived in the UK as babies and have lived there for more than 10 years, were forced, before they could appeal, into a private plane by a heartless system. Your government used their plight to demonstrate its seriousness about dealing with ‘illegal immigrants’. How pathetic.
Your government’s approval of snatching African-Jamaicans, mirrors the illegal hunting, transporting and transplanting of their ancestors from Africa to the Caribbean – this time using a private plane rather than a private ship. Has this government no shame, no sense of history? …
Prof Roderick Hewitt is a member of the United Church of Jamaica and the Cayman Islands and Associate Professor of Theology at the University of Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
This is an extract from the October 2016 edition of Reform.