Please don’t let him be Jamaican!


Please don’t let him be Jamaican!

Please don’t let him be Jamaican, please don’t let him be Jamaican, was what I was  thinking as  I read the  Daily Mail story sent to me by the Netateer, which began “ A judge cut the sentence of an illegal immigrant and drug dealer yesterday to help him escape deportation”. Jack Doyle and James Slack wrote the story for the U.K daily.
However, he was Jamaican. Of course it shouldn’t matter, it’s just an example of someone doing something wrong, well someone doing a few things wrong and some of those things more than once.

According to the story, the Judge had decided to give a man guilty of dealing drugs an 11-month sentence for his crimes. Why, well if the sentence were more than 12 months the man would face deportation.

The question many are asking is why not deport him? When you hear the backstory as reported by Slack and Doyle, you will understand why. Here’s the very abridged version, a man we’ll call him Miller because that’s his name, overstayed when he first came to the U.K., was deported, came back and was deported again then came back with someone else’s identity and sent for his wife. Arrested for drug dealing he got his day in court. That brings us to that sentence and the explanation from the judge. According to the judge, sending him back to Jamaica would be “devastating”. Although given his record if deported he may not stay in Jamaica long enough to be devastated.

For those Jamaicans with no ambitions to engage in a criminal career on a visit to England this must all seem very wrong. These people may or may not get further than the High Commission and the prescreening process not even getting the chance to be deported once, let alone twice.

The fortunes of those who get deported back to Jamaica from countries such as the U.S. and the U.K. are mixed and deportation is not always about crime, some find it difficult to reconnect and get work others manage and there are a few who don’t stay deported long.

Over the years of living in Jamaica, I have heard of this happening, every so often, I would notice a new person in the district and be told they had been recently deported. After a while, when I noticed they were not around anymore I’d would ask what happened  and  hear  they’d gone back to “foreign”.

With the increasing use of high tech measures, such as fingerprint scanning and iris identification at immigration desks at airports, I sometimes wonder if we’re closer to a time when the legitimate visitor will find it easier to get into the U.S and Europe. It’s clear cases like Miller’s don’t help.

I’m also left wondering if the judge needed to be so concerned about the possibility of Miller being deported, after all  just because you get deported doesn’t mean you won’t be back.



Hating the Hoodie?




Hating the Hoodie?

Until the recently, I was a supporter of the sensible piece of clothing known as the hoodie. A cross between sweatshirt and a jacket, for me it conjured up images of  boxers jogging along the road punching the air with purpose, more Ali than Rocky.

I first became aware of some negative associations with the garment, this winter in London. Wearing one I popped my head round the door and asked my hosts if anyone wanted anything from the shop an action that  usually elicits an enthusiastic response. There’s always something you want from the shop especially when the weather is a bad and someone else offers to go.  Instead silence and odd looks. I ask what? That what that says, more than what, it says what’s up, what’s wrong, and do you want to let me in on something?  Finally I hear   “we don’t like hoodies or rather people wearing them, they do things like a bit of vandalism, like harass people, and we don’t like the hoodie.”

The hoodie came into ubiquitous infamy on the streets of London and other major cities troubled by riots and looting in England recently. Watching the images of those on the streets wearing it, while up to no good has forced me to reevaluate, the hoodie.

Now acclimatized to the tropics, I would be the first to admit the English summer leaves a lot to be desired, but we know that most of those pulling their hoods close to  their faces in video footage of the disturbances were trying to obscure identities and not control body temperature.

Can the hoodie recover from this negative image or should it even try? Perhaps it will be better for the garment to fall out of fashion favour? It could then eventually reemerge as a sports garment and not something that may put innocent wearers in danger of being arrested for looting, whether or not they are also carrying a sledge hammer and a 40 inch TV without a receipt.