A popular DJ is one of fifty people facing deportation to Jamaica this week.
Owen Haisley, 45, came to the UK from the former British colony when he was four, and was given the right to stay here. However, after serving a short sentence for assault his status has been ripped up.
The former youth worker is one of fifty people with Jamaican roots who are due to be deported on Wednesday, and will leave three kids behind if it goes ahead.
The charter flight has been dubbed ‘a convict flight’ by Jamaican national newspaper, The Gleaner, because all of the passengers are alleged to have committed offences in the past.
Greater Manchester mayor Andy Burnham, and nightlife tsar Sacha Lord, have both tweeted in support of Owen’s case, with Mr Burnham saying he intends to write to the Home Secretary about it.
Owen has no family left in Jamaica and hasn’t set foot on the island in over forty years.
But on the Friday before last he was arrested.
He was then carted off to a holding facility near Heathrow, with only the clothes on his back with him.
Speaking from a detention centre where he is being held, Owen said:
‘I hold my hands up, I have made mistakes but I have gone to prison, done my time for it, done rehabilitation and restorative justice, and they say I can’t have a second chance. ‘Why do I have to be sent to another country and bring my children up on Skype?’
Owen Haisley moved to the UK from the Caribbean with his mum, a nurse, in 1977, and was given leave to remain with no restrictions.
In 2015 he was convicted of a domestic assault and spent a year behind bars at HMP Risley.
It was at this point that Owen’s problems with immigration officials began as he was told he would need to apply for the right to remain in the UK.
Following a three-year battle with the Home Office, Owen was arrested and detained while signing on at an immigration reporting centre in Salford on January 25 He has been told he’s due to board a plane with another 49 people on Wednesday which will deport them to Jamaica.
Owen, who has been at the Harmondsworth immigration centre, in Middlesex, since last Sunday, said:
‘Offenders with a British passport can repeatedly offend and be given another chance. I’m not a repeat offender. ‘It’s like a prison. We’re in cells and there’s a regime a bit like a prison regime. It’s cold, the food is not that great and we’re restricted to using things like internet.
‘They’ve got this flight set up for Wednesday and I think they will give everyone decisions on their status that day and we won’t be able to stop it. ‘I’ve not been back to Jamaica since I left as a kid. I have been over here for a long time, I don’t know anyone over there.
‘Everyone got the impression of it’s a nice place as a tourist. For someone being deported you will be right in the middle of things. Where will I live and how will I survive financially?’ Friends of Owen have started a petition calling on MPs to intervene in his case in the hope they can persuade the Home Office to cancel his deportation. Greater Manchester Mayor Andy Burnham has shared the petition on his Twitter page and has promised to write to the Home Secretary about the case.