United Kingdom

Windrush victim daughter's warns against linking scandal to deportation

The daughter of a Windrush victim insisted last night that the scandal should not be linked to the deportation of Jamaican killers and rapists.

Samantha Barnes-Garner, whose elderly father Clayton Barnes was wrongly targeted by the Home Office, said the two issues were ‘completely different’.

The dance teacher, 50, insisted it was ‘absolutely’ right for the Government to deport criminals to their home countries.

Clayton Barnes, who was wrongly targeted by the Home Office, pictured, had spent 50 years living in Britain

His daughter, Samantha Barnes-Garner, pictured, said it was wrong to conflate her father's case with those of the criminals due for deportation this week

Her comments came after Home Secretary Priti Patel said in yesterday’s Daily Mail that it was ‘deeply offensive’ for Labour MPs and celebrities to ‘conflate’ the Windrush scandal with a charter flight this week that removed 13 Jamaican criminals.

Mr Barnes, now 84, was left stranded in Jamaica despite working in Britain for more than half a century. ‘It’s a completely different issue, the two of them shouldn’t be connected by no means,’ added Mrs Barnes-Garner.

‘In my father’s case he was not allowed back in the country for no apparent reason, even though he’d been here since 1959.

‘He had done all of his work here and he didn’t commit any crimes – he paid his taxes and he worked.’

Mr Barnes, a retired roofer from Milton Keynes, was left trapped in Jamaica after going there in 2010 to renovate his house, which had been damaged in a hurricane.

When he tried to fly back to the UK at Christmas in 2013, he was told his indefinite leave to remain was invalid.

Mr Barnes arrived in Britain in 1959 and wanted to split his retirement between the UK and Jamaica

The grandfather-of-five said at the time: ‘I feel terrible, like I am being treated as a criminal. I came here to fix up the house so I could split my retirement between Jamaica and England but now I’m told I can’t go back. It is like I have been deported.

‘England was my home, I lived there, worked there, married there and had children there. I worked hard, paid my taxes and have no criminal record. Why can’t I come back?’

The Home Office error meant that in 2018 Mr Barnes was unable to access NHS care for a lung problem – even though he had paid taxes in this country for 51 years. After his case was reported by the Mail in April 2018, he was granted a biometric residence permit.

Yesterday Miss Patel blasted Labour MPs and celebrities such as supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Thandie Newton who signed an open letter calling for the Jamaica deportation flight to be stopped and linking it with Windrush.

Yesterday Miss Patel blasted Labour MPs and celebrities such as supermodel Naomi Campbell and actress Thandie Newton who signed an open letter calling for the Jamaica deportation flight to be stopped and linking it with Windrush

She said: ‘To see ill-informed Labour politicians and do-gooding celebrities attempting to conflate the victims of Windrush with these vile criminals set for deportation is not only misjudged and upsetting but deeply offensive.’

The Windrush scandal, which began to emerge in 2017, saw the Home Office wrongly target people for removal after changes in immigration policy. They were entirely innocent of any crime. The Jamaican nationals scheduled for deportation on Wednesday’s Home Office charter flight had been convicted of offences including murder and rape.

Only 13 deportations went ahead after lawyers for another 23 succeeded in removing them from the passenger list. 

Priti Patel is accused of 'appropriating' Windrush victims 

Priti Patel was yesterday accused of ‘appropriating’ the pain of Windrush victims.

The Home Secretary had criticised celebrities who signed a letter opposing the deportations for ‘attempting to conflate the victims of Windrush’ with ‘vile criminals’. In response, a statement from some victims and relatives – including the daughter of the late campaigner Paulette Wilson – said Miss Patel’s comments were ‘deeply insulting’.

It read: ‘Priti Patel appropriated the voice of Windrush victims and campaigners... seemingly unaware that the letter she cites was [also] signed by us.’

It added that Miss Patel ‘does not speak for us and appears to have no knowledge or understanding of anti-black racism which she instead perpetuates’.

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