Jamaica deportation flight delayed until after William and Kate visit

A right royal mess: Deportation flight carrying criminals to Jamaica gets delayed until after William and Kate’s visit to the Caribbean nation to avoid rising tensions overshadowing trip

  • Royal couple are set to visit the nation at the start of Caribbean charm offensive
  • According to newspaper The Voice, deportation flight has been delayed
  • Was set to take place soon, with previous flights taking place each February 
  • A flight to Jamaica full of convicted criminals is said to have been delayed until after Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge‘s visit to the country next month. 

    The royal couple are set to visit the nation at the start of a Caribbean charm offensive, launched after Barbados opted to become a republic last year. 

    According to a report in The Voice, a British African-Caribbean newspaper, a deportation flight to Jamaica due to go ahead imminently has now been delayed until after the royal visit. 

    Such a flight could cause tensions between London and Jamaica, with the island’s top diplomat in the UK commenting that he was ‘deeply concerned’ about the November deportation flight which planned to send back convicts who came here as children.  

    A flight to Jamaica full of convicted criminals is said to have been delayed until after Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge's visit to the country next month. Above: The couple during a royal visit to the Solomon Islands in 2012

    A flight to Jamaica full of convicted criminals is said to have been delayed until after Prince William and the Duchess of Cambridge’s visit to the country next month. Above: The couple during a royal visit to the Solomon Islands in 2012

    The royal couple are set to visit the nation at the start of a Caribbean charm offensive, launched after Barbados opted to become a republic last year

    The royal couple are set to visit the nation at the start of a Caribbean charm offensive, launched after Barbados opted to become a republic last year

    Deportation charter flights to Jamaica restarted in February 2019 after a two-year hiatus. 

    It followed the Windrush scandal, which broke in 2018, when it emerged many people whose parents had, between 1948 and 1971, come to the UK from the Caribbean (part of the British Commonwealth) had been wrongly threatened with deportation and accused of being here illegally.

    Flights deporting convicted criminals have taken place every February since then, except last February because of the pandemic. 

    In 2021, legal bids resulted in only seven people being deported in August despite 90 being originally earmarked for the flight. 

    Three months later, another flight departed with just four criminals after last-minute legal challenges meant 33 people did not board as planned. 

    Last year, Jamaica’s opposition leader and equalities campaigners called for the Queen to be removed as the nation’s head of state while it prepared to lobby Britain for slavery reparations. 

    Deportation charter flights to Jamaica restarted in February 2019 after a two-year hiatus. It followed the Windrush scandal, which broke in 2018. Above: The 'Empire Windrush' arriving from Jamaica, 1948

    Deportation charter flights to Jamaica restarted in February 2019 after a two-year hiatus. It followed the Windrush scandal, which broke in 2018. Above: The ‘Empire Windrush’ arriving from Jamaica, 1948

    William and Catherine will do a 12-day tour of the Bahamas, Jamaica and Belize to mark the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.

    A spokesman for the Home Office refuses to say when the next deportation flight is scheduled to take place, explaining: ‘We do not comment on operational matters.’ 

    However, the spokesman insists that ‘removal flights do not operate on a fixed pattern and to suggest otherwise is misleading’.