‘It was like my life was over from that point’: Life after deportation

White sandy beaches don’t mean much when you have nothing to your name – even less when you’ve been forcibly removed from your home to a country you haven’t set foot in for years. Kuba Shand-Baptiste speaks to the deportees facing not only uncertainty in Jamaica, but violence too

Wednesday 28 April 2021 18:02
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<p>Thousands of people have faced the traumatic upheaval of being deported to Jamaica from the UK in the past 20 years</p>

Thousands of people have faced the traumatic upheaval of being deported to Jamaica from the UK in the past 20 years

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’ve been down here nearly nine years now,” George Tulloch, 59, tells me in a raspy, verging-on-upbeat tone as a cockerel crows on the other end of the phone. He’s living in his late father’s home in the small, rural town of Linstead in the St Catherine parish of Jamaica, where he found himself living after being deported from the UK in 2012. Though he was born in Jamaica, having spent his childhood there before coming to the UK at the age of 14, Tulloch spent the majority of his life in Bristol – until the upheaval of being deported from the UK changed his life forever. 

After almost a decade back home, which has meant leaving his mother, children and extended family behind, the pain that he endured through years of being detained – and eventually, removed – is still palpable. But there’s also a sense of acceptance within him, if only that things are unlikely to change.

“My mind is clear and I’m on the right path, that’s how I’ve survived up here today. Most guys who come down like me, they end up dead the next day, or [after] a week,” he says, referencing the thousands of other people who’ve been forcibly returned to Jamaica from the UK in the past few years – many of whom face destitution with little support on arrival.

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