Lennox Linton: My Deportation From Antigua and Barbuda

The Facts Of My Deportation From Antigua And Barbuda

By Lennox Linton

On Wednesday 13th, June 2007, sometime before 12 noon, six immigration officers showed up at my home in Upper Gambles and requested to see my passport.

I advised them that I entered the country in January of this year with a CARICOM Skilled Nationals Certificate from the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica and on February 5th, 2007, I was given six months ending August 5th, 2007 to stay in the country.

The officer in charge of the group of six examined my passport and then advised that their supervisor had directed that I be brought to his office immediately. I asked whether I could have an appointment with the supervisor sometime in the afternoon since I had to pick up my two 6 year old kids from school at 1.00 p.m. They refused the request. I then asked for time to take a bath. They agreed. They also allowed me time to make a phone call to my wife – a national of Dominica – who is employed with Port Services Limited at the V. C. Bird International Airport, so that she could make arrangements to pick up the kids from school.

I was driven from my home by an Immigration Officer accompanied by 5 of his colleagues in what I presumed to be a bus belonging to the Immigration Department to the Immigration Office in St. John’s and escorted to the office of the supervisor – a gentleman by the name of Melvin James.

He told me in the presence of four other officers that he was carrying out instructions from his superiors who had determined that I should be sent out of the country as soon as possible. I asked why. He simply repeated the statement that he was acting on the instructions of his superiors and that I would have to leave on the next available flight. He asked whether I needed to go home to pick up some things. I was told this was a courtesy that was being extended to me. I accepted the courtesy and was then driven back home by the same officer who led the mission to my home accompanied this time by three of his colleagues.

At home, I packed a few essentials in a travel bag, secured the house and left with the Immigration Officers for the Airport. They had advised that I would be required to purchase my ticket, failing which they would purchase it in which case the action against me would then become a deportation.

At the airport, I was accompanied to the LIAT ticket counter where I purchased a one-way ticket and checked in for flight #557 scheduled to depart for Dominica at 3.15 pm. I was then escorted to the counter where I paid the departure tax and then passed all the travel documents to the Immigration Officer at his request.

I was then taken to the Immigration Office at the airport and told that I would have to wait there until it was time to board the flight. At all material times, there was at least one Immigration Officer, watching my every move, no doubt to ensure that I did not attempt to escape. My passport was confiscated and held by the Immigration Officers throughout the entire episode until I passed the LIAT gate en route to boarding the plane. It took a while but the reality eventually sunk in that I was actually in law enforcement custody.

In the Immigration Office, an officer with the surname Emmanuel introduced himself to me as the Head of Immigration at the Airport. He asked whether anyone told me why I was being put out of the country. I said no. He then said it was because they “suspected” that I was working. There was no indication who my suspected employer was, in what capacity I was suspected to be employed or the location of my suspected place of employment.

I was not given any opportunity to confirm or deny the suspicions nor was there any attention paid to the legitimate expectation of being able to work in Antigua and Barbuda arising out the fact that the CARICOM Skilled Nationals Certificate issued to me by the Government of the Commonwealth of Dominica provides me (as a CARICOM Treaty obligation) with work permit exempt status in the member territories of CARICOM.

While waiting for the LIAT flight, I received a call from the Prime Minister of Dominica Honorable Roosevelt Skerrit. He asked for an explanation of the difficulty he heard I was experiencing in Antigua and Barbuda. After relating to him what had transpired, he advised that he was going to get in touch with Prime Minister Baldwin Spencer to have the matter resolved. A few minutes later he called back to say that he had spoken to Mr. Spencer who had agreed to take up the matter with the Chief Immigration Officer.

Shortly thereafter, I advised the Immigration Officer in charge of the team assigned to hold me in custody, that since the matter was been addressed at the level of the Prime Ministers of both countries, it may be prudent to arrange for me to leave on a later flight to give the prime ministerial discussions some time to come to fruition.

He confirmed that the Chief Immigration Officer was in a meeting with the Prime Minister but advised that there was no later flight and if there was no word from the meeting by the time the flight was ready to depart then he would have no choice but to proceed as planned and ensure that I leave.

I assume that he heard nothing further since he hustled me through the LIAT gate and unto flight #557 at approximately 3.10. The flight left for Dominica at 3.20.

On arrival in Dominica I noticed two stamps from the Immigration Authority in Antigua and Barbuda which had been placed in my passport behind my back.

One stamp dated June 13, 2007 cancelled “without prejudice” my previously granted stay in the country until August 5th, 2007. The other stamp also bearing the date of June 13th, 2007, indicated “employment prohibited”.
I have been living in Antigua and Barbuda continuously from April 11th, 2004 when I accepted an offer of employment from Observer Radio Limited which came to an end on December 4th, 2004.

My wife and two children have been living with me in Antigua since July 2005. The children are completing their second year at St. John’s Catholic Primary.

Barbados Free Press received this article from a reader. It has been published online by many websites including The Dominican.net.

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15 Comments

Filed under Barbados, CARICOM, Crime & Law, News Media, Politics & Corruption

15 responses to “Lennox Linton: My Deportation From Antigua and Barbuda

  1. Pingback: Global Voices Online » Barbados, Dominica, Antigua & Barbuda: Deported Journalist Recounts Events

  2. I’m truly shocked by this story… permission to run it on my website http://www.talkAntigua.com (I’ll also link back to this site as the source..).

    ********************

    BFP comments…

    You don’t need our permission to run it, Dwain. Make up your own mind. It’s all over the web, and it isn’t likely that the author would be disappointed to have his story spread further.

    You are welcome to link to or copy anything from our site as long as you identify the source.

  3. Pingback: Talk Antigua » Lennox Linton: Deportation from Antigua and Barbuda

  4. Touchstone

    Let it be impressed upon your minds, let it be instilled into your children, that the liberty of the press is the palladium of all the civil, political, and religious rights. -Junius-

    I am deeply saddened at the rising climate of politically driven prosecution of the media in the Caribbean. In recent times we have heard of such incidents in Guyana, Barbados and now Antigua and Barbuda. Can anyone remember how unceremoniously a certain host was replaced from the People’s Business? Whatever happened to the wondrous oft touted experiment called the CSME? Freedom of Movement for Skilled Persons is mere rhetoric when an incident like this can occur and there be no response from our CARICOM Heads of Government.
    Was no consideration given to the fact that not only Mr. Linton, but his entire family had made Antigua their home since 2004? Is Antigua a police state with no laws and concept of due process and procedural fairness?

    It is amazing that it is 2007, yet we as a people in this region appear to be regressing in some respects. We are a more educated and informed people, yet we continue to allow democratically elected politicians to run circles around us with minimal requirements for accountability.

    We the people of this region must cease to be so complacent and no longer allow the media, and by extension, the truth, to be silenced.

    Where is the large public outcry from the Caribbean journalists? Why the deafening silence from Caribbean civil society?

    Is this really happening in our Caribbean in 2007?

  5. Concerned

    This matter could easily resolved by the CCJ, that is what it is there to do. It is a clear cut case and in my judgement it would be far more effective to take the matter to the court and let the court do its job

  6. Perceived Corruption

    If I were you,sir..
    I’d get my tail out of screwed-up Antigua,
    and be glad for the shirt on my back,
    and for my life.

    LEARN from the lesson.
    DON’T GO THERE.
    It’s yet another corrupt West Indian island-country

  7. A Patrioatic Antiguan

    When you’ll come to rape our screwed up little Island and break our laws to make it more screwed up than it already is, get caught and send packing you’ll cry fowl.

    It is time for Antiguans to stand for something, to long you’ll come to our shores and take us for granted because the fromer regime turned a blind eye on evil just to get a vote.

    We the natives who love this little Island say it is time to stop this disrespect for the people and country, we put a new Government in place to clead up the bird mess, and unscrew the screwed up little Island.

    My friend we just want our country to go back to be a GOD fearing country, not become a rogue and lawless State.

  8. Goulburn

    How can anyone consider himself to be patriotic and at the same time be so bias and blind. Any citizen of the caribbean region should be allowed to criticize the region governments without fear of political persecution whatsoever. How extensive, or in this case how limited is the CSME agreement? Are there different rules that apply to journalist of the region?

  9. A Patrioatic Antiguan

    My Friend no csme agreement can overule any country constitution.

  10. John

    A Patrioatic Antiguan
    July 3rd, 2007 at 4:15 pm
    My Friend no csme agreement can overule any country constitution.
    +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
    You are so so right!!

  11. Goulburn

    My concern in all of this is the way in which all of us back then joined with the opposition (UPP) in condemning the ALP government in their corrupt ways ,political persecution being one of them. From the information given, i must say the improper way in which Lennox Linton was deported from Antigua was totally humiliating to say the least .This aweful was wrong under the ALP government and it is wrong today. Lennox Linton was not one of your many illigal aliens in Antigua who are responsible for the many crimes throughout the island. Personally i think that’s where the focus should be. However this is not only an Antiguan Problem it is a regional problem where most of these islands are guilty of this practice.

  12. A Patrioatic Antiguan

    Gouldburn it seems like Lennox probbably was jumping from one party to another, and if you are into politic and do that you are asking for trouble, however I am not into politics I vote for the party that have the peiple and country at heart.

    I would like to ask you a question, how comes they are talking csme without one currency for all the Islands?

  13. A Patrioatic Antiguan

    Gouldburn it seems like Lennox probbably was jumping from one party to another, and if you are into politic and do that you are asking for trouble, however I am not into politics I vote for the party that have the people and country at heart.

    I would like to ask you a question, how comes they are talking csme without one currency for all the Islands?

  14. goulbourn

    You outsiders rape our little Island and break our laws to make it more screwed up than it already is, get caught doing paedo crimes and when you’re sent packing you always always cry foul.
    WHY?

    It is time for Antiguans to stand for something,
    so long as you come to our shores and take us for granted because the fromer regime encouraged promoting hard illegal drugs, money laundering, gun smuggling, child prostitution and turned encouraged evil to get the corrupt to gerrymander the vote.

    We love this little Island and as good people who want to promote good we say it is time to stop this disrespect for the people and to our decent country, we elected a new Government in place to clean up the Bird corruption and evil excesses,
    to unscrew the screwed up little Island.

    We are trying to get our country to go back to be a GOD fearing country, not become an evil, rogue terrorist and lawless State as it was under the evil Bird dictator who screwed underage little girls drugged them created pederasty and wicked buggery with little boys and had unfortunate witnesses murdered.

    Today the Bird man is known universally as the Evil One.
    One hundred years ago Bird would have been deported to prison.
    Two hundred years Bird would have been a slave.
    Three hundred years ago Bird would have been hung, drawn and quartered.
    Bird needs to be tried and sentenced for all his evil crimes. Bastard wicked evil dictator.

  15. CARICOM citizen

    This has case has nothing to do with being a member of a political party. However, it says something about the capability and intellectual functioning of both the immigration officers and their political leaders.

    Before people sign an agreement, they must be fully aware of the content of the agreement and the consequences.

    It seems like that these government officials lack these insights.

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