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Deportees

The Impact of Deportation

The impact of deportation from 1990 until now has revealed some astonishing stories. The question is being repeatedly asked, “Was the Ship Rider Agreement a well thought out plan for the region?” In their attempt to reintegrate, reports are showing that deportees are experiencing severe difficulties in their respective societies.

Even though the Government of Trinidad & Tobago has shown considerable concern and is treating with some of the issues facing deportees, there continues to be a lack of adequate resources to meet the problems of this target group, in terms of adequate transitional housing, counseling,reintegration and rehabilitation services.


The challenges of deportees and how Vision on Mission assists


 

For the past ten (10) years, Vision on Mission has pioneered and supported the cause of deportees and has prevented many of them from becoming repeat offenders. Our track record in this field, can attest to our success rate, having been out in the field and have had hands-on experience with various cases, persons of different backgrounds and offenses.

 

Identified Challenges of Deportees in T&T

Many deportees encounter major difficulties in adjusting their lives after incarceration or upon return to T&T. Especially with reconnecting with their families and in adjusting to their new environment – with finding employment, tools, traveling expenses and accommodation. Some have even experienced severe mental breakdown, as a result of the transition and separation from the families or loved ones they were forced to leave behind.A large number of deportees are unskilled and need to be trained or re-trained to work within the society. They may also be plagued with substance abuse and health problems which may require special dietary needs.
 
There has been an increase in recidivism among deportees and that may be due to identifiable issues mentioned in the CARICOM Report on "The Impact of Deportees on Crime and Security". These challenges have also been described by the Secretary General of CARICOM, Mr.Edwin Carrington in Section Six (6) in the CARICOM Crime and Security Report.
The report further stated:

In a number of Caribbean countries, criminal deportees are widely viewed as the major force driving the increasing rate of violent crime, introducing new types of crime and generally extending the criminal repertoire of local criminals.  It is believed that they help to extend and intensify the transnational links of ordinary criminals, and are involved in organizing and facilitating the trafficking in illegal drugs and firearms.

Secretary General of CARICOM, Mr.Edwin Carrington

They are widely viewed as presenting a new and special danger to Caribbean societies. For these reasons, they have attracted much attention and have been of central concern to the Task Force. Despite the difficulties with data, as with any major social problem, the first issue is to properly estimate the size of the deportee problem.

Some Caribbean countries have been receiving deported criminals for some time. This became an important issue in the latter half of the 1990's, when the number of deportees rapidly escalated.
There are considerable difficulties associated with the resettlement of criminal deportees. A significant number may have acquired the life-styles of the drug under-world in the developed countries, either as drug dependents or as dealers. These persons may be expected to encounter great difficulties in adjusting to normal, conventional lives in occupations and at salaries that are commensurate with their levels of skill.
In addition, the already high levels of unemployment in some of the territories, limited opportunities for acquiring new skills, avoiding the stigma of criminal deportation, and starting a new conventional life makes the reintegration of the deportee into society, a difficult prospect.

Deportees and Vision on Mission

Vision on Mission receives deportees mostly from the United States of America, the United Kingdom and Canada. Since 2003, VOM has been advocating for and assisting deportees in its own capacity.
In 2005, through the Government of Trinidad & Tobago,deportee services have now become an official aspect of VOM’s programme.
 
 

Present Arrangements

It must be noted that Vision on Mission does not receive a subvention to meet the needs of this particular clientele. The organization receives an accommodation fee in the sum of Eight Hundred TT Dollars ($800.00) per month, for a period of three (3)months for deportees referred to VOM by the Social Displacement Unit.
This payment is received after thirty days of every month – however, not always in a timely manner. This total represents the sum of Two Thousand, Four Hundred TTDollars ($ 2,400.00TTD). Deportees face many challenges and the cost for their successful reintegration in 2012 far exceeds this amount as it relates to programme objectives in the above-mentioned.

Number of Deportees Accommodated so far at VOM

In an article taken from the Trinidad Guardian on Sunday, April 10 2011 states that“One hundred and twenty- five criminal deportees have been sent back to T&T from the USA between October 2010 an end of March 2011, according to News Americas.” It was further stated that; “In the Caribbean, the Dominican Republic received the most criminal deportees, some 1,066. They were followed by Jamaica, which has received 528 since the beginning of Fiscal Year 2011. Trinidad and Tobago was third with 125 followed by Belize with 74, the Bahamas with 65 and Guyana with 64. For this fiscal year, 50 migrants have been sent back to Aruba and 31 to the earthquake ravaged Haiti. Other Caribbean nations received far less criminal deportees.”
In 2011, Vision on Mission facilitated fifty- eight (58) deportees out of the 125 stated. So far this year,the organization is currently accommodating sixteen (16) deportees. The past four(4) years have seen a marked increase in the number of persons using our services.
 

Increased Services

This new development demands the expansion of our services, since we are in a niche market, with limited suppliers who possess the experience, track record and resources to provide similar services. It must be noted that some of the clients sometimes based on their individual reintegration challenges may re-enter the programme two or three times in order to prevent them from re-offending.  Keep in mind that the international standard for reintegration of offenders is normally a period of two years minimum. However, VOM has been trying to accomplish that in 3-6 months. Based on the service demand, this has become rather problematic.


How Vision on Mission assists Deportees

Since 2003, Vision on Mission has been providing the necessary support for the successful reintegration of deportees through our programme objectives:

 

  • To support the self-reliance of deportees.
  • To provide counseling and rehabilitation services after deportation, in order to facilitate resettlement into communities.
  • To foster social acceptance for its clients.
  • facilitate job training, employment opportunities and the development of life skills.
  • To provide a space for agriculture, husbandry and job placement opportunities.
  • To provide temporary accommodation, meals, clothing, document retrieval, etc.  through the establishment of transitional housing.
  • To facilitate an organized structure for the purpose of Money Management for its clients.
  • To provide reconciliation support and mediation services in keeping with the philosophy of restorative justice.
  • To provide monitoring and evaluation reports (progress and statistical data).

 


Deportees access the services of Vision on Mission when they are referred by:

  • The Government of Trinidad & Tobago via the Ministry of the People and Social Development Displacement Unit.
  • Family Members
  • Prison Officials Abroad – via the Vision on Mission Web Site.
  • Local family members.
  • Walk In.
  • Other agencies.
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#5, Railway Road, San Juan. Trinidad, W.I. (868) 638-8650;  (868) 675-4810 info@visiononmission.org