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How Tasha Shirley has been helping deportees for seven years | News


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Paul Clarke, Gleaner Writer

For seven years, Tasha Shirley has been helping deported with Jamaicans with phone calls, phone cards and other services as they are released after processing at the Harman Barracks police outfit.

It’s something from which Shirley makes a profit, but she says she does it out of genuine care for her countrymen involuntarily returning home.

“Sometimes some of them come, they don’t give me a dollar,” she said. “Sometimes mi mek a change and a next time mi nuh mek nutten, cause you know ‘sometimes coffee, sometimes tea’,” she told The Gleaner yesterday as 17 Jamaican deportees arrived on a charter flight from the United Kingdom.

WATCH: 17 deportees land in Kingston from the UK


Another 30 or so were expected, but never came following a last-minute Appeal Court order.

The Court ruled that it must be satisfied that while in detention, all deportees had functioning cellphone SIM cards by February 3.

This means they could have contacted their lawyers.      

Shirley said she often shares the emotions of the deported Jamaicans.

A trained nail technician, she said being at Harman Barracks to help the deportees has had the blessing of her boss who grants her time off to be there.

“The police dem know me, immigration people dem know me. And I am happy to serve people who need the assistance. If I check, I would have helped one way or the other, over 1,000 people,” she said.

Shirley said, several years ago, she stopped at Harman Barracks out of curiosity, when she noticed a huge crowd at the entrance to property.

She later learned it was the location where deportees are processed.

“I saw some girls ‘working’ and dem nuh live in the area; so the next month now I came here when there was some other deportation – I think from America – and I bought some phone cards and started selling and the people dem rate me and from that I started to hustle,” she said.

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