PNQ SUR LA DEPORTATION DE YASHIKA BAGEERATHI

PNQ

478  Mauriciens  ont été déportés depuis 2011 à ce jour  de la Grande Bretagne


 PNQLa PNQ du leader de l’opposition, hier, adressée au Premier ministre concernait l’expulsion de Yashika Bageerathi.  Paul Bérenger a voulu savoir de ce dernier le nombre  des  Mauriciens expulsé de la Grande Bretagne, depuis 2011 à ce jour. Dans le cas de cette dernière, il a demandé au PM d’obtenir du commissaire de police, si des enquêtes ont été menées sur les allégations formulées par elle par rapport à sa sécurité à Maurice, en indiquant les mesures prises, pour assurer sa sécurité depuis son retour; si Air Mauritius a été contraint de l’embarquer à bord d’un de ses avions; si notre haut-commissaire à Londres était  en communication avec elle  et les autorités britanniques et si le gouvernement se propose de l’aider à poursuivre ses études?

Dans sa réponse le PM a déclaré qu’aucune déposition n’a été faite concernant le viol que la jeune fille a évoqué. Il a ajouté que l’étudiante n’est jamais entrée en contact avec les autorités mauriciennes en Grande-Bretagne pour leur demander de l’aide et que personne ne sait où elle se trouve actuellement. S’agissant du nombre de Mauriciens déportés chaque année  il a cité les  informations disponibles au Passport and Immigration Office: 136 en 2011, 132 en 2012, 172 en 2013 et, depuis le début de l’année, 38.
A une question de Paul Bérenger qui demandait si le gouvernement est prêt à tenter une dernière chance avec un appel auprès de Londres pour qu’elle puisse rejoindre sa famille et terminer ses études, le PM a répondu que la haute commission britannique a écrit officiellement pour faire état des options pour les examens à Maurice avec des arrangements auprès du British Council.


Lire la PNQ intégralement

 
UNITED KINGDOM – MAURITIAN NATIONALS –- DEPORTATION

 
The Leader of the Opposition (Mr P. Bérenger) (by Private Notice) asked the Prime
Minister, Minister of Defence, Home Affairs and External Communications, Minister for
Rodrigues whether, in regard to the deportation of Mauritian nationals from the United
Kingdom, he will state the number thereof, since 2011 to date and, in the recent case thereof of
student Y.B., he will –
(a) for the benefit of the House, obtain from –
(i) the Commissioner of Police, information as to if inquiries have been
carried out on the allegations levelled by her in relation to her safety in
Mauritius, indicating the measures taken, if any, to ensure her safety since
her return;
(ii) Air Mauritius Ltd., information as to if it has been directed to take her
onboard one of its aircrafts;
(b) state if our High Commission in the United Kingdom has been in touch with her
and the United Kingdom authorities prior thereto, and
(c) state if Government proposes to extend facilities to her to pursue her studies.
The Prime Minister: Mr Speaker, Sir, Mauritius is internationally recognised as a
democratic State where the rule of law prevails and is acclaimed as a State with strong human
rights credentials. These are some of the criteria which have earned Mauritius a place in the
category of a few privileged countries whose citizens are exempt from visa requirements prior to
travelling to the United Kingdom.  As a matter of fact, Mauritius is on what is commonly
referred to as the white list of countries whose citizens are not persecuted and cannot make any
claim for asylum.
This privilege has also been extended by the Schengen countries to Mauritius.
Mr Speaker, Sir, the House will appreciate that these privileges make it imperative for the
citizens of Mauritius to abide by all the entry requirements in the United Kingdom.

The Government has, on more than one occasion, drawn the attention of the members of
the public and the travel agencies to the fact that Mauritian nationals travelling to the UK should
ensure, before undertaking the travel, that they fulfil the requirements of the UK immigration
authorities.  Otherwise, they run the risk of refusal of entry in the UK and in respect of those who
breach the conditions of the entry they may be repatriated and banned entry temporarily or
permanently to the UK.
The latest communiqué in this respect, was issued by my Office on 19 September 2013.  
That communiqué resulted from the discussions we had between the UK Border Control officials
and also the Mauritian officials in September last.  During the discussions, the British side drew
our attention to a significant number of Mauritian individuals being refused entry in the UK
because of non-compliance with entry requirements, as well as abuse of the visa-free regime. In
fact, at one point, they were even thinking of trying to relook at this compliance with the visa
requirements, but the British Prime Minister had asked an individual from the Home Office to
come and see whether we could do something to draw attention so that they do not have to
proceed with that procedure.
Mr Speaker, Sir, according to the Passport and Immigration Office the number of
Mauritians who were repatriated from the UK from 2011 is as follows –
Year No. of Persons
2011 136
2012 132
2013 172
2014 (to date) 38
In regard to part (a)(i) of the question, I am informed by the Commissioner of Police that,
according to Police records, Miss Y. B. had, prior to her departure from Mauritius, never and at
no time, made any declaration to the Police about any threat to her person.
Upon her return to Mauritius on 03 April 2014, the Police interviewed her at the SSR
International Airport and offered to provide Police protection to her but she declined the offer.

Moreover, she refused to make any declaration to the Police as regards her own safety in
Mauritius. Upon her request, the Police dropped her at the Hennessy Park Hotel where booking
had been made for her. The Police had also arranged for a Police Woman Officer to act as liaison
officer and a contact person in case of any urgency.
I am further informed that on the next day, she left the hotel without giving any
indication of her whereabouts.
At the same time, the Police had contacted the father of Miss Y.B. and enquired whether
he himself required or, on behalf of his daughter, any Police assistance was required. But he
declined any such assistance. On Friday 04 April of this year, he was interviewed, that is, the
father was interviewed again and, whilst stating that he was not aware of the whereabouts of his
daughter, he once again declined Police assistance.
Though the whereabouts of Miss Y.B. are not known, the Police is maintaining contact
with her father and the family residence is being covered by Police patrol.
In regard to part (a) (ii) of the question, I am informed that Air Mauritius had received a
first directive from the Home Office late on Friday 28 March 2014, to remove Ms Y.B. on Air
Mauritius flight MK 053 on Sunday 30 March 2014. As I said, the application came late, but
after assessment by its Security Department, the airline took the view that all the conditions had
not been met for the transportation of the deportee to Mauritius.
Mr Speaker, Sir, I am informed that a second directive dated 31 March 2014 was issued
by the UK Home Office, under the Schedule 2 of the Immigration Act 1971 and Section 10 of
the Immigration and Asylum Act 1999 whereby Air Mauritius was directed to make
arrangements to remove passenger Y.B. onboard its flight MK 57 bound to Mauritius at 21.35
hours on 02 April 2014.   
The UK authorities also provided three escorts from the Immigration Security
Department and one paramedic to accompany the passenger onboard. The conditions having
been met for the transportation of the deportee, Air Mauritius Ltd then considered that it had no
choice but to comply with the directive.
Mr Speaker, Sir, in regard to part (b) of the question, the two representatives of our High
Commission in London visited Miss Y.B. at the Immigration Removal Centre at Bedfordshire in the evening of Friday 28 March 2014 for 45 minutes. This followed a request they made to the
Foreign and Commonwealth Office and the Home Office to facilitate a meeting with Miss Y.B.
if she was agreeable to that effect.
The purpose of the meeting was to find out whether she was being treated correctly in the
Immigration Removal Centre and to hear from her what her security concerns were.
The staff of the High commission also left their contact details, including phone numbers,
with Miss Y.B. in the event that the latter would wish to contact them for any assistance. Miss
Y.B. did not however contact the officers of the Mission at all after they left.
Mr Speaker, Sir, I must emphasize that at no time and at no moment Miss Y.B. contacted
our High Commission in London. In fact, our High Commission was in regular contact with the
Home Office to enquire about her well-being.
Mr Speaker, Sir, regarding part (c) of the question, the Minister of Foreign Affairs
expressed his disappointment that Miss Y.B. had not been given the opportunity to complete her
‘A’ Level. The British High Commissioner has indicated that Miss Y.B. can do her ‘A’ Level in
Mauritius and that the British High Commission does facilitate the service through the British
Council. I am informed that the British Council, in most of its offices around the world,
including Mauritius, has such facilities. The British High Commission is willing to receive
representations from Miss Y.B. or anyone acting on her behalf to do the needful for her exams.
Mr Bérenger: Mr Speaker, Sir, can I start with the young student? Is it a fact that she
was escorted from the UK to the Sir Seewoosagur Ramgoolam International Airport escorted by
four United Kingdom agents and was Air Mauritius a party to that?
The Prime Minister: In fact, the short answer is, yes. There were three security officials
from the Immigration Office and one paramedic as well, which is more than normal. That is why
when Air Mauritius got the first directive late on Friday – as I said, the office was already closed
at Chiswick – they decided that for security reason, they could not embark on the flight of
Sunday. The reason being that they must put security of the flight – it was at stake. This is the
first priority for them. So, because there was nobody, they have been given no names of anyone
who was bound to accompany her, they did not comply with that directive, but when they got the
second directive to embark her on the next flight, by then, the Home Office had already given the names of the security officers who would accompany her and that is why Air Mauritius then had
to follow the directive that was given.
Mr Bérenger: It has been widely reported, Mr Speaker, Sir, that that young student, after
she reached Mauritius, after a long night flight, was interrogated by the Police for two long
hours. If that is the case, does the hon. Prime Minister find that normal and was that young
student informed that she could turn to her lawyer?
The Prime Minister: I understand that the Police did interrogate her, because she had
alleged that she had tried to escape a relative who had tried to abuse her physically. They wanted
to know. They were bound to find out whether there was actually a case that she was, because
then they could follow up on that. I cannot say whether it was for two hours, but she was
interviewed at the SSR International Airport.  
Mr Bérenger: The allegations which this young student made are very serious, Mr
Speaker, Sir. I am sure the hon. Prime Minister will agree and it must have damaged our image,
especially after the not too recent Legends’ case. I have heard the hon. Prime Minister saying
that she had given no statement at all before leaving Mauritius. I understand that no enquiry was
carried out until she came back and was interviewed at the airport. Does the Prime Minister think
that the Police has done its duty because the father, amongst others, made public statements in
the press to the effect that indeed she had been aggressed in the past, referring to a relative who
was under methadone treatment. But her allegation was that there had been an attempt at rape by
a drug dealer and that that same drug dealer had people posted at the airport waiting for her.
Very, very serious allegations! Therefore, when the father came out with the statements in
Mauritius, did the Police approach him to try and carry out an enquiry?
The Prime Minister: Yes, that is why I said, Mr Speaker, Sir, the Police did contact the
father and he declined to make any declaration. But I must say, Mr Speaker, Sir, the family, that
is, the mother, the student Miss Y. B., one sister and one brother came to the UK on a 6-month
tourist visa in December 2011. Then they overstayed. At no time, all this time, did she mention
that she had tried to escape a relative who was physically trying to abuse her. It was only in 2013
that she did apply for asylum on this very ground. Her own father as well as the grandfather gave
an interview to “The Times” in London which must have contacted them. I have a copy of “The Times” with me.  They said that they were baffled by her claims. The father even said, and I
quote –
“I don’t understand why she is saying what she is saying.”
He did not know which relative was alleged to have been abusive to her and, at no time, as I said,
did she say anything else until 2013 when she applied for asylum.
This is what her father said at the time in an interview in “The Times” of London. In spite
of that, the Police contacted the father and tried to find out whether there was any case of
allegation. He said no and he said he had no declaration to make and he has refused, although the
Police are still following up. As I said, they have a Police patrol and they have given numbers for
them to contact the Police if any such problem were to arise, but none so ever.  
Mr Bérenger: It is quite a situation that we seem not to know where she is and whether
she is in safety. We know nothing! And yet, as soon as she reached Mauritius, I am sure the hon.
Prime Minister is aware that she made a statement on UK Television ITV, ITN to the effect that
she is alone and scared. Now, we have heard that somebody made a booking for her at a hotel at
Ebene. Do I take it that we do not know where she is, whether she is in safety, we do not know
anything about her and we do not even know who made that booking at that hotel?   
The Prime Minister: I understand the booking was made by herself. This is my
understanding. But, as I said, Mr Speaker, Sir, she has declined to have contact with the Police;
she did not tell them where she went, her father does not know where she went and she has not
been in touch. The Police cannot go and look for her because she has a privacy right to go where
she wants to go. But, as I said, it seems that the student was harsh, perhaps that the Home Office
could have allowed her to take her exams.  But the Court had said – and they had five appeals in
the UK – that the claim was bogus, it had no ground.   Although it was a harsh decision, the
Home Office was perfectly in its right to ask for her deportation. That is my understanding.
Mr Bérenger: As far as Air Mauritius is concerned, Mr Speaker, Sir, I heard the hon.
Prime Minister saying that Air Mauritius felt that it had no choice, that having received a so-
called directive from the authorities in the UK, they had no choice. Is the Prime Minister aware
that, for example, one Mrs Juliette Jowit, in “The Guardian” on 03 April had this to write –  
“I am told by the Home Office there actually is no such thing as a deportation directive.
They cannot force private airlines to carry passengers on board. (…) It’s clear Air
Mauritius got cold feet last week when it refused to carry out the deportation and that
they subsequently caved in to Home Office requests. It’s also clear they did not have to.  
They could have refused.”
Did Air Mauritius liaise with our High Commission, with Government here? Did we take legal
advice on whether the Air Mauritius indeed had no choice because what I read is different and
that, indeed, British Airways is still refusing, has refused all along to take her on board?
The Prime Minister: We have no information on whether British Airways actually
refused or not. They will not give the information. But my understanding, Mr Speaker, Sir, is
that there is a legal obligation, in spite of what is said in “The Guardian”, for any airline carrier.
Once they get a directive, they have to comply with the directive. Once the Court had decided
that she was not the victim of any abuse, once the directive is given, there is a legal obligation
for the airline to carry out the directive.
In the first place, Air Mauritius did not carry out that directive because they were not
assured of the security on their aircraft at that time. There were no names given as to who would
accompany her. So, Air Mauritius did not comply with that first directive, but once the second
directive had been given and the names of the accompanying officers, they had the legal
obligation to comply with that directive.  That is my understanding. Otherwise, the licence and
the landing rights can be at stake for Air Mauritius.
Mr Bérenger: If I can travel on to the bottom line, I am sure that the hon. Prime Minister
will agree with me that this young student was clearly badly advised and she should never have
tried to get political asylum like that from Mauritius whereas it is most probable that if she had
argued for staying on other grounds like her family, her studies and so on, she could probably
have stayed there. When this became clear, did our High Commission in London advise her that
she had been ill-advised and that she should do something to correct and try and get the
authorities to agree?  Because what I read from BBC news on 02 April is that, on the contrary,
the Home Office said, and I quote –
“It had received assurances the student would be able to complete her tuition in
Mauritius.”
So, it seems that our High Commission gave information, if anything, encouraged the UK
authorities to deport her to Mauritius, whereas she had been ill-advised and we would have been
well advised to advise her to change her stand.
The Prime Minister:  It is not the case, Mr Speaker, Sir.  She never contacted our High
Commission at all.  Since she came in 2011 on a tourist visa for 6 months, she never claimed
anything.  She never contacted our High Commission.  Only in 2013 – and I tend to agree with
the hon. Leader of the Opposition – she was very badly advised by whatever lawyers who used
legal aid. I believe over 22,000 pounds of the taxpayers’ money in the UK have been used to
fight the case – five appeals.  Badly advised by the lawyers! Because Mauritius is on the white
list, as I said.  They don’t even entertain asylum seekers from Mauritius because, precisely, we
are on this white list and it is to our credit that we are on the white list.  Therefore, she was badly
advised, that I totally agree.  But the only time that the High Commission was made aware that,
in fact, she had been detained at Bedfordshire Detainee Centre, I think, it is only when she was
already there detained and to be deported, that the High Commissioner learnt that she was there
and then they went and contacted the Home Office and the Foreign Office to allow them to have
access to the student in person and they did have access and spoke to her for 45 minutes.  She
refused to give any details.  She didn’t, in fact, want to say anything and then she was deported.  
There was no previous contact at all with the High Commission that they could have intervened
in one way or the other, but I tend to agree with the hon. Leader of the Opposition, she was very,
very badly advised by her lawyers.  There was no previous contact at all with the High
Commission that they could have intervened in one way or the other, but I tend to agreed with
the hon. Leader of the Opposition, she was very, very badly advised by her lawyers.
Mr Bérenger:  Mr Speaker, Sir, as far as this young lady is concerned, she was badly
advised, but she is a young student who has, therefore, been deported to Mauritius. She is
behaving strangely; I think we can all agree on that. But, is Government prepared to come
forward and assist her either in completing her studies here before she goes eventually for higher
studies or making a fresh appeal although the precedent is bad when especially you hear that UK
tax money has been wasted and this is probably the most serious consideration by the UK
authorities.  So, therefore, is the Mauritian Government, in spite of the way she has behaved,
prepared to help her try and rejoin her mother and other members of her family in London?
The Prime Minister:  No, Mr Speaker, Sir. In fact, there is a letter from the British High
Commissioner just to point out that it is perfectly possible for her to take the exams in Mauritius,
they would make arrangements.  They say that if there is anything that they can do further, they
will be happy to do.  I think the Foreign Office got in touch with them and this is what we are
doing.  But as to help her with an appeal, this is not on the cards, Mr Speaker, Sir, because it will
not work. In any case, it will be again expenses to no avail.  She had made five appeals and the
courts had decided that there was no evidence; the last one, I must say, was two hours before she
boarded the plane, she made a final appeal. The court had rejected all her appeals. Once the court
had decided, the Home Office, it was a harsh decision. I think she could have been allowed to
take her exams, but whether harsh or not, once the court had decided that she has to be deported,
the Home Office was in its right to say that she has to be deported and issued the directive that
Air Mauritius complied with unlike what happened in the past here, Mr Speaker, Sir.  If you
remember you, yourself , was in the Opposition at a time, I had asked a PNQ, precisely on a
similar case, there was a lady, pregnant six months, I believe, Mrs Medagawa in 1993 where the
Judge of the Supreme Court at the time was Judge Robert Ahnee, had asked for a stay execution
of the Deportation Order because he was going to analyse the case on the very next day, that is,
Monday.  But, the Prime Minister then decided that the Judge had intervened with the work of
the Executive and ignored the demand from the Judge and deported the lady who was six months
pregnant. That is the difference.
Mr Ganoo:  Mr Speaker, Sir, the hon. Prime Minister, I am sure is aware that this
deportation or the trauma in which this student went through sparked a petition of about 175,000
signatures, which showed the uncompassionate nature of the decision of the Home Office. Can
the hon. Prime Minister confirm to the House that, in fact, the Home Office guidelines and
guidance state what precisely the hon. Prime Minister just said a few seconds ago, that children
who are on school and coming to exams should not face removal at that point even if they may
be sent to their home country after their exams. So, is the Prime Minister satisfied that our High
Commission did what they should have done strongly urge the Home Office to defer deportation
in that case pending the examinations of this girl which are scheduled in a few weeks from now?
The Prime Minister:  Not only the High Commission, but the Foreign Office here as
well, but as I said, it was then already too late.  She came on a Tourist Visa not on a Student Visa
in the first place.  And then all of them overstayed. It was nearly two years afterwards that she claimed this alleged abuse by relative.  As I said, the High Commission was never told by her or
by anybody about this allegation.  It is only when she was about to be deported, was taken to the
deportation centre at Bedfordshire only then that the High Commission was made aware that she
is now at the deportation centre; and they then went and asked for permission to talk to her. They
had a long conversation of 45 minutes with her, but, before that none whatever.
Mr Uteem:  The hon. Prime Minister just mentioned that the lady, when applying for
extension of stay, made very serious allegations about Mauritius and her safety. May I know
from the hon. Prime Minister, before the authority in England took the decision to deport her,
whether they contacted Mauritius to find out whether there was any threat to her safety back to
Mauritius?
The Prime Minister:  The case went to court, Mr Speaker, Sir.  The court examined all
that she was saying and the court decided that the claim did not stand; it was a false claim and
she was trying to get asylum on a false basis. Therefore, the court decided that she has to be
deported.
Mr Bodha:  May I ask the hon. Prime Minister whether he would agree that, in spite of
the furore which was created in Britain and the fact that 125,000 people signed a petition and that
this young girl stayed in the detention centre for 42 days, how is it that somebody from the High
Commission visited only on the 28th, that is, just the day before her being deported to Mauritius?
The Prime Minister:  First of all, it was 140,000 people who had signed the petition.  
Despite of that – that is something minor – once she was taken to the detention centre, only then,
that is on Friday the 28th I think, was the High Commissioner aware that she is at detention
centre and they made a request for them to be able to have access to her and talk to her, only
then.
Mr Baloomoody:  The hon. Prime Minister mentioned that when she was interviewed at the
Airport by the Mauritian Police Force, she did not give any detail about who allegedly aggressed
her.  Has our Embassy in UK taken possession of the documents which she has laid at the court
to have a look? Probably in these documents when making her application she has made
mentioned names to identify that person.  So, has our Embassy done the needful so that we can,
at least, know if it is a fact that she has been threatened before?
The Prime Minister:  We are satisfied, Mr Speaker, Sir, that the court analysed in detail
her demands and rejected her demands.  They found that it was a bogus claim that there was no
such case.  Even the father, as I told you, in the Times has said that he is very surprised; he is
baffled – the word he used – at what she was saying.  He cannot understand who because there is
no such relative according to them.
So, once the court had decided and she made five appeals as I said; five times she went to
court.  Once the court had examined the case and decided that it was a bogus claim, then the
whole procedure followed. The Home Office issued the directive and we had to comply with the
directive.   
Mr Speaker:  Last question!
Mr Bérenger:  After having reached Mauritius here, that young lady gave an interview
to ITV television in the UK where she made a very serious allegation, Mr Speaker, Sir.  She
alleged that the person who had threatened her with sexual assault in 2011 had been arrested, but
the case had been dropped because she believes that, that person benefitted from high political
protection and she ended up by saying: ‘there is a group of people working for him, I am scared’.  
This is the latest allegation that she makes after having been deported here to Mauritius.  Have
the Police started enquiring into that?
The Prime Minister:  I can say all that she has been saying is false.  Again, she is
making bogus claims to try to justify what has happened.  As I said, Mr Speaker, Sir, she came to
the UK in December 2011 on a Tourist Visa and then, she never said anything and it is only in
2013 that she made an application for asylum on the basis of a relative – ‘relative’ the word she
used – trying to abuse her physically.  None whatever, it is clear that it was a bogus claim; this
was not tenable and the court decided to reject it.  All the claims she is saying now is absolutely
false.  There is no such case as far as we can see.