’ve been down here nearly nine years now,” George Tulloch, 50, 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.