Are migrants told: “the lifeboats will help you reach the UK”?

From: Wayne Andrews, Chitcombe Road, Broad Oak

Friday, 17th December 2021, 7:42 am
A group of migrants arrive via the RNLI (Royal National Lifeboat Institution) (Photo by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images) PPP-210930-112410003

You have recently published a series of letters, from myself and many others, about the cross-Channel migrant situation. The topic is unlikely to go away any time soon, but the situation is not helped by ill-informed comments such as those quoted in your article (December 10, page 5) by a Mr Simon Hester of an organisation calling itself ‘Hastings Stand Up To Racism’.

One of his comments is so bizarre that it is worth repeating in full: “At least 27 people drowned in the Channel because our Government has blocked off safe routes to people claiming asylum”. What arrant nonsense.

I fly no flag for the current Johnson regime, and will not vote for them, but to blame them for the dinghy that capsized is ridiculous - it happened only six miles off the French coast. Mr Hester’s reference to “safe” routes fails to answer the crucial question - what route is “safe”? First-class tickets on British Airways? And how has the Government “blocked off” safe routes?

I have also pointed out several times that the involvement of the RNLI lifeboats is actually encouraging more Channel crossings. Do we know for sure that people traffickers on a French beach did not say to the occupants of the ill-fated dinghy that capsized “Don’t worry if the sea is rough - the lifeboats will help you reach the UK”? Nobody would ever blame the RNLI for the tragedy, but is their participation sending a dangerous message?

And those who have been calling for “safe and legal” routes have failed to grasp the simple fact that there is no such thing. And what of those who believe they would not be accepted in the UK, and not given right of abode, etc? Will they take ‘no’ for an answer, or will they still be tempted to try the dangerous Channel dinghy route?

Mr Hester and his colleagues need to think more deeply about this one.

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