FORTROSE -- The Home Office, in an unprecedented move, has given Delroy Gibbons, 67, of Castle Street, the luxury of choosing the country to which he will be deported next month.
In an odd twist that sees the Home Office contesting the legality of the so-called Windrush scheme that brought Gibbons' father and his young family from Jamaica to London in the 1950s, Gibbons is considered both a Windrusher and an illegal immigrant. He has, therefore, been granted a choice of returning to the familiar surroundings of the home he left when he was 6 months old, or starting a new life in the vibrant and welcoming arms of Rwanda.
"Since bringing those people over to drive busses and whatnot," said a Home Office representative, "many things have changed that render them redundant to a modern Britain, haven't they?" When asked for examples, the representative was only too glad to comply. "The decimalisation of the monetary system in 1971, for example. Women's Sufferage [technically legalised in 1918 but frowned upon until the death of Margaret Wintringham in 1955]. And who could forget the 1966 World Cup, when Geoff Hurst changed life in the UK forever by proving in extra time that we can manage just fine with our own, thank you."
The representative continued. "This [deportation] shows how England...um...the United Kingdom continues to change with the times. It is no different to the USA refusing to repeal an 18th-Century law allowing citizens to own guns when the guns have clearly gotten much more dangerous over time. Not to mention that there are so many more of them on the streets nowadays."
We caught up to Gibbons as he walked back to what will soon be his former home from the Co-Op, where he enjoys the sport of being the first to snag the popular Jaffa Cake multibuy. When asked what brought his family to Fortrose, he replied, "My father moved us to take advantage of an opportunity to operate the turntable at the old Fortrose train station. But as soon as we moved up here, it seemed, everybody started buying cars and building bridges and the train line [from Muir of Ord] was closed. When they ripped up the tracks, it was too much for him and he died a few months later. I've always thought it was from a broken heart."
His father's death left Gibbons with a family to support, so he left the warm bosom of Fortrose Academy to begin his NHS nursing qualifications. "My first job was the night shift in A&E at Raigmore Hospital [in Inverness]. And whilst all of my colleagues were given promotions, I guess they just liked the work I was doing so I've been here ever since."
"But now it is time to kneel to the wisdom of the Home Secretary. This country has given my family and me so much over the years, from a passion for cold, burnt toast to the freedom of the wide spaces that form around me whenever I walk down even the most crowded street. Besides, it has always been my dream to travel to a land I've never been before."
"I guess if I contributed to society in a meaningful way, like running around an oval track in my shorts, the [Home] Office may have turned the other cheek. But no one gathers 'round the telly to watch an A&E nurse on a night shift, do they? Although, if they had a programme like that I'd watch it. I mean, as long as it was on Freeview, like."
This article contains additional reporting by Jess Anderson