the Disillusioned kid: Where Next?
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Wednesday, May 18, 2005

Where Next?

The story of the Chagos Islanders seeking a new life in the UK (more on which here, here and here) goes on:
BAILIFFS could be sent in to force exiled Diego Garcians out of council-funded accommodation.

The Garcians are sitting tight in council accommodation in spite of a mutual agreement between legal teams that should have seen them move out on Monday.

Reigate and Banstead Borough Council has been footing the bill for 33 islanders since their arrival in the borough last autumn. It has cost them more than £55,000.

The group originate from the Chagos island of Diego Garcia but were moved to Mauritius after their homeland was made into a military airbase by the British Government in the 1970s.

The High Court ordered the council to house them while a review is undertaken of their situation, and they were given accommodation in bedsit flats at Atkinson Court, Horley.

After a lot of legal wrangling, an agreement was reached three weeks ago between the council's legal team and lawyers representing the Diego Garcians that the islanders would move on May 9. However, only 14 have moved out and the remaining 19 have refused to go.

Joan Spiers, leader of the council, was incensed, saying they had reneged on an agreement reached between the council and their lawyers.

"I am appalled," she said. "We have treated them incredibly well. But I believe they are taking advantage of the council tax-payers in this borough.

" Now the council must go to court to get them removed.

A council spokesman said: "We have to show we have grounds for eviction and get the court to agree them.

"There are two dates involved - one for eviction and one for the bailiffs to move in. Hopefully we can combine the two and do it all on the same day."

Mrs Spiers expressed her dismay at the situation and the delay in moving them out.

She said: "They have had six months free board and lodging and now we have to go to court and get a bailiff to evict them."

Allen Vincatassin, community leader of the Diego Garcians, could not be contacted at the time of going to press.
I found this story (like so much of my information on the Chagossians) via the Chagos Discussion list and I can but agree with the originator who suggests that "the Council should bring the UK government to court for dumping their problem onto the Council."

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