Saint Lucian who served the British Army left in immigration limbo

By Chris Green, The Independent

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Shevron Louis. Photo credit: The Independent (U.K).

THE INDEPENDENT – Shevron Louis was born in St Lucia, but always felt a natural affinity with Britain. As a young man he worked for a French construction company, but after a few years he began hankering for a new challenge and decided to join the British Army.

“I wanted to do something new,” he recalled. “Obviously England fought for my country so it was a sort of payback thing. I always wanted to travel, and there’s nowhere else I wanted to go other than England. I wanted to come here, join the Army, then go back home and feel like the king.”

The 29-year-old said Britain felt like a “big freezer” when he arrived in the country for the first time in 2009. Having kept fit in St Lucia by running on the beach, he breezed through his Army training and served for three years with The Yorkshire Regiment, including in the Falklands.

But he said “everything changed” when he sustained an injury and was medically discharged. Suddenly, he found himself alone in his adopted country with nowhere to go – and only 28 days to decide whether to apply to work in Britain or return home.

“When I first came out of the Army, if somebody told me to go left I would go left,” he said. “I was lost. No-one really said anything to me – I didn’t know where to go or what to do. In the Army I was getting praised, but the minute I was downgraded nobody spoke to me.”

Mr Louis is one of many foreign-born veterans who have served in the UK Armed Forces only to find themselves in immigration limbo afterwards. The military charity Veterans Aid, one of two being supported by The Independent’s appeal, recently reported a rise in the number of ex-servicemen and women seeking help for similar reasons.

Mr Louis applied for a work permit, but the complex application process left him facing high legal fees and delays of more than six months, during which time he was unable to work. He sold his car to cover the costs and was forced to live in a loft in East London, before contacting Veterans Aid for help.

The charity gave him free advice about his case before offering him a post as a volunteer while he waited for his work permit to be approved. He now believes he would have become homeless if he had not approached the charity for help. “It was a very upsetting time for me. I would just break down in tears sometimes,” he said.

When his paperwork was in order, Veterans Aid also paid for him to attend a training course. He now works as a scaffolder and says he intends to apply for indefinite leave to remain and then full British citizenship. “I support England 100 per cent. I like England,” he said.

The other charity being supported by The Independent’s appeal, ABF The Soldiers’ Charity, has given grants to many foreign-born veterans. One of them is Jessica Joseph, 37, who like Mr Louis is originally from St Lucia. She joined the British Army in 2002 because she wanted to see more of the world, leaving in 2013 after being deployed to Iraq, Afghanistan and Northern Ireland.

The Soldiers’ Charity gave her a £500 grant when she left her Army accommodation and moved into a flat in West Sussex, which she used to pay for bedroom furniture, a table and chairs. “When I found out, I said a prayer to God saying thank you so much, and said that over and over to my case worker,” she said.

“I like to recognise people who do good things for me so just kept saying thank you so much. It helped make the flat a home for my daughter. People shouldn’t be afraid to ask for help. Sometimes you just need it, Army or not. It helped me and my daughter a lot, we can call here home now so I’m very grateful for that.

LINK TO STORY: http://www.independent.co.uk/voices/campaigns/homeless-veterans/homeless-veterans-appeal-injured-veteran-left-in-immigration-limbo-when-discharged-from-army-9990972.html

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This article was posted in its entirety as received by stlucianewsonline.com. This media house does not correct any spelling or grammatical error within press releases and commentaries. The views expressed therein are not necessarily those of stlucianewsonline.com, its sponsors or advertisers.

68 comments

  1. “Obviously England fought for my country" What is he on about? England did not fight for your country. England exploited St Lucia for all she was worth back then and when She could not pilfer no more she gave St Lucia it's independence.I think this young man needs to do his research before he opens his mouth. When have the English given anyone anything without wanting something in return?

    The British came to our splendid isle many many moons ago and took over our land. They enslaved our people and worked them like donkeys to help produce sugar, cotton and other commodities for their country. Our poor ancestors had no choice in the matter. They were whipped and brutalised if they were not up to it. Many people were put down by these evil plantation owners who were bent on making huge profits to help the British empire at that time.Depicting Britain as some sort of a saviour is quite possibly this young man's way of saying thanks to the British for allowing him to join their army. An army that have committed so many atrocities against our black folks all over the world.This young man does not have a clue about the way the British operate.

    According to the article he is in limbo. What did he expect from a country that is trying to control the number of non whites who flood into the UK? Westminster is populated with right-wing politicians who are bent to stemming the flow of migrants to the UK.They don't mind you serving in their army, but once you have served their interests then it is time to pack your bags and move back to where you came from. You have outlived your usefulness to them. You are cramping their style and therefore you have no right to be in the UK.

    He goes on to say that he wanted to live like a king. Well now is his chance to make this promise become a reality.How about returning home to the lovely sunshine where life will be easier for him? He is in limbo and is struggling to live in this cold ghastly country called Britain. Why struggle when in his own words could live like a king? A king in his own land. Right now he is at the mercy of people who at any time could cease to assist him. It happens all the time. The Brits grow tired of people quickly. They don't like being bothered by people. They don't like being hassled by folks from foreign lands.They don't want people to become depended on them.

    I believe this young man wants to remain in the UK for a while so he can pick up the accent and when he eventually returns to St Lucia, he can start "yanking" and wanting to sound British with his contrived brogue. That is what a lot of Lucians do. They come up for a while and within a short space of time become British overnight. These people have no sense of pride and identity. The British will never want to speak like us in the Caribbean. They most certainly won't. Why do we want to sound like them?

    My advice to this young man is to return to your country where the air is so fresh and green. Where you will be free to do as you please. Don't do like the many who came over and got lost in the British system. The many who became disenchanted with life in the place where they thought the streets were paved with gold.The many who have lost the plot in the land of the queen. Now it is time for him to go back to Lovely St Lucia and become a king like he said.Be a king in your land Sir before it's too late.

    Go before that dreaded knock on the door from the immigration. Quite a few ex soldiers are on the run - They fear being sent back to their countries of origin. Serves some of them right. Why did they join a force whose primary objective is to kill other human beings? Personally I do not think any Caribbean person should join the British army. They will never respect us black folks from the Caribbean and elsewhere. St Lucians in the UK should try and help this young man.
    He should perhaps give the St Lucian High Commission a ring in London, Perhaps they could assist him in returning home.
    Their number is : 0207 370 7123.Good luck!

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  2. I served, got citizenship, got University paid for - Undergrad and Postgrad courtesy of Her Majesty; thanks Liz! Would I have got 2 degrees in St Lucia? maybe not, in fact St Lucia government has yet to respond to my scholarship application made 18yrs ago lolol.

    You need to look after yourself and make sure you're well informed. Don't just sit and wait for bread to fall from the sky. Read, ask questions, get up, get out and get something.

    It's not easy in St Lucia, yet alone in a foreign country on your own. It's not about fighting a white man's war as some others may say on here, it's a job and an agreement between 2 parties which makes no promises about when you leave; while you're in you need to plan and get out as much as you put in.

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    • I will echo everything you just said there .Like you I served and was born in SLU.... Mate just sit on his ads expecting people to do for him .Dread it's sad that a lot of people sitting at home in SLU..like actually believe this story ...SMH.....

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  3. I hope now some of you St Lucians understand how it is to live in England. When these people come home you all bow down to them and say please go through without searching or questioning them and later to find they have overstayed for years. Then you treat your people like shit in customs digging all their cases for the world to see on arrival back in St Lucia. You put your life on the line for them and they throw you away like rubbish when you are no longer of any use to them.

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  4. Sometimes you out there killing innocent people in the name of war.....have you ever thought of that. .........God naa sleep.......think careful of the discussion

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  5. THE THINGS PEOPLE DO JUST TO STAY IN A BIG COUNTRY!! BOY JUST COME BACK TO YOUR FATHER'S LITTLE WOODEN HOUSE AND LIVE IN PEACE 🙂

    THERE ARE GREEN FIGS, RIVER FISH AND COCONUT WATER AROUND THE PLACE.

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  6. I'm a lucian and in the British army for over 12yrs. I did not sleep on me in getting my papers. Etc. Plus schooling is available. Some of us take advantage of it some of us don't. My brother I feel your pain.

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    • Exactly, you need to inform yourself. This is why people sit back and cry and blame everything on the phrase "better days" when things go wrong.

      Saint Lucia was given independence so long ago, yet sadly many of our people are still so dependent.

      Congrats for getting up, standing up, and going and do you for you. We all need to step up and try to help ourselves at least, and the good people who see us trying/struggling will help us God willing.

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  7. the 50 year old Jamaican,we all in uk was told it was all over the radio and black pirates radio station,to apply for uk,citizenship.This guy didn.t apply,and there are 100 of Jamaicans in uk you said me nay apply for nothing,me ja passport can get me anywhere

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  8. Of all the places for you to go is England you're picking?...England doesn't care about blacks especially.I as a black man CANNOT serve no other country for a few pounds & to say you in foreign.These soldiers from the Caribbean serving in England's army remind me of house slaves.Now the master kicked this one out of the house & he's complaining.

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    • You really need to meet some of the successful army personnel to stop chatting this rubbish. I've met officers who served there and even highly educated soldiers from all over the Caribbean.

      Besides, blacks don't care about blacks, think Boko Haram!

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  9. I dont understand this...
    "Obviously England fought for my country so it was a sort of payback thing."

    Is he thinking England fighting the French??
    I would not call that fighting for St Lucia.
    just fighting FOR St Lucia.
    It does not need payback.
    But maybe PAYBACK.
    I am confusing myself now... 🙂

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  10. lol....gg you are right. He live there so long he probably forgot he was Jamaican. That's what happens when you forget where you come from....lol

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  11. yourl ppl leaving in dem foreign countries an seeing hell please come back to ur country.I dont see why we have to fight their wars for dem. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  12. Wow Glen,It's nice seeing you but not nice to be reading this. Hope all works well for you.You should return home liek someone said you'd so great here in SSU with all your skills and expertise. something to consider.You're still young and can start all over .

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  13. Lucians like to run to these countries too fast and work in the army at that. Let the people fight their wars alone

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  14. This should serve as a lesson for the rest of us. Always read the fine prints. Have and understand written agreements before agreeing to anything. Most importantly understand that the grass is not always greener on the other side.

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  15. If I can remember I can remember reading years ago that the uk army warns you that they can't help you with immigration matters.That you the individual have to sort out your paper work yourself make sure your status is right in the country! A Lot of these guys it seems are wrongly advised.

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  16. This is sad to hear this story. The army has been informing families and soldiers in their yearly meetings at vairous places in St. Lucia. The last meeting was held in St. Lucia at Bay Gardens and not many persons attended. Persons voiced their opposition at these new immigration practices and also the requirements for settlement visas. The representatives said its a case of "peter paying for paul" and soldiers/foreigners abusing the system . All this information is available on the army website and through the caribbean representative Mrs Reid. Now we have built their colonies they no longer need us or feel obliged to provide citizenship.

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    • The UK opened the doors to the Caribbean after the war and for many years afterwards. Many went.

      St Lucia wanted independence, we had it. Can't keep asking for special treatment.

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  17. Uk immigration not easy!!! The people from the EU exploiting the system and us caribbean people who want and honest and decent living they treat like crap!

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  18. http://frontline.soldierscharity.org/2014/08/jessica-joseph-serving-for-a-common-cause

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  19. White man create their war let them send their mama, papa, brothers, sisters, friends etc to fight their war. Was there a War between the Caribbean people no we are too busy hustling down a dollar to pay our bills and eat, I feel sorry for you but they are telling you to your face the party is OVER GET A LIFE.

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  20. It shouldn't be that hard, we are a Commonwealth Realm, but people from all over Europe can come and be on welfare and drain the system. So what's wrong with this picture? Perhaps Her Majesty has something to say to Davie when she meets him this week, he's got some 'splanin' to do.

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  21. As a descendent from Africa.......might fight is to free our minds from mental slavery. ..let them world leaders and their Politicians go on the battlefield........they the ones creating their wars......

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  22. Man the Mad Cow says "St. Lucia have never and will never be in a war with Barbados, Martinique, or any other." So, he will serve in no man's military!

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  23. i know about it shervon. i got medically discharged and was no fault of my own as they accepted it was negligence on their part.i applied for discretionary "leave to remain" i was refused. funny thing is i've got a uk drivers license,uk bank account ,National insurance and health card but don't have the right to work.

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    • Ok, but illegals both here and in the US, Europe, Canada, etc, here have bank accounts, drivers licenses and some health care. So what's your point?

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      • well my point is at one time you had to be legal to obtain all of these. but when the immigration policies put in place to help you fail you.. you fall through the cracks leaving you in limbo.

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      • I live in the UK and you must have right to stay if you can get anything like bank account, drivers license etc. So understand before you jump to conclusions.

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      • Are you in the UK? You sound very misinformed about UK affairs.......

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        • Really? You tell me, as usual St.Lucians hmmm

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          • Please stop talking crap. "As usual Lucians" Aren't you a St Lucian? Spend a few days in the UK and think you are British already. Like Worried About said you are very misinformed about UK affairs. Bank accounts, drivers license can get you your stay. Which UK do you live in? I would really like to know. The UK has the toughest immigration laws in Europe and quite possibly in the world. They amend the laws every year or so to tighten it.

            To get permanent residence one will need more than bank accounts and driver's license. For one it is difficult to open an account in the UK if you are a visitor and unable to prove to the banks that you have rights to live and work in the UK. If you are planning to get married you will need a permit/license from the registry. After you are married you will most likely have to return to your country and then have the British spouse file for you to return. As for students you will have to have a certain amount of money in your account each month and make sure you attend your course full-time with 90 percent attendance. You are allowed only 20 hours of work per week.. The list goes on and on. I am an expert on UK immigration law and frankly the rhetoric you are spewing is nothing but utter nonsense and bull.. Just stop writing about things you do not know. please stick to what you know.

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  24. thats how england treats their soldiers espically those from the caribbean. I have a brother in a similiar suitation. We have no right going and fight england wars for them

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  25. Don't believe everything you read on there ..SMH...Am a soldier myself from St.Lucia serving in the British Army ..Immigration law states you must do at least 4 years in the service to apply for leave to remain ..and 5 years for citizenship 3 if you married to a British citizen. If you are medically discharge it trumps all that and your path to residency becomes easier providing that you apply for residency 28 days after discharge ..This soldier clams he never knew or no one help him ..that is false .You are given notice in advance way before you discharge date to see a resettlement officer. Which in turn helps you with relocation , jobs and immigration .You as a soldier also have a duty of care to yourself to find out all you can on your present situation and what is available to you ..

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    • I agree. He's story left too much out. Pretty sure there are soldiers from other islands/countries who talk and discuss becoming a citizen and what not. That's how most of us get information, then go ask ppl who know or our supervisors. Plus it's probably on the books also.

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    • its not as straight forward as you may think.if the injury occurs on tour of duty /operations you MAY be granted discretionary leave to remain if applied for.but also you need to be able to prove that remaining in the uk is the best way to manage that injury.e.g prove st.lucia doesn't the right have facilities or medication needed for recuperation .if you lose body parts or suffer some kind of internal injury residency is most likely granted. in the case of a non freezing/freezing cold injury(frostbite) how are you suppose to explain to immigration that staying in cold weather is best thing for you?Shervon has a non freezing cold injury and he is no Doctor or lawyer. there is a lot of false advertising going on in the army. cold injuries are not seen as severe injuries and immigration would be more than happy to send ass back to a warm country.

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    • u c**t he is givin an account of what happen to him don t tell him what u think happened to him u know too much.

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  26. This is quite sad and shocking. There was no mention of how he got injured though; I think that would be a key point. If it wasn't in service then he probably or most likely rather, would've stood a better chance. They barely want to help you when you're in full right or "entitled to" farless if they can't be blamed for the situation. Look at how the Ghurkhas struggled to get the right to stay after fighting hard for them. Hey such is this mean life we live in.

    Keep your head up my brother and hope it all works out. I hope someone with a good conscience gets hold of your case and helps you win in this.

    To think the amount of people who cross their borders illegally and gain asylum yet it's so easy for them to say no to someone who has served the country. Smh

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  27. It is sad. You only think this happens in America. Keep your head held high.

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    • that would have never happened to a US serviceman, he would not have to be applying for any work permit after leaving the military. the path to citizenship is much clearer and easier in the US especially for people in the military.

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      • Correct. The US, to join any branch of service, you must at least have a green card. They won't accept foreigners without it. If anything happens to you while in the service, you don't have to worry about being deported afterwards.

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  28. Sorry but I not serving any nation's amy unless there is a clear path to citizenship.

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  29. I am extremelydisappointed in how shabby the United Kingdom have treated persons who have served in their Forces. My brother served 12 years in the RAF and after leaving, when he returned to the UK for medical treatment, he was given a rough time at immigration. He was eventually allowed in. I served for 6 years in the British army, but thankfully I have not had any issues.

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  30. oh my what a sad story from this former veteran. It is very disturbing to hear of such stories because most St. Luciana as myself have family members in the army.
    I am thankful for SNO for sharing this with us so that others like Shevron can now start working on a backup plan rather than believing that they will be young and strong all their lives to be in the army and that the country they chose to serve will take care of their needs.
    The flip side of this is -what a shame it is for the United Kingdom to use and abuse our young people who have decided to serve them
    Don’t persons get compensated for the years of service or at least compensated to take care of the injury sustained??
    I have many questions after reading this story but I will go Google for more information-smh

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    • It's a veteran, not former veteran. Being in the military is like having a job. You don't perform, when it's time to re-up the contract, they might not allow you to do so. Also, while in the service, plan ahead, think about the future, because nothing is gauranteed. Yes, he was compensated for his time of service while he was serving. He was paid once of twice a month. When you are injured in the service, during your final physical, you're supposed to list ALL injures and those are review with you and notes taken. Then you are compenssated if the injury is a recurring on. If the injury was from negligence on the service mbr's part, then why would they compensate you? There is more to this, like how he was injured.

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  31. buddy stay Lucia , they will give you a job with the SSU....................

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  32. Generally England, unlike France,has exploited its colonies and former dependencies in the Caribbean. We were gladly given our Indepedence when we requested it. Citizens from the UK's former colonies who serve in the British armed forces are now treated as expendable commodities who are quickly discarded when their fighting days are done.

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    • Wrong. You're on a contract. It's up to, #1 YOU and #2 your command/the branch of Service if you want to continue your military career. If you sit on your behind and don't do what's needed to advance, or lacking behind, when your contract is up, then you're out. No branch of Service wants to pay anyone for sitting on their laurels, doing nothing.

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    • All the European countries who had colonies, exploited the colonies on every continent throughout the world. The only difference between France and England, is that France enhanced their colonies with a better infrastructure.

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  33. Imagine serving a country by joining the army, and when you are discharged you have nowhere to turn to. I think foreign soldiers should be given citizenship or provided permits (free of charge)where they can remain in the country and be provided assistance without having to face homelessness, poverty and so on

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    • That is not completely true. Everyone has the opportunity to apply for citizenship when the join the military, whether it's in England or the US. If you decide to sit on it and don't do anything during the time of your service, when the shit hits the fan is when they realise 'oh shit, maybe I should have applied for citizenship before.'

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      • You are talking RUBBISH, are you talking about the UK? One cannot apply for citizenship in the UK when first joining the army. Get your your facts right please.

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      • I believe they said he served 3 years? If he wasn't living in the UK before that he isn't entitled to citizenship. From what I remember you need to spend 5 yrs if not married to a UK citizen before you're eligible.

        Citizenship for servicepersons/ex-servicepersons is handled with more leniency I think and they most likely will get it if they apply the right time and through the proper channels.

        From reading this I believe this guy wasn't very knowledgeable and he is saying that he wasn't offered enough help which is not fair for someone who served proudly whether it is 3 or 30yrs service; the minute you pledge that Oath of Allegiance you're prepared to sign your life away to Her Majesty so you should be taken care of when you need the help.

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  34. There is a Jamaican dude who is now presently stranded in Jamaica after a two weeks vacation. He had lived in England for fifty years. Before he left for the visit, he had his Jamaican passport renewed. After his vacation, on leaving he was told he needed a visa to leave Ja for UK. He is presently stranded there with all his assets in UK. He should have gotten UK citizenship.

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    • That's not true. He didn't take the steps he was asked to make sure his passport had the stamps in. I thought exactly the same as you until I read the full story. People need to take some responsibility.

      As a general point, you can't expect to join a job and expect to get benefits that arent in the job description.

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    • 50 years...this guy should have had a UK passport....and to make it worst he's travelling...smh...he prob forgot he was a Jamaican......

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  35. Wow.....bravo to you guys

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