Selector could be released from US immigration facility
After an impassioned plea last Friday for Jamaicans to reach out to Florida governor Ron DeSantis to demand the release of her ill brother, Oneil ‘Foota Hype’ Thomas, Kerry-Ann Townsend has received good news.
In an interview with THE STAR yesterday, Townsend said she received word on Saturday that an application made to the Immigration and Custom Enforcement facility in Florida where the selector is being held was accepted, and it’s now only a matter of time before her brother is released and reunited with family.
“His attorney actually gave me great news. The courts are closed but the judges have been working electronically and they have decided that based on his medical condition, Foota is qualified for release. We got word via email on Saturday and we are just so happy,” she said. “I guess with the threat of COVID-19 and all the things he’s up against because of his health, he’s being considered. Now, it’s just a matter of time and that is really great news. Now instead of not knowing where we stand, especially with this virus running rampant, we have some hope and it feels pretty good.”
Townsend said more than anything else, she is happy that with his pending release, her brother will now be able to get the medical care he desperately needs.
“Foota is diabetic and he has to get insulin two times a day. He needs to eat a certain way, get enough rest … so even if he’s out on house arrest, we’d be happy because we can take care of him the way he ought to be cared for. I’m glad I decided to make some noise on his behalf because without noise nothing happens,” she said.
Although it’s still uncertain as to the exact date the selector will be freed, Townsend said her brother is overjoyed.
“We talk several times a day and he’s extremely excited to know that he at least has a chance now, it’s just a matter of when. He knows everything takes time but he’s happy that we are in a better place than we were last week,” she said. “To him, it doesn’t matter if he has to report to someone every week until his court date. He just wants to be out so he can take care of his health. We’re all on house arrest now with this virus anyway, so he desn’t mind being in the house.”
Having been taking note of how may deaths the virus has caused, especially with persons who have pre-existing health conditions, Townsend said her plea was not made just for her brother’s behalf.
She said that there are dozens of persons in lock-ups who are at risk of contracting the virus because their health is already compromised, and they need to be able to access freedom at least until the virus is under control.