UNITED KINGDOM – The Zimbabwean family of a five-year-girl who died after being hit by a car in Eastbourne have been denied visas to attend her funeral, the local MP says.
Andrea Gada, of Downland Close, Eastbourne, was struck by a Ford Fusion in Friday Street in the town on 16 December and died the following day.
Her parents’ applications for visas for Andrea’s grandparents and aunt to fly from Zimbabwe have been denied.
The couple’s MP Stephen Lloyd attacked the Home Office’s “callousness”.
Mr Lloyd, the Liberal Democrat MP for Eastbourne and Willingdon, said the visas had been denied “despite Mr and Mrs Gada giving me a categorical assurance the grandparents and aunt would be returning home soon after paying their respects”.
He said: “I am extremely angry at the callousness shown by the Home Office.
“To me this is an immigration decision which lacks compassion and basic decency, attributes which I know are front and centre with the vast majority of British people.”
Wellington and Charity Gada are from Zimbabwe and were granted asylum in the UK.
Mr Lloyd said he had written to the immigration minister, James Brokenshire, asking him to intervene.
Andrea’s funeral was due to be held next Friday, but the family has postponed the service because of the absences.
Explaining its decision to the three family members, the Home Office said it was “not satisfied that you have demonstrated that this will be a simple visit of three months or that your intentions are genuine in wishing to travel to the United Kingdom”.
The decision papers said all three had been refused entry clearance in October 2013 “partly due to economic ties to Zimbabwe”, which had not been addressed in the more recent application.
Mr Lloyd said: “I implore the minister to do the right thing; grant this grief-stricken family the temporary travel visas, and allow their kith and kin to pay their last respects to little Andrea.” BBC