Seek justice! - Windrush Generation urged to contest deportation
Jamaicans and other Caribbean nationals dubbed the Windrush Generation who have been aggrieved by the actions of the United Kingdom (UK) government should immediately take steps to seek redress, advised Diana Baxter, solicitor in Britain.
At the same time, Prime Minister Andrew Holness is urging the UK Government to ensure that the pre-1973 Commonwealth Caribbean migrants currently detained as illegals are released and that those deported are afforded the necessary UK assistance in having their cases urgently reviewed and their rights restored.
Baxter told The Gleaner in an interview yesterday that Jamaicans who fall in the category of the so-called Windrush Generation and had been deported should make contact with the UK Home Office to contest their deportation.
"If they believe that they were incorrectly deported from the UK, they should either make contact with the Home Office directly or with lawyers in the UK who may be able to help them," Baxter advised.
The UK solicitor made it clear that persons who lost their jobs owing to flawed decisions made by the UK authorities should also be compensated.
Baxter reported that she has had clients whose employers had been contacted and advised that they had no right to work in the country, resulting in loss of jobs.
The solicitor pointed out that such persons could potentially be liable for compensation for loss of income. "People who have been detained can claim for unlawful detention," she added.
Baxter's comments resonated with those of Timothy Harris, prime minister of St Kitts and Nevis, who told the BBC yesterday that he hoped the British government would "make good any injustice" suffered by individuals, including by offering compensation.
He indicated that British Prime Minister Theresa May's apology represented a start of the dialogue "as evidence is uncovered which requires correction".
May apologised for the Windrush Generation debacle while meeting with Caribbean leaders who are attending the Commonwealth summit in London.
Holness yesterday accepted May's apology, on behalf of Caribbean leaders, over the UK's mishandling of the so-called Windrush Generation controversy. "I believe that the right thing is being done at this time," Holness told the British press.
He said he did not know how many people had been affected by the controversy, but it was "at least" in the hundreds.
WHO IS TO BLAME?
Asked if his British counterpart was to blame for the situation, Holness said: "I can't answer that question. The truth is that she has said there has been a policy change, that this was an unintended consequence.
"As Caribbean leaders, we have to accept that in good faith."
He added that May had not been able to say "definitively" that nobody had been deported as a result of issues with paperwork.
The Windrush Generation are the thousands of Caribbean migrants invited to Britain between 1948 and the early 1970s to help rebuild the nation post-World War II. Commonwealth citizens living in the UK had been granted indefinite leave to remain based on provisions in the 1971 Immigration Act.
Changes in UK law in 2012 and 2014, however, demanded that these persons prove they had the right to remain in Britain by providing documentary evidence. Many legitimate citizens were caught up in a clampdown in recent times to identify an influx of illegal immigrants.