Mon | May 20, 2019

Most Windrush victims J’can, says Ahmad - Compensation details to be known in weeks

Published:Tuesday | February 19, 2019 | 12:10 AM

British High Commissioner Asif Ahmad has revealed that more than half of the British government’s Windrush Generation cases registered under the compensation scheme are Jamaican.

“We know the 12,000 people who have registered for the compensation scheme; we know them by nationality. But what we do not know is, of those, how many would come within the scope of the compensation scheme. Many would have just made an enquiry in the hope that they might qualify, but find that they were not in the UK in the period concerned,” Ahmad told The Gleaner yesterday.

“And what I do know, overall, is that roughly 60 per cent of the Windrush cases – in terms of severity or just genuine enquiry – are from Jamaica. It is safe to say that Jamaica will be a very significant proportion of any payout. That is a given,” explained Ahmad.

Thousands of Jamaican Windrush victims are awaiting the verdict on their applications and should know in a matter of weeks if they qualify for compensation under the British Home Office Compensation Scheme, following the closure of the consultation period last November.

“Right now, there are assessments going on within the Home Office to push things through and to see how much the scheme should be and then to secure funding from central government,” Ahmad said yesterday.

He explained that British Home Secretary Sajid Javid told the British Parliament “a few weeks ago” that the compensation scheme would be announced to the House.

“Although no timeline was attached to Javid’s statement, he did say that it would have happened in the next few weeks, so we are waiting for that,” Ahmad said.

He said that Queen’s Counsel Martin Forde, the independent adviser appointed to oversee the development of the compensation scheme, has been given free rein and that he was not restricted in terms of what he may consider for compensation or the value of the payout.

“He was given full remit to make recommendations as to who would qualify,” the high commissioner stated.

The Windrush Generation refers to immigrants who were invited to the UK between 1948 and 1971 from Caribbean countries to help rebuild after the war. The name derives from the ship MV Empire Windrush, which, on June 22, 1948, docked in Tilbury, Essex, bringing nearly 500 Jamaicans to the UK.

In recent years, thousands of Caribbean people who subsequently arrived in the UK, even as children, were threatened with deportation in what became known as the Windrush scandal. They were told that they were in Britain illegally, despite having lived and worked in the country for decades.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com