Sat | Dec 5, 2020

Windrush campaigners team up for stronger voice

Published:Wednesday | October 21, 2020 | 12:09 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

Chairman of the soon-to-be-launched Windrush National Organisation (WNO UK), Dr Desmond Jaddoo, says a system is needed to bridge the gap between persons affected by the United Kingdom’s hostile environment policy and the Home Office, which is overseeing the ongoing compensation scheme.

That system, he insisted, is why several prominent advocacy groups have teamed up to form the WNO, born out of the dedicated work around the Windrush scandal undertaken by pressure group Windrush Movement, which was also headed by Jaddoo.

He told The Gleaner that complexities remain around the Windrush issue and that it has left an invisible impact upon the second and third generation of people who were born in the UK, requiring action as well, even as the Home Office undertakes payouts under the compensation scheme.

“We are a collective, which we aim to provide strong advocacy for all those which have been impacted to ensure that equity and justice are there for the Windrush Generation,” said Jaddoo.

The Windrush Compensation Scheme was launched in April 2019 to ensure that affected members of the Windrush Generation receive payments for the impact on their lives. This includes payment for loss of employment and benefits and other forms of hardships.

In November 2018, in a monthly update to the Home Affairs Select Committee, Home Secretary Sajid Javid said that 83 cases had been confirmed of people who had been wrongfully deported from the UK. Officials feared there might be a further 81. At least 11 deportees had subsequently died.

Further, Jaddoo said it was brought to his attention that several persons remain stuck outside the UK and cannot return. It was not clear if any UK-born Jamaicans were among the affected.

AD CAMPAIGNS TO REACH PUBLIC

Jaddoo said ad campaigns are being planned for places like Jamaica to get people to come forward who may have parents that were actually born in the UK as well, as they could also benefit from the compensation scheme.

“We intend to collate this information and monitor what the Home Office is doing and basically advocate for the victims of the Windrush scandal,” Jaddoo said.

The WNO, which will have its launch tomorrow, is made up of 15 independent UK-based organisations seeking to offer leadership in terms of addressing the wrongs of the Windrush scandal; by assisting those affected with their status and compensation claims, while offering health and well-being support to those that are most vulnerable.

The Windrush compensation scheme is open to almost anyone from a Commonwealth country who arrived and settled in the UK before 1973 and who was impacted by not being able to demonstrate their lawful status.

Certain children and grandchildren of those arriving before 1973 and some close family members may also be eligible for compensation.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com