Sat | May 25, 2019

C'bean gov'ts should collectively follow up on Windrush compensation

Published:Saturday | August 4, 2018 | 12:00 AM


Since the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting in London in April when Prime Minister Theresa May apologised for the 'Windrush scandal' to the Caribbean Heads of Government, there has been no news of any collective follow-up by the Caribbean governments. There have been numerous harrowing stories of the treatment of the 'Windrush Generation' and their children who were encouraged to come to settle and rebuild Britain after World War II between 1948 and 1973.

The UK government has not yet begun to quantify the losses to people because of the 'Windrush scandal' where people have been deported, put in detention, denied pensions, housing, jobs and healthcare. Yet already the UK Home Secretary is proposing a cap.

Jamaica's State Minister for Foreign Affairs Pearnel Charles Jr said in a tweet 22.06.2018, "the UK government has proposed positive measures so far and we continue to monitor closely as the formula for compensation and the way forward is determined".

At a town hall meeting in April in London I was encouraged when Prime Minister Andrew Holness promised to hold Theresa May to account after her apology for the 'Windrush scandal'. As a person whose parents, Derrick and Veronica Brown, came to the UK in the '60s I have experienced the 'hostile environment' since the '80s after our citizenship rights were whittled away by successive immigration acts (1962, 1968, 1971) and the British Nationality Act 1981.

Individual Caribbean Governments 'monitoring' the UK government's proposed measures are totally inadequate, in my view. Contrast that approach with the negotiations that are taking place over the future treatment of EU and UK citizens in their respective jurisdictions because of Brexit.

All their rights will be enshrined in law and enforceable through the courts.

The Jamaican and other Caribbean governments must act collectively again, as they did in April when they secured an apology from the UK Government.

Negotiations on behalf of their citizens who live in the UK and those who are affected in the Caribbean must be embarked on.

Anthony Brown

LLB (Hons)