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Government doing all it can to help Windrush victims – Charles Jr

Published:Wednesday | March 6, 2019 | 12:00 AMPaul Clarke/Gleaner Writer

The Government of Jamaica has acted swiftly in dealing with impropriety arising from the Windrush scandal and mass deportation of Jamaicans from the United Kingdom, says State Minister Pearnel Charles Jr.

His assurance arose out of a meeting last week between Charles Jr and representatives of the UK pressure group Windrush Movement, led by Desmond Jaddoo, at the foreign affairs ministry in Kingston.

“We heard several of the issues brought to us. We clarified some and explained others and assured them [that] the Government of Jamaica is doing everything it can to continue constructive engagement with the UK Government on both the Windrush and deportation matters,” Charles Jr said.

Charles explained that Jamaica has a legal and moral obligation to all its citizens. He said, however, that there was room for more dialogue on past and potential injustices, which should be investigated and addressed, where deemed necessary.

“Any activity that can be seen as deleterious or a breach of human rights, we advised Mr Jaddoo that once that evidence is presented to us, that we will act swiftly and continue to promote the interest of Jamaican citizens at home and abroad,” said Charles Jr.

During the short but productive meeting, concerns were raised with regard to the treatment of the Windrush Generation and also the deportation of 29 Jamaicans from the UK on February 6. Jaddoo believes that some of those deportations were questionable.

Jaddoo told The Gleaner that he also raised issues of the general ill-treatment of the diaspora community in the UK and the fact that many “saw the Jamaican Government as being compliant with the British government”.

“I welcomed the discussions with Minister Charles Jr to the extent where it is now felt that a door is fully open for us as the Windrush Movement (UK) to raise matters of concern with the ministry and they will be taken seriously.

“The Windrush Movement (UK) sees this as a major step forward in addressing the concerns of families that have been torn apart by the recent activities of the British Government,” Jaddoo noted.

political scandal

The Windrush scandal is a 2018 British political scandal concerning Jamaicans and other Caribbean people who were wrongly detained, denied legal rights, threatened with deportation, and, in around 63 cases, wrongly deported from the UK by the Home Office.

Many of those affected had been born British subjects and had arrived in the UK before 1973, particularly from Caribbean countries, as members of the Windrush Generation (so named after the Empire Windrush, the ship that brought one of the first groups of West Indian migrants to the UK in 1948).

As part of the ongoing process to “correct the wrongs”, the British Home Office undertook compensation consultations, which ended in November 2018, which was to determine the number of affected persons eligible for remuneration for losses incurred under the UK Government’s aggressive immigration policy.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com