Sat | Dec 15, 2018

We will hold UK Government to Windrush promises, says Ramocan

Published:Thursday | October 11, 2018 | 12:00 AM
Ramocan

Jamaican High Commissioner to London George Ramocan says he will be holding Theresa May's United Kingdom (UK) government to promises it made to thoroughly investigate wrongs committed by the State against persons of Jamaican heritage who have been caught up in the Windrush Generation scandal.

He said that plans, as laid out by the (British) Home Office to compensate persons who were wrongfully denied services under British laws, must be carried through to the end.

"Where we are [now] is to ensure that what is promised is delivered, and the way in which we do this is to have regular interactions with the Home Office as well as to have reports from the Home Office on just what the progress is," said Ramocan, who is in the island as part of the week-long 2018 Executive Management and Heads of Missions Conference now under way in Kingston.

 

DISENFRANCHISED COMING FORWARD

 

He said, however, that what is slowing the process is the pace at which those who say they were disenfranchised are coming forward.

"Where we want more input is from the persons who are affected to come forward because you cannot relate concerns unless they are known.

"I am not speaking of persons only in the UK. I am also talking to those in Jamaica who have experienced in some way deportation, not of the criminal kind, but deported out of the zeal of the UK government to get individuals out of the country who were not regarded as properly documented," the top Jamaican diplomat in the UK said.

The Windrush Generation scandal broke in April as the British government attempted to address the issue as it unravelled.

'Windrushers' comprise British citizens who came to the UK from the Commonwealth as children following the Second World War and whose rights were guaranteed in the Immigration Act of 1971.

Named the Windrush Generation after British ship the Empire Windrush, which arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex with 492 Caribbean passengers in 1948, many have made England their home since then.

However, under new immigration laws, these people were forced to prove continuous residence in the UK since 1973, something that turned out to be almost impossible for those who have not kept up detailed records.

As a result, some were denied access to state healthcare, made redundant from their jobs, refused access to bank accounts, and even threatened with deportation.

According to Ramocan, what has come to the fore is that these individuals were made illegal by the changing of the law and not on account of their own actions.

paul.clarke@gleanerjm.com