Basseterre, St. Kitts, April 11, 2019 (SKNIS): St. Kitts and Nevis’ High Commission to the United Kingdom (UK), His Excellency Dr. Kevin Isaac, has said that the “battle hasn’t been won” with the Windrush Generation scandal in the United Kingdom and that the UK government “is seeking to whitewash the Windrush situation and we’re going to have injustices continue into the near future.”
The UK High Commissioner’s comments were made during Diplomatic Week 2019 in St. Kitts and Nevis, which runs from April 7-12 under the theme “Securing a Resilient Future through Strategic Diplomacy and Effective Dialogue.”
Speaking at a press conference with the diplomatic and consular corps accredited to St. Kitts and Nevis at the St. Kitts Marriott Resort on April 8, Dr. Isaac said that the UK Home Office is putting the Windrush Generation between a rock and a hard place all over again.
“Last week the Home Office announced the launch of the compensation scheme that was announced last year. The jury is still out and we’re planning to put together a committee to look at the compensation scheme because a brief review shows that the Government essentially puts the onus again on these individuals to prove that they are entitled to compensation,” he said.
“In the past, after you had the establishment of the hostile environment, people were forced to prove that they had the legitimate right to be there, many of them detained, some had lost their benefits, were deported, some lost their livelihoods,” said His Excellency Isaac, while adding that “ some people have genuine cases of loss of earnings; people who were supposed to go to university couldn’t go to university because they were told they had to pay international fees—now that it’s proven they had a right to be there, the Home Office now puts the onus on them to prove how much earnings they would have lost and how could they prove that they would have lost earnings.”
High Commissioner Isaac said that people who had lost their homes had to again prove when they had lost their homes. “So, it’s a ticklish situation,” he said.
However, he said there are a number of Rights Groups in the UK that are looking at the scheme and they themselves have also expressed concern. He also said that there are some Opposition MP’s and some Labour MP’s, who have also expressed concerns.
Caribbean leaders who gathered in the British capital, London, for the 2018 Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) from 16-20th April, were assured by British Prime Minister the Right Honourable Theresa May that people who arrived in the United Kingdom after World War Two from Caribbean countries at the invitation of the British Government would not face deportation.
In a commitment made to the Windrush generation as a first step to establish a compensation scheme for those and their families who have faced difficulty in establishing their status under the Immigration System, and any other interested organizations and individuals, Prime Minister of the United Kingdom (UK), The Right Honourable Theresa May, along with her Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, launched a Call for Evidence, which was issued on 10th May 2018. The call for evidence process ran until 8th June 2018.
“As well as welcoming written comments during that time, we will be reaching out to community groups and those who represent affected people. We want to get the best possible understanding of what has happened. This is the first step in making sure that the Government provides redress for your financial losses, as part of making sure we do whatever it takes to put this right. The Home Office is planning to introduce a compensation scheme for those of the Windrush generation who have faced difficulties in establishing their status under the immigration system,” a communique from the UK Home office stated.
The Windrush generation generally refers to the thousands of people who arrived in the UK lawfully from Commonwealth countries before 1st January 1973. They are known as the Windrush generation after the ship, the MV Empire Windrush, which brought workers from the West Indies to Britain in 1948.