Prime Minister Andrew Holness today (April 17) urged the United Kingdom Government to address the Windrush Generation matter.
The Prime Minister’s response comes on the heels of the matter being discussed in the UK Parliament by the Home Secretary, Amber Rudd.
Despite living and working in the UK for decades, thousands of people who arrived in the country as children in the first wave of Commonwealth migration (called the Windrush Generation) were being threatened with deportation.
Many of those affected are of Jamaican and Caribbean heritage.
Speaking following a meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May in London today, Prime Minister Andrew Holness said the British Government must address the matter.
Mr. Holness said he is particularly encouraged by the Home Secretary’s statement which not only recognized the invaluable contribution of Caribbean nationals to the rebuilding of the United Kingdom after World War II, but also animates a process which will ensure that these persons who arrived pre-1973 will have their cases reviewed with haste and with the required sensitivity.
He stressed the importance of outlining clear procedural steps that will ultimately ensure that the rights of Caribbean migrants are restored.
“We think however that it is extremely important to have procedural steps clearly outlined and widely shared to ensure that people are aware of the requirements; that the evidentiary burden is reduced, the application process dramatically simplified and that pre-1973 Commonwealth Caribbean migrants currently detained as illegal immigrants are released and that those deported are afforded the necessary UK assistance in having their cases urgently reviewed and their rights restored. We would like to encourage the UK government to use records at its disposal such as school, health, and tax records and that there be a presumption of legal residence on the part of the Windrush Generation while their cases are being reviewed and that these individuals continue to benefit from access to medical care, employment, and other services,” said Mr. Holness
Mr. Holness was speaking during a special meeting with UK Prime Minister, Theresa May on matters of economic and global interest. He also took the time to reaffirm Jamaica’s commitment to working with the UK on other global commons.
In the meantime, Prime Minister Holness expressed gratitude to the UK government for its continued support to the Caribbean.
“We thank the UK government for its continued advocacy on behalf of the Caribbean in international fora including within the OECD on issues such as suspension of the DAC rules in times of catastrophic climactic events as we saw last year in the Caribbean. The Caribbean and the UK share an enduring relationship of commitment and mutual support on several issues and today allows us to make sure that partnership remains central to that relationship as we move forward,” stated Prime Minister Holness.