Speech by the Prime Minister


Prime Minister, my colleague Heads and I welcome this opportunity to meet with you as we continue to strengthen the UK Caribbean partnership.  Our shared history and commitment to promoting democracy, people empowerment, economic development and working together on global challenges are well established. Your invitation today reinforces those shared values enshrined in the Commonwealth Charter.

We want to thank you and your government for the determination to work with the Caribbean to address the unfortunate situation in which the Windrush Generation finds itself. We were particularly encouraged by your Home Secretary’s statement in Parliament yesterday, 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.

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

We are committed, Prime Minister May, to working with you on this and other global commons. We assure you of our support in making sure that the UK and the Commonwealth Secretariat deliver a uniquely successful CHOGM. 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. We recognize the UK’s leadership on climate change and welcome your continued support on issues such as de-risking, black-listing and the extension of the EPA post-Brexit. 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.

Thank you, Prime Minister.