British Virgin Islands

Sunday, Dec 05, 2021

Windrush survivors cry out for long-overdue compensation from UK

Windrush survivors cry out for long-overdue compensation from UK

Survivors of the UK’s Windrush scandal, which saw thousands of UK residents-most of whom were originally from the Caribbean-wrongly classed as illegal immigrants say they will continue to fight for compensation from the UK.

As a result of the scandal, thousands of afro-Caribbean people and others were wrongly being denied healthcare, housing or the right to work, including being held detained or deported by immigration officials.

Persons were denied access to social services


Some persons were granted indefinite leave to remain in 1971, but thousands were children who had traveled on their parents' passports.

Due to this, many of the children were unable to prove they had the right to live in the UK when "hostile environment" immigration policies - demanding documentation be shown - began in 2012.

In a BBC report, one survivor of the Windrush scandal has said he and others will continue to fight for compensation, as MPs call for the Home Office to be stripped of running the payment scheme.

Mr Samuels was eight when he moved from Jamaica to the UK in 1964, after his parents came to "rebuild Britain", he said. He told BBC Breakfast he had been shocked to receive letters telling him he could no longer work and he had to leave.

"After 55 years in the UK, working and doing positive good, then the Home Office letter [arrived] telling me I'm an illegal immigrant and giving me six weeks to leave the country", he said.

Johnny Samuels suggested the Home Office could be waiting for survivors to die before they were compensated as most of whom applied had yet to get a penny, after some four years since the scandal emerged, a Home Affairs Committee report said.


Ordered to leave the UK


The "embarrassment" of being ordered to leave the country while he was at work is a "stigma [that] doesn't go away" he said, adding that colleagues believed he was an illegal immigrant.

Johnny Samuels suggested the Home Office could be waiting for survivors to die before they were compensated as most of whom applied had yet to get a penny, after some four years since the scandal emerged, a Home Affairs Committee report said.

Mr Samuels said he was "still in limbo" when it came to receiving compensation, adding: "It really makes you wonder, is this carrot real, is it going to happen before we're put into the grave, and I think that sometimes that is what the Home Office is waiting for."

"Justice delayed is not going to be justice denied" Samuels further said, adding that Windrush survivor would "keeping fighting until our last breath", even if this meant marching in the streets.

On Monday, September 7, 2020, during an interview with 284 Media, then Governor of the Virgin Islands, Augustus J. U. Jaspert said paying reparations to the Virgin Islands for acts of slavery and the slave trade is not the position of the UK at the moment while calling for relics of slavery to be preserved in the Territory.


No reparations for VI - Ex-Governor Jaspert


The struggles of the Windrush survivors comes as the UK has also denied paying perorations to the descendants of slaves in places like the Virgin Islands.

On Monday, September 7, 2020, during an interview with 284 Media, then Governor of the Virgin Islands, Augustus J. U. Jaspert said paying reparations to the Virgin Islands for acts of slavery and the slave trade is not the position of the UK at the moment while calling for relics of slavery to be preserved in the Territory.

His statements, deemed insensitive and even racist by some, infuriated many in the Virgin Islands. Some commentators condemned the remarks and even called for an apology.

While the UK has not paid reparation to the descendants and victims of slaves, up until 2015 the UK paid reparations to the owners of slaves after the abolition of slavery.

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