It has been a long, hard and personal journey as a child of the Windrush Generation fighting for justice along with many others from survivors, politicians, diplomats, lawyers, activists, migrant and race equality charities We must remember: over 180,000 people signed my petition in March 2018 with the demand for an amnesty for anyone who was a minor that came to Britain between 1948 and 1973; the media stories of the victims sharing experiences of the hostile environment; and the lobbying of Caribbean diplomats and race equality and migrant charities. These all contributed to a perfect storm to force the government not only to apologise but to be publicly humiliated at an international level by causing one of the biggest human right abuses of British citizens since WW2.
The government was first in denial that it was an issue, then blamed the Windrush Generation for not sorting out their paperwork. They refused to see Caribbean government leaders and then they were forced to admit that the Immigration Act 2014 and the policy of the hostile environment had caused the scandal. Amber Rudd had no choice but to resign as she lied to Parliament, the public and especially the Windrush Generation. The government responded by introducing the Windrush Taskforce to fast track applications for citizenship; suspended deportation flights; established a Lessons Learnt review and have now launched a compensation scheme.
Please listen to a recent podcast which Amelia Gentleman, Journalist and Jacqui McKenzie and immigrant lawyer and myself reflect on two years since the scandal.
This is my assessment below over the last two years as we approach 2nd anniversary of the Windrush Scandal:
- 5 Deaths in the UK but many unaccounted for in Africa and The Caribbean
- Windrush Generation and descendants suffering from poverty, social isolation PTSD and health problems
- Just under 10k people have had their status regularised though Windrush
- Taskforce but many tens of thousands have been denied status or have not come forward
- 63k awarded to 36 cases under Windrush Compensation Scheme but tens of thousands still denied compensation and hardship support
- 2 Prime Ministers and 3 Home Secretaries
- Numerous apologies from government but no real intent for restorative justice
- 2 Deportations Flights without valuing family life
- Grand children and great children stuck in detention centres
- 30 Recommendations from Lessons Learned Review but the Home Office is still ‘Institutionally racist’
- Hostile Environment still exist but alias called the Compliant Environment
- We have a national Windrush Day but scant funding to community and grass roots organisations
- COVID-19 is now having a major impact on the Windrush Generation and migrant communities who the front and key workers in the NHS, social care, transport, public services and retail.
We still need to hold the government to account please share the petition to your networks so we can reach our goal of 100k so we can present this to Boris Johnson and Priti Patel
Thank you for your support
Patrick Vernon OBE