Jamaica committed to ensuring rights of Windrush Generation are protected

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Minister of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith

By Chanel Spence

KINGSTON, Jamaica, (JIS) – Minister of foreign affairs and foreign trade, Senator Kamina Johnson Smith, says the government remains committed to ensuring that the rights of members of the Windrush generation and their descendants are protected.

“We are aware that there are still many issues to be resolved. Be assured that the government of Jamaica remains focused and unrelenting in its efforts and will utilise all appropriate channels to ensure that the fundamental freedoms, rights, safety as well as mental and physical well-being of all members of the Windrush generation and their descendants, are promoted and protected,” she noted.

The minister gave the assurance in a statement on Tuesday, June 22 to mark the third anniversary of Windrush Day as well as the 73 anniversary of the docking of the MV Empire Windrush at Tilbury docks in the United Kingdom, bringing Caribbean citizens, known as the ‘Windrush generation’, to fill post-war UK labour shortages between the years 1948 and 1971.

Senator Johnson Smith said that the government of Jamaica, through its High Commission and the Caucus of Jamaican High Commissioners in London and other stakeholders, remains active in dialogue on Windrush matters.

“We are happy that recent changes have been made by the Home Office in relation to the Windrush Compensation Scheme,” she noted.

The scheme was launched in 2019 to provide payments to eligible individuals who did not have the right documentation to prove their status in the UK and suffered adverse effects on their lives as a result.

Senator Johnson Smith noted that the Windrush Cross government Group that is co-chaired by Jamaican Bishop Derek Webley will work with the Home Secretary and community organisations to support the delivery of practical solutions that will improve the uptake of the Windrush scheme.

She informed that Jamaican Professor, Martin Levermore, has been recruited to “provide crucial independent oversight and reassurance on the operation, policy and effectiveness of the compensation scheme”.

Senator Johnson Smith said that the observation of Windrush Day provides an opportunity to “recognise, highlight and celebrate the rich legacy and remarkable achievements of our pioneering Jamaicans and their invaluable contribution to the development of a progressive and multicultural Britain”.

She noted that this group of Jamaicans made an indelible mark in various fields, including education, science and research, business, sports and the arts, as well as in community development.

Windrush Day, she said, further, also serves as a time to reflect on the injustices suffered by the Windrush generation and their descendants.

“It is pleasing to note the various events being undertaken today at all levels, both in-person and virtually across the UK to acknowledge and celebrate the Windrush generation,” she said.

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