The Windrush Scandal – Not forgotten

Some time has passed since the shocking Windrush deportation revelations came to light and, the attack on Black British people who have settled in the UK some for over 50 years. The tragic debacle gained main media attention when Amelia Gentleman, a journalist for the Guardian newspaper brought the harrowing stories to the world, even though we had been hearing whispers via social media about individuals being deported to Jamaica for spurious reasons for well over a year prior.

The Windrush Scandal – Not forgotten

So many big questions…

The British Nationality Act 1948 led to Britain reaching out to the West Indies (former colonies) to ask for help in re- building Britain after the war. The immigration Act of 1971 was designed to secure the rights of those Children from within the Commonwealth. However further recent amendments to the immigration laws meant that individuals had to prove in depth details of residency since 1973.

Despite government guidelines stating that anyone who settled in the UK by 1 January 1973 has the right to remain in the country stories started to unfold of individuals being detained at detention centres for days and weeks at a time, Paulette Wilson, now sadly passed away and Anthony Bryan to name just a few were two stories in particular that were told. There were numerous other stories that we heard about during a tumultuous and belligerent period for children and families of those from the Caribbean

Many others have suffered trauma and tragically lost lives whilst waiting for their cases to be investigated and overturned.

Clearly we are grateful to Amelia to have been on this story for some time and for her keenness to report on the plight of the Windrush story. But, if we just pause for a moment to think what would have happened if Black voices had continued to complain about this – probably nothing! This indicates the lack of power and authority of voices from the Black community – Why?


‘The hostile environment’..

The hostile environment that ensured employers, hospitals, and benefits in fact everything would shut down in front of your very eyes until you provide this extensive paperwork to prove that you were in Britain throughout this particular period in focus and therefore have a right to reside.

The Windrush Scandal – Not forgotten

‘why would you create targets to hunt down law abiding citizens?’….

How then did we arrive 70 years on at the conclusion with the Home Office deciding that they would seek to deport people from the Caribbean islands, some that have been here all their lives or if not were brought by parents on British passports. Why would you create targets to hunt down law abiding citizens, hold them in detention centres, strip them of their rights to benefits, take away their ability to earn or receive any healthcare whatsoever, bearing in mind many of these individuals are at the stage of life when they may start needing slightly more assistance especially in regards to health.

How then did the Home office reach a decision that they were no longer going to consider people to be British, especially after arriving in the UK as British citizens?

Black Britain has every right to feel confused about identity and belonging because the very same people who should have understood the story and the history of those from the Windrush era had knowingly totally disregarded the value of a people. I find it hard to believe that the Home Office as large as it is had meetings at senior levels, people with knowledge of law and clear understanding of fairness and Britishness came to a conclusion whilst they scooped up tax payers money, drank tea, coffee and probably ate biscuits and sandwiches, reached a conclusion based on wickedness.

‘support to fight for justice and fairness’…

The Windrush people caught up in this scandal were people that were being thrown to the wolves at the behest of people chasing false immigration targets. Clearly Black people of Caribbean descent must have been viewed as the softest of targets, people that possibly would be on lower levels on income and would find it difficult to muster up finance and support to fight for justice and fairness.

I don’t think the work is close to being completed yet, regardless of Amber Rudd stepping down at the time, or Theresa May attempting to state that this will be fixed, families are still suffering, the compensation system is messy and drawn out, Who was making the decisions? And who is going to make a difference?

Well, Sajid Javid and Priti Patel have since come and gone, and now new to the role is Suella Braverman.

More is therefore needed from children of the Windrush to stand up and not only commentate but constructively prepare factual research that can serve to better argue and inform everyone of a lived reality. Coupled with this, we as children of the Windrush pioneers, need to recount stories of old to the younger ones so they can value and understand their culture and history better, and the schools need to embed the Windrush story firmly into the History curriculum.

1 Comment

  1. Lin Castello

    I feel that our experience of this terrible injustice must be shared and embedded into the school national curriculum all across the age ranges. As this is the only way, I feel, that we will ensure that the correct historical content, facts and stories are shared and engrained in future generations. The true value of our Black British experience and history will be eradicated and cancelled if we are not shouting and keeping our parents contributions alive and current. This as I stated must be engrained into our education system.
    The Conservative Party are not the party to take this on.


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