Jamaica welcomes compensation package for Windrush generation

KINGSTON, Jamaica, CMC – The Jamaica government has welcomed the decision by the United Kingdom to establish a Windrush Compensation Scheme and is encouraging individuals who have been affected to submit their claims.

The scheme applies to members of the ‘Windrush Generation’ – immigrants who arrived in the United Kingdom (UK) between 1948 and 1973 from Jamaica and other Caribbean countries to address labor shortages, and helped to rebuild Britain after World War II.

British govt to pay up to 200 million pounds sterling

The British government earlier this month agreed to pay up to £200 million (One British pound=US$1.30 cents) in compensation to people whose lives were damaged by the Home Office’s mistaken classification of them as illegal immigrants.

Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, said there would be no cap on the fund, making it impossible to estimate how much money would eventually be paid to victims.

Payments will not be restricted to people from the Caribbean but made to anyone who has been in the United Kingdom since 1988 who has been wrongly classified as being in Britain illegally and as a result lost the right to work, access to healthcare and the ability to rent property.

Ja govt actively participated

Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade Minister, Kamina Johnson Smith, said the Jamaican government actively participated in the consultations undertaken by the Windrush Task Force established by London last year, and had shared its views on how the scheme could be established and the areas for compensation.

She said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade will examine the provisions and operationalisation of the scheme in greater detail, in consultation with the Attorney General’s Chambers.

“In the interim, we will ensure that those Jamaicans who sought assistance from us when the crisis came to attention last year are made aware of how they may pursue their claims. We will also be placing an ad in the papers and on our website, as we did last year when seeking to help persons understand if they might be eligible for re-entry,” she said.

Johnson Smith said the government also welcomes the fact that in addition to the relevant monetary payout to eligible claimants, “the victims of this terrible tragedy will finally receive an accompanying apology from the Government of the UK.

“I think it is important to recognize that some damage caused can never be compensated for in monetary terms. Any compensatory scheme must, therefore, inherently fall short. While the damage will never be fully repaired, we very much hope that the present efforts at redress, including the apologies, will allow the many families affected some recompense and a greater hope for a better future in their adopted home in the UK,” she said.

The compensation scheme will be open for two years and the government said persons here can email WindrushCompensationScheme@homeoffice.gov.uk and request a call-back.

With the help of the Jamaica government, the UK has been able to track down a number of people, and more than 3,600 have been granted British citizenship.

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