Hosted by His Excellency Mr Seth George Ramocan at the Jamaica High Commission in London, Senator Johnson Smith gave an encouraging talk on a number of topics pertinent to the diaspora whilst outlining policies, existing and new, that are in place to facilitate returnees, visitors and potential investors alike. In relation to Windrush this is what she had to say
I must emphasise that the Government of Jamaica is very committed to your well-being in the United Kingdom. In this regard, the Wind rush crisis remains a matter of paramount importance. It would be remiss of me not to mention the ongoing impact of the Windrush Immigration Crisis on the Jamaican Community. Many of you will recall that Jamaica‘s position was fully articulated to Prime Minister May by Prime Minister Andrew Holness during his meeting with her in April 2018, when he attended the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting here in London.
The Government of Jamaica has remained consistent in its position that the victims of the Windrush Immigration debacle should be afforded fair, just and adequate compensation for the injustices suffered over the many years. Mindful of the significant contribution of the special category of migrants, including their contribution to the post war reconstruction efforts in Britain, it was imperative that their rights to residency in and citizenship of the country they have called home, be appropriately resolved, including the granting of citizenship and compensatory relief.
We are indeed pleased that the British Government recently announced a compensation scheme and that there will be no cap on amounts which will ultimately be paid out to individuals. My Ministry will examine the provisions and operationalization of the Scheme in greater detail, in consultation with the Attorney General’s Chambers, as we continue to monitor the situation. The Ministry has also placed advertisements in the main print media, while also utilising its social media platforms, to disseminate information on the scheme. Additionally, we have emailed individuals on the Ministry’s database of possible Windrush Immigrants who had initially contacted the Ministry. A few of those persons have contacted the Ministry to seek clarity or confirm how they should proceed.
Another matter of great concern to you is the deportation of Jamaicans especially those who have been resident in the UK for a long period. In February of this year a Charter Flight from the UK arrived in Jamaica with 29 individuals. This resulted in a public outcry and protests outside of the High Commission. We will safeguard the rights of our nationals by ensuring that the necessary procedures have been followed in the removal process established between Jamaica and the UK Government. These include the number of returnees per charter, verification of their Jamaican nationality and arrangements with the Ministry of Health and Wellness with respect to those who will require medical and mental health care.
At the same time, Jamaica will not resale from its responsibility to receive its nationals who are being removed, once it is clear that they have exhausted all legal measures to review their right to remain here in the UK. My fellow Jamaicans let me assure you that the Government of Jamaica is committed to the safe and orderly reintegration and rehabilitation of Jamaican nationals deported from all countries, including the UK, into the Jamaican society as part of its broader national development strategy. We will continue to review measures that will ensure that all our people, including those who have been returned to Jamaica, can lead rewarding lives, while being responsible contributors to their communities and to society as a whole.”