Windrush compensation scheme launched after meeting with Home Secretary
On Wednesday, the UK Home Secretary, Sajid Javid, met with CARICOM High Commissioners to provide an update on Windrush matters, including the compensation scheme that was launched in Parliament by him the following day through a ministerial statement.
High Commissioners heard that following the establishment of the Windrush Scheme in May, supported by a 150-person dedicated Home Office Taskforce, over 2 500 applications by members of the Windrush Generation for UK citizenship and/or permanent residence were fast-tracked and successfully processed.
Home Secretary Javid advised that “the compensation scheme will help rectify the injustices of the past . . . to right the wrongs experienced by the Windrush generation – who have made such a massive contribution to the UK”. Javid said that he is developing a scheme that is “fair, comprehensive and accessible” and emphasised that the British government “must listen to those affected to ensure we get it right”.
Accordingly, a three-month consultation has been created and those who have been affected are being asked to give input on how the scheme should work. People will be able to take part in the consultation online, via post or over the phone. The Home Office will also be hosting events around the UK to give people the opportunity to discuss the scheme with members of the compensation team.
Among those affected by the Windrush scandal are West Indians forced out of work and residencies, and those denied welfare and other government benefits, as well as individuals wrongfully detained and in some cases deported.
The Barbados High Commission at London, as with other Caribbean missions, has already reached out to its diaspora to alert them to the compensation scheme and to solicit their critical feedback. Guy Hewitt said that: “As High Commissioner for Barbados, I am delighted that we have come so far so quickly and I can end my tour of duty [in August 2018] with a sense of achievement. We have been able to make a considerable difference to the lives of elderly, West Indian migrants in Britain.”
At the Home Office meeting, the High Commissioners also held discussions with Martin Force, QC, the independent advisor on the compensation scheme and with Wendy Williams, the newly appointed advisor to review the Windrush debacle and advise the Home Office on lessons learned. (PR)