Prime Minister of Trinidad and Tobago Keith Rowley has described Britain’s treatment of the Windrush generation as “callous and offensive” as anger grows over the destruction of immigration documents belonging to Caribbean-born residents who arrived during the 1950s and ’60s.
Jamaican Prime Minister Andrew Holness called for compensation to be paid to Windrush residents who have been unlawfully detained or deported, according to The Guardian.
“My interest is to ensure that the Windrush generation and the children of the Windrush generation get justice. We have to call it out for what it is, but we also have to ensure that those who have been deported get access to a process that gets them back,” Holness said.
Antigua and Barbuda Prime Minister Gaston Browne said the troubles faced by Windrush residents reflect “deeper cultural problems” in Britain, according to The Times.
He said Home Office officials who destroyed the immigration records, despite being warned the move would make it hard to verify the records of Caribbean-born residents now struggling to prove their residential status, could benefit from “a period of introspection.”
He concluded that this “very regrettable situation” had not tarnished his fundamental faith in Britain.
St. Lucia’s Prime Minister Allen Chastanet said: “(British) Prime Minister (Theresa) May was extremely apologetic on her government’s behalf that this had happened.
“The prime minister says she was appalled, given the contribution that the West Indians had made and even more appalled that they came to England by invitation.”
The landing slip cards and immigration records were destroyed in 2010, however, when May was serving as home secretary. The former head of the Civil Service, Sir Bob Kerslake, said some ministers had described May’s tenure at the department as “almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany.”
Last month, Dexter Bristol – a 57-year-old man born a British subject in Grenada, who moved to Britain in 1968 when he was just eight –suddenly died after being classified as an illegal immigrant and having been fired from his cleaning job last year.
His mother, Sentina Bristol, believes the stress caused by not being able to find employment due to immigration problems, as well as being denied benefits, was directly responsible for his death, The Guardian reports.
“I think Theresa May should resign,” Sentina said. “This situation has to be amended. My son is British. We didn’t come here illegally.”
Satbir Singh, CEO of the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants, said the events “are the inevitable consequence of the thuggish, fundamentalist approach to immigrants that Theresa May baked into every layer of the Home Office bureaucracy during her six years running it.”
Scores of people convened in Windrush Square in Brixton on Friday to show solidarity with the Windrush generation and their children, some of whom have also experienced difficulties proving their residential status.
The rally, organized by Stand Up To Racism, called for ‘an amnesty for the Windrush Generation who were invited to the United Kingdom as British citizens.’