LONDON, England, Friday August 31, 2018 – Jamaica’s Foreign Minister Kamina Johnson-Smith says at least three people from the Windrush generation who were wrongfully deported from the United Kingdom have died before getting the chance to return to Britain, according to The Guardian newspaper.
The Windrush generation refers to Caribbean migrants who arrived in the United Kingdom between 1948 and 1971. The UK Home Office believes at least 164 Windrush citizens caught up in the scandal have either been incorrectly deported or detained by British authorities despite having the right to live in the UK.
And the Guardian reported that in the past week, the Home Office has presented Jamaica’s foreign ministry with a list of 13 people detained and removed in error from the UK. British officials have asked for help in contacting the relatives of the three people believed to have died.
Johnson-Smith said authorities were finding it hard to trace relatives, and described the situation as “heartrending”.
“We have just received the information that they are dead. We have to find the families,” she told The Guardian.
British officials have informed their Jamaican counterparts that they have already made contact with eight of the surviving 10 people, and also asked for assistance in finding two other people who are believed to still be alive and living somewhere in Jamaica.
But the process of tracking people down has not been easy. Johnson-Smith said it involved members of her staff driving to areas of the island in search of people believed to have been wrongly deported.
“There are no mobile numbers on the national registry. You might end up in a community, asking if people know the people who live beside them. It can be quite painstaking,” she told The Guardian. “Our team is on it every day.”
Home Secretary Sajid Javid last week vowed to issue apologies to the families of 18 people the Home Office deemed “most likely to have suffered detriment” as a result of the scandal.
The Home Office said once identified, the families of the three individuals wrongly deported to Jamaica who had since died would be issued with “personal apologies”.
It added officials were continuing to work with Caribbean governments and high commissioners to track down the 15 people considered to be urgent cases.