UK gov’t to announce compensation for Windrush victims by end of week

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British High Commissioner to Antigua and Barbuda Janice Douglas has announced that the British Government will announce, by the end of this week, a compensation package for victims of the Windrush scandal.

Douglas made the remarks during a courtesy call on Prime Minister Gaston Browne and Foreign Affairs Minister E. P. “Chet” Greene on Monday.

The scandal arose after deportation threats were issued in April 2018 to children of Caribbean citizens who have been working and living in the United Kingdom since 1948 (also known as the Windrush generation), over a lack of official paperwork.

In July 2018 the office of Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner to Britain met with the Windrush Task Force and persons affected by the Windrush fallout.

According to British media, Home Secretary Sajid Javid will announce details of the package – estimated to cost between £150 million to £310 million.

Home Office officials say 15 thousand people may have a right to compensation for being wrongly deported, forced out of their jobs, or losing access to benefits.

British Prime Minister Theresa May – who was also Home Secretary from 2010 to 2016 – apologised to Caribbean leaders over the controversy during a Downing Street meeting last year.

However, Prime Minister May stood by the hardline immigration policy which led to the controversy, despite many persons being caught out by her crackdown on illegal immigration and have not regularised their status in Britain.

In the interim, Douglas also announced that her team was one step closer to finalizing the location of the new Office for the British High Commissioner in Antigua and Barbuda.

 “A location has been identified that will serve jointly as an official residence and for the offices for the resident British High Commissioner,” she said.

As part of Britain’s New Caribbean Strategy, the office is meant to strengthen the UK’s cooperation with the Caribbean region. The opening ceremony for the new High Commission facility is expected to be held in the coming months.

The discussions also included Antigua and Barbuda’s initiative to combat plastic pollution and climate change.

Prime Minister Browne took the opportunity to thank the High Commissioner for her country’s financing of the reconstruction of the Sir George Walter Highway and Friars Hill Road.

Browne restated his belief that, despite progress being slow, the project will be completed on time.

Antigua and Barbuda’s High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Karen Mae-Hill; Senior Advisor in the Prime Minister’s Office, Ambassador Colin Murdoch; and Permanent Secretary in the Foreign Affairs Ministry, Ambassador Anthony Liverpool, also attended the meeting.

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