(TRINIDAD NEWSDAY) – TRINIDAD and Tobago is amongst 12 Caribbean countries raising concern about threats to long term British residents, who went to the United Kingdom as children nearly 50 years ago.
An article in The UK Guardian said the British government rejected a formal diplomatic request to discuss the immigration problems being experienced by some Windrush-generation British residents at the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) which opens in London today.
The article said 10 Downing Street turned down a request from representatives of 12 Caribbean countries for a meeting with Prime Minister Theresa May at the CHOGM on this issue. A post on the TT High Commission’s page on April 13 said, “High Commissioner Orville London together with other Caribbean High Commissioners complain over threats to long-term UK residents.” In the article, Barbados High Commissioner Guy Hewitt said, “We did make a request to the CHOGM summit team for a meeting to be held between the prime minister and the Commonwealth Caribbean heads of government who will be here for the CHOGM.” He added, “Regrettably, that is not possible.”
The article claimed some of these people have been threatened with deportation to their former Caribbean countries, others have been denied access to healthcare, lost jobs or been made homeless because they do not have sufficient paperwork to prove they have the right to be in the UK. British government officials said the issue is not on the CHOGM agenda but there would be “a number of opportunities” for the heads of Caribbean delegations to meet with May and discuss this “important issue.” Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley will meet with TT nationals resident in the UK at the Amba Hotel Marble Arch in London on April 23 at 2 pm.
A petition, independent of the action taken by the 12 Caribbean high commissioners to the UK, has been set up, calling on the British government to grant an immigration amnesty to those who arrived in Britain as minors between 1948 and 1971. The petition has so far been supported by more than 50,000 signatories. Should 100,000 people sign the petition, the Petitions Committee will consider it for debate in British Parliament.