Windrush Day 2019 message from H. E. Seth George Ramocan, CD High Commissioner for Jamaica

The commemoration of this important Windrush anniversary provides us with an opportunity to celebrate the close to five hundred Caribbean migrants who arrived, settled and provided well needed assistance in the rebuilding of a post-war Great Britain

At the same time, the anniversary is a time of mixed emotions and reflections. On the one hand, we are able to highlight the positive strides of the Windrush generation and on the other, we are forced to recall the many injustices, pain and humiliation suffered by some members of the Windrush generation.

 

Over the past year, there have been a number of notable developments which I believe is useful to highlight, including the decision by the British Government to officially declare 22nd June as Windrush Day. This is certainly important and will give due respect to the Windrush generation. I thank all who have campaigned over the years for this important recognition. I look forward to the implementation of the Government’s plans to erect a Windrush Memorial as a fitting and lasting tribute, to the contribution of the Windrush generation.

Also of relevance were the Government’s efforts to address the Windrush crisis through the establishment of the Commonwealth Taskforce in April 2018, as well as the Windrush Compensation Scheme. The Scheme which was launched after a protracted delay, though not perfect, is also welcomed as a critical step towards compensatory relief and restitution.

The Government of Jamaica and of the Caribbean will continue in its diplomatic interactions to ensure that the concerns which have been highlighted are addressed and that the requisite legal aid will eventually be made available to support those that need it.

The Government of Jamaica and of the Caribbean will continue in its diplomatic interactions to ensure that the concerns which have been highlighted are addressed and that the requisite legal aid will eventually be made available to support those that need it.

I am pleased to inform that the High Commission in collaboration with the Nurses Association of Jamaica (NAJ) UK, is currently preparing a publication entitled, “Jamaicans in Britain: A Legacy of Leadership”, to highlight the contribution of the Jamaican Diaspora to the development of British society. The publication which has benefitted from a Windrush grant through the Ministry of Housing, Community and Local Government, will be available later this year and will be distributed in schools, libraries and educational institutions across the UK.

Undoubtedly, there is much to celebrate as we reflect upon the Windrush generation, many of whom have excelled in various fields including nursing, education, and the arts. Through hard work, faith and tenacity they have enriched the British society in so many ways. I note, in particular, the many Caribbean Nurses that have helped to build the National Health Service (NHS) including stalwarts such as Jamaican Dame Karlene Davis, DBE, who was among seventy persons honoured last year by the NHS. Also of note is Professor Jacqueline Dunkley-Bent, the first Midwifery Officer for England and a descendant of the Windrush generation.

I also recognise the invaluable work of persons such as Professor Sir Geoff Palmer, noted Scientist and human rights activist, who was recently appointed Jamaica’s first Honorary Consul in Scotland, among others.

As we pay homage to the members of the Windrush Generation, let us help to preserve their legacy for the benefit of future generations.

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