Personal Immigration

Windrush: Three people have died before repatriation

The Windrush scandal continues as it was recently announced by the Jamaican foreign minister that at least three people wrongly deported to the Caribbean have died before being given the chance to return to the UK.

The situation, described as “unfortunate” by the foreign minister Kamina Johnson-Smith, was discovered after the British Home Office asked the Jamaican foreign ministry for help with finding 13 people wrongly deported. Though they have been able to make contact with eight of the surviving ten people so far, it became clear that for three people efforts to contact them were simply not fast enough. The search now continues for their relatives, and the two other people believed to still be alive so they might be repatriated.

One reason it has proved so difficult to track down these members of the Windrush generation is that there is no national registry in Jamaica, and many people do not have mobile phones. Finding the right person usually requires painstaking work, going into communities and asking people if they know them, or where they live. It is believed at least 164 Windrush people may have been incorrectly deported.

Though the British High Commission has given out over 5,000 cards explaining how people can get in touch about the compensation scheme, Kamina Johnson-Smith described a “mixture of hurt and anger” felt by Jamaican residents about the scandal. “People’s lives have been impacted in a serious way. Families have been impacted and that is a terrible thing,” she said. “It is an emotional issue. The stories are heartrending – there is no other word to use. Once you focus on people, it is hard to step away from the emotions … I think all of the cases are upsetting in a different way.”

The home secretary, Sajid Javid, promised last week to issue personal apologies to the families of 18 people “most likely to have suffered detriment”, and added that Home Office officials are continuing to work closely with Caribbean governments to track down urgent cases.

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