Search

Jamaican PM Andrew Holness tells Kilburn church: Windrush deportation threats and service cuts will be corrected

PUBLISHED: 17:16 23 April 2018 | UPDATED: 17:16 23 April 2018

The audience at Kilburn's Ruach City Church for Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness. Picture: Francesca Fazey

The audience at Kilburn's Ruach City Church for Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness. Picture: Francesca Fazey

Archant

The prime minister of Jamaica told hundreds at a packed-out Kilburn church on Friday he had been personally assured of the future of Windrush immigrants in the UK by Theresa May.

Theresa May meets Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness last week - a meeting Mr Holness described at Kilburn's Ruach City Church on Friday. Picture: Peter Summers/PA WireTheresa May meets Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness last week - a meeting Mr Holness described at Kilburn's Ruach City Church on Friday. Picture: Peter Summers/PA Wire

Andrew Holness moved to reassure the Jamaican diaspora community that the British prime minister had given him “her word” that deportation threats and service cuts to people originally from the Caribbean would be corrected.

“What has happened to the Windrush generation and their children is unfair and inconsistent with the values espoused by the United Kingdom,” he told the Ruach City Church in Kilburn High Road. It came three days after his meeting at Downing Street with Mrs May during the Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting 2018.

Thousands came from across the UK to attend the meeting, joined by famous faces like Jamaican comedy legend Oliver Samuels and Brent Central MP Dawn Butler.

Many queued for up to two hours to get in to the event, but no one was turned away.

As Fiona Tape, 31, who had travelled from Hounslow told the Brent & Kilburn Times: “It’s not often your prime minister lets you engage in a two-way conversation about what his government is doing.”

Mr Holness said those who came to Britain as part of the Windrush generation “gave their effort earnestly and sincerely and would rightly have expected the privileges of citizenship”.

The audience at Kilburn's Ruach City Church for Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness. Picture: Francesca FazeyThe audience at Kilburn's Ruach City Church for Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness. Picture: Francesca Fazey

He reassured the audience he would request regular written updates from Mrs May about what is being done to correct the situation.

While some listening told this newspaper they were satisfied by his response, others expressed anger that Mr Holness’s reassurance did not go far enough.

Dr Velma McClymont, the former director of the Caribbean and African Learning and Heritage Centre in London, and a writer on Caribbean history, said Mr Holness should have got something in writing from the British PM.

“The prime minister has come to this country to tell us that all we have is Theresa May’s word?” she said.

“What good is the word of the same person who initiated this racist policy?

“I wanted my prime minister to stand at Downing Street, face the camera with a signed document and say to the Jamaican people: ‘I have secured your rights in this country and they will be enshrined in law.’

The audience at Kilburn's Ruach City Church for Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness. Picture: Francesca FazeyThe audience at Kilburn's Ruach City Church for Jamaican prime minister Andrew Holness. Picture: Francesca Fazey

“That’s what I wanted here today.”

According to Dr McClymont, the visit was little more than a charm offensive by Mr Holness looking for trade in the wake of Brexit.

“The Caribbean countries were pushed aside when trade with the European Union was enough,” she said.

“Now Britain needs new markets and Jamaica needs investment.

“The first thing he should have done was tell this government that he would not talk about trade, investment or any other issue until the Windrush situation was sorted out.

“This hostile environment policy instigated by Theresa May has contributed to the ongoing pernicious racism that exists in this country.

Dr Velma McClymont. Picture: Dr Velma McClymontDr Velma McClymont. Picture: Dr Velma McClymont

“The black community is continually forced to put up with alienation and displacement.

“We came here to better our lives. We were invited!

“We have a right to be here. I have had it up to here with this racist treatment.”

Others in the audience shared Dr McClymont’s concerns.

“It’s not a Windrush thing. It’s a black thing,” said another audience member, who asked not to be named.

“Why don’t we see this happening to Australian or New Zealand immigrants?”

While the Windrush situation was foremost in the minds of many there, others were interested to question Mr Holness on their concerns about Jamaican domestic issues.

Topics included crime, violence and the lack of economic opportunity.

Mr Holness acknowledged rising crime was holding people back from returning – but assured Jamaicans that his government was taking steps to bring the problem to heel.

“You always have a home in Jamaica,” he told the audience.

The Jamaican High Commission estimates that up to 800,000 Jamaicans are living in the UK.

Latest Kilburn & Brent News Stories

A few days ago Jeremy Hunt MP, as the health secretary, acknowledged the NHS needed to do more to help problem gamblers as he unveiled a plaque to mark 10 years of Central and North West London Foundation Trust’s national problem gambling clinic – still the only NHS clinic designed to treat gambling disorders.

Fri, 17:54

Alperton will be unrecognisable in 20 years’ time after planning chiefs gave the green light to almost 3,000 new homes and a host of community facilities.

Fri, 17:52

Music legend Nile Rodgers is opening the free international busking festival taking place in Wembley Park.

Fri, 15:53

Cash-strapped Brent Council’s unusual plan to save money by not cutting the grass in green spaces is ruining them for everyone except the bees, parents say.

Fri, 12:44

Inventing a revolutionary way to tackle water wastage has won home-schooled boys from Willesden Green a top award and “commercial interest” from businesses.

Thu, 16:54

Junior school pupils in Dollis Hill are celebrating their eco credentials after successfully hanging on to their environment award.

Thu, 16:38

A driver who got fined for turning right where a “no right turn” light was switched off has been told by the council it was, in fact, illuminated – because it wasn’t night.

Thu, 14:44

A Willesden DJ who first hit on the idea of a delivery business over a pint is celebrating a quarter of a century as a trucking tycoon.

PROMOTED CONTENT

The Granville has begun taking bookings for workspaces and events ahead of its opening this spring.

Brent Clinical Commissioning Group has announced changes to the community’s cardiology service.

If you have been looking for laser hair removal, beauty salon treatments, or skin care services you may be confused and overwhelmed with so much information out there and so many clinics and salons promising miraculous results.

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now

Newsletter Sign Up

Kilburn Times twice-weekly newsletter
Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Most Read Kilburn News

Show Job Lists

Digital Edition

cover

Enjoy the
Brent & Kilburn Times
e-edition today

Subscribe

Education and Training

cover

Read the
Education and Training
e-edition today

Read Now