Windrush scandal victim demands urgent compensation for wrongfully detained

Sajid Javid has apologised to 18 people who were incorrectly held or removed (PA) Credit: PA Wire/PA Images

A Windrush man twice wrongfully detained and threatened with deportation from Britain has called for compensation to be paid urgently after Home Secretary Sajid Javid apologised to 18 people who were incorrectly held or removed.

Mr Javid said officials have established that 11 people from the Windrush generation left voluntarily after being unable to prove their right to be in the UK, while a further seven were wrongfully arrested.

The Home Secretary, who replaced Amber Rudd when she stepped down over the scandal that saw heavy criticism of the “hostile environment” for migrants, said he would be writing to apologise to the 18 who are the most likely to have suffered “detriment”.

Anthony Bryan, of Edmonton, north London, was one of those wrongly arrested, having been detained twice in recent years and told to return to Jamaica, which he left in 1965 aged eight.

“The apology is all well and good but for me personally I’m still going through the Windrush scandal,” the 61-year-old said.

Mr Javid said he will use the letters to direct the 18 towards the compensation scheme.

But Mr Bryan said he needed urgent action after accruing significant debts while being unable to work as a painter and decorator for nearly three years because of the scandal.

“The three years I didn’t work, it’s been backing up on me. People are asking for their money that I borrowed off them and unfortunately I can’t be dealing with that yet,” he said.

“Something should have been done a long time ago. It’s supposed to be up and running. And not just for me alone, I’m sure it’s not just me going through that. I’m not just fighting for myself, I’m fighting for the 18.”

Mr Bryan said he returned to work last week having got his biometric residence permit after the scandal was made public.

Officials examined nearly 12,000 historical records to establish that 18 people who came to the country from the Caribbean before 1973 and stayed permanently either left the country voluntarily after being unable to establish continuous residence or were wrongly detained.

Mr Javid also said 74 people have been identified who arrived before the crucial date but appear to have spent more than two years overseas, losing their right to remain in the UK.

He apologised to those identified by the review, adding: “The experiences faced by some members of the Windrush generation are completely unacceptable and I am committed to righting the wrongs of the past.”