Baroness Lawrence says 'racism' is to blame for Windrush scandal as new campaign for justice begins

  • ITV London's Carolyn Sim reporting on the latest campaign from Justice4Windrush

The Justice4Windrush latest campaign video is demanding justice for the 15,000 people wrongly classified as illegal immigrants.

The Windrush scandal emerged in 2018 and saw many British citizens, mostly from the Caribbean, denied access to healthcare and benefits and threatened with deportation despite having the right to live in the UK.

Baroness Doreen Lawrence, Jay Blades, Hannah Waddingham and other high profile names have signed an open letter to urge the government to speed up compensation pay outs.

Speaking to ITV London News, Baroness Doreen Lawrence says racism is the reason why the scandal has not been acknowledged, she said: “I mean people don’t want to talk about this, it's racism basically.

"Because the majority of the people caught up in this are people from the Caribbean.

"You know we’re good enough to fight and die for you but we’re not good enough to stay here and get supported by you.

"That’s the sort of thing that really make me want to take part. Because it’s the racism that exists across politics and across journalism even though the information is there its not been highlighted enough."

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She added: "It’s one of these forgotten stories that nobody wants to talk about and I just think the suffering of those people have gone through from whatever generation it was when it started. I want to make sure its highlighted in a way that they actually get justice."

Baroness Lawrence also wants it to be more widely know that Caribbean people were invited to England.

"Nobody thinks about it – they were invited," she continued.

"That’s something that needs to be highlighted all the time. People were invited to come and build the country they did but now they’ve been penalised for it."

Baroness Lawrence added: “It could have happened to me. Part of me thinking how would that look.

"I’m sitting in the House of Lords and I’d be looking to be deported because I came over here as a child.”

Ex-British Army serviceman, Tony Downie came to the UK when he was 16. He undertook three tours of Northern Ireland, but years later he was threatened twice with deportation.

He said: "The trauma, the anxiety, thinking are they going to put me on a plane? Am I going to see my children again if I get deported to Jamaica."

"Or am I going to be told I can remain in England. That was always in the back of my mind.

"I was counting on my service in the British Army. 'He did put his life on the line for the late queen and her country' but they weren't like that."

In total, 40 Windrush victims died before knowing about the compensation scheme.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “The government remains absolutely committed to righting the wrongs of the Windrush scandal and making sure those affected receive the compensation they rightly deserve.

“We have paid more than £75 million in compensation and we continue to make improvements so people receive the maximum award as quickly as possible, whilst providing extensive support to help people access and apply to the compensation scheme.

“The scheme will remain open as long as it is needed, so no one is prevented from making a claim.

"We are continuing to reach out to, and engage with, communities across the UK to encourage more people to come forward, ensuring they have correct information on whether they may be eligible and necessary guidance to support their application.”

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