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Windrush generation woes

Published: 
Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Imagine being declared an illegal immigrant in a country you have called home for more than half a century. That is the predicament of thousands of Caribbean nationals known as the Windrush generation—a reference to the MV Empire Windrush, the ship which took them from the West Indies to Britain in 1948—the first wave of Commonwealth immigrants from Jamaica, T&T and other parts of the Caribbean in response to labour shortages in the UK.

While adult Windrush immigrants were marked with permanent right to reside stamps when they arrived, children were often included on their parents’ passports. Those thousands of undocumented Caribbean immigrants are now unable to prove they have the right to work in the UK.

Recent changes to UK immigration law requires people to have documentation to work, rent property or access benefits. This has resulted in some being threatened with deportation, while others have been denied access to health care, lost jobs or have been made homeless.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who was in charge of the Home Office when the change was made a few years ago, initially turned down a request to discuss it at this week’s Commonwealth Heads of Government meeting but has now agreed to meet representatives from 12 Caribbean countries.

In addition, the Home Office has appointed a special team to deal with the issue which officials promise will be resolved in two weeks—not fast enough for the thousands who endured months of dislocation and distress.

Aiming for education excellence

A new term has started with the usual predictable focus on the physical state of schools and preparations for exams. While these are very important issues, other critical topics are not even on the radar.

Genuine investment in education requires changing systems and programmes to produce students able to intelligently manage and evaluate information and data. For T&T’s future prosperity, curriculum upgrades are needed to develop citizens with skills such as critical thinking, creativity, problem solving and collaboration to measure up to the best in the world.

The days of chalk and talk are over.

The return of the Spirit

While the return of the T&T Spirit restores some semblance of functionality to the sea bridge the recovering from current losses requires that the authorities work to ensure there is a full fleet of passenger and cargo ferries in time for the July/August holiday demand.

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