Glen Bart, MyVueNews.com
Basseterre, St. Kitts, 18th April, 2018 (MyVueNews.com) – Coming out of the recent meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May, CARICOM leaders spoke on the success of the meeting that concerned deportation of UK residents with Caribbean backgrounds.
The controversial issue dates back to 1948, after World War II, when the British Government invited people for the Caribbean islands to come to Britain to help rebuild its cities. Hundreds responded and sailed on ships to various UK ports.
An Immigration Act, passed in 1971 and which became effective in 1973, allowed Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK to receive permission to stay in the UK indefinitely. Unfortunately, the Home Office did not keep records of such persons, and in many cases, such Commonwealth citizens did not apply for a passport. As a consequence, many individuals, having come to the UK as children, or even having been born in the UK years later, have no documentation to prove legal right to live and work in the UK.
The threat of deportation of such persons sparked protests from various quarters and the intervention of Caribbean Heads of Government.
Prime Minister Theresa May apologies to the Caribbean leaders and promised to work towards speedy resolution of the issue.
Speaking to the BBC outside #10 Downing Street, where the meeting was held, St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris said be believes there is a positive way forward.
Prime Minister Harris said, “What we can do is take the Prime Minister’s word to have our High Commissioners here in London work with the Government to ensure that information is being shared, and that the words of the Government would be matched with quick action.”
He believes that it is important for the British Government to move quickly to redress the situation.
“We did say that those who have been deported that their situation should be revisited and restitution be had. I think that principle, the British Government, through its Prime Minister, has accepted, Harris said.
The St. Kitts and Nevis Prime Minister continued, “It is regrettable that the circumstance, which we now find ourselves, was allowed to get this far. Nonetheless, we want to consecrate the future and hope that these troubling issues that are impacting the migrant population would not surface again, and that through dialogue and through input with the impacted parties, resolution can be found.”
Asked about the response of the British Prime Minister, Harris stated, “Today, she has reconciled with the general sentiment of the British public that what has happened to the migrant population – the trauma, the uncertainty in their lives, that those things are regrettable and should not have happened. She has sought to reassure she will do her very best to ensure that her officials, in the Home Office and elsewhere, move expeditiously toward a resolution.”
Where injustice is evident, Harris said, the British Government should make amends.
“As evidence is uncovered that requires correction, we hope that the British Government will be morally persuaded to do the right thing, and to make good any injustice that persons would have suffered by the requisite means, including compensation, where that would be the appropriate response,” Prime Minister Harris stated.
Photo: SKN Prime Minister Dr. Timothy Harris speaking to the BBC News after CARICOM Heads meeting with the UK Prime Minister Theresa May.