By NAN Contributor
News Americas, LONDON, England, Weds. April 18, 2018: A Caribbean-born, UK resident, who made his millions on the ‘Reggae Reggae’ sauce, has slammed as “scandalous,” the UK’s Windrush deportation fiasco on the same day UK Prime Minister Theresa May said sorry to Caribbean prime ministers.
Jamaican-born entrepreneur, Keith Valentine Graham, known popularly as Levi Roots, hit out at May and Home Secretary Amber Rudd, during an appearance Tuesday on Good Morning Britain.
“We’re slinging out people who came to fix the country after two wars,” Roots, 59, who shot to fame more than a decade ago when he won a deal for his jerk barbecue sauce on Dragons’ Den, said. “To hear the Home secretary say she doesn’t know what’s going on in her own job is absolutely scandalous.”
His comments come as PM May met with Caribbean Community (CARICOM) leaders and apologized for the situation that has seen many Caribbean immigrants of the Windrush generation losing their jobs, being denied NHS treatment and even being sent back to the Caribbean as deportees.
The immigrants had arrived on the Empire Windrush or moved with their to parents who did before 1971 and had an automatic right to settle in the U.K. But because they have no paperwork and it has emerged that landing cards belonging to Windrush migrants were destroyed by the Home Office in 2010, they were considered undocumented immigrants based on a 2012 UK ruling which aimed to put an end to immigrant overstays.
Originally, May had blanked a meeting with CARICOM prime ministers assembled in London for the Commonwealth Heads of Government Conference but she changed her mind after she was pressured to meet with the heads of state amidst the brouhaha.
On Tuesday, instead she said she is “genuinely sorry for any anxiety that has been caused.”
“I want to dispel any impression that my government is in some sense clamping down on Commonwealth citizens, particularly those from the Caribbean,” May told the meeting that included Jamaica’s Prime Minister, Andrew Holness. “Those who arrived from the Caribbean before 1973 and lived here permanently without significant periods of time away in the last 30 years have the right to remain in the UK as do the vast majority of long-term residents who arrived later, and I don’t want anybody to be in any doubt about their right to remain here in the United Kingdom.”
Among the affected are:
UK-born Albert Thompson, 63, whose mother arrived in the UK from Jamaica in the 1960s work her as a nurse. For three decades Mr Thompson worked, supported a family, and was a head mechanic for a string of garages, and paid his taxes. He has lived in London for 44 years – but was recently told he must pay £54,000 for life saving treatment on the NHS.
Elwaldo Romeo, who moved from Antigua to the UK when he was four. He has lived in Britain for almost 60 years, but has now been told by the Home Office that he is in the UK illegally and is ‘liable to be detained’ because he was a ‘person without leave.’
Barbados-born, experienced special needs teaching assistant, Michael Braithwaite, lost his job after his employers ruled that he was an undocumented immigrant – despite living here for more than 50 years. Braithwaite had arrived in Britain from Barbados in 1961, and had worked at a north London primary school for over 15 years.
Jamaican-born, grandmother Paulette Wilson, who was threatened with deportation, despite living in the UK for 50 years. The 61-year-old was denied benefits, access to healthcare and refused permission to work and was even taken to London Heathrow Airport and threatened with deportation to Jamaica, where she has not returned since leaving at age 10.
Under the 1971 Immigration Act, all Commonwealth citizens already living in the UK were given indefinite leave to remain. Many of those impacted are Jamaicans – some 15,000 in total.
The Home Office said it was looking at 49 cases as a result of calls over the course of Tuesday. A new taskforce and helpline has been established for people affected.