News Americas, LONDON, England, Thurs. June 22, 2023: Britain’s King Charles, III joined Caribbean immigrants and others at St George’s Chapel, Windsor Castle, west of London today, June 22, 2023 to recognize and celebrate the Windrush 75th Anniversary. The celebration comes as a BBC investigation has uncovered a painful chapter in the history of the Windrush generation, revealing that hundreds of people suffering from chronic and mental illnesses were forcibly sent back to the Caribbean, a circumstance that’s now being recognized as a “historic injustice.”
Newly declassified documents have shown that at least 411 individuals were returned to their countries of origin between the 1950s and early 1970s, under a scheme that was ostensibly voluntary.
These people were part of the Windrush generation, immigrants who moved from British colonies to the UK in the years following World War II, named after one of the first ships, the HMT Empire Windrush, to bring Caribbean citizens to Britain. This year marks the 75th anniversary of their first arrivals.
These alarming revelations mirror the well-known Windrush scandal, where hundreds of Commonwealth citizens, many hailing from the Caribbean, were erroneously deported. These findings have ignited calls for a public investigation into the repatriation policy.
The UK government has acknowledged the historical wrongs faced by the Windrush generation and has pledged to rectify them. A government spokesperson stated: “We recognize the campaigning of families seeking to address the historic injustice faced by their loved ones, and remain absolutely committed to righting the wrongs faced by those in the Windrush generation.”
However, families torn apart by the policy and some never reunited, contend that these statements do little to mend the wounds caused by the forced separations and demand thorough answers. Many believe that the repatriation program may have been illegal, as some of the patients did not possess the mental capacity to consent to leave.
Surviving family members of those who were repatriated have shared distressing stories about the significant emotional trauma they experienced. They allege that their loved ones were abandoned by the state, not given adequate care, and their families were torn apart. There is a growing demand for a formal apology from the British government and a thorough investigation into the policy and its consequences.
This revelation adds another layer to the complex and often fraught history of the Windrush generation and prompts a renewed look into policies and their impacts on vulnerable individuals, providing yet another reason for the necessity of justice and reform in these matters.
National Windrush Day 202 marks 75 years since the MV Empire Windrush arrived in the UK.
Celebrations will take place at projects and events throughout the country to promote community cohesion and understanding of the Windrush story.
Celebrating the 75th anniversary of both Windrush and the NHSWindrush Day was first announced by the Government in June 2018 to take place on 22 June each year to encourage communities across England to celebrate the contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants.
To date, the Government has dedicated £3.75 million in funding toward honoring the Windrush legacy, including £2.75 million across five years of the Windrush Day Grant Scheme, and £1 million allocated to the National Windrush Monument.
The Windrush generation -those original pioneers who came from across the Caribbean – helped to rebuild the nation following the Second World War, and they and their descendants continue to contribute to all aspects of British life.