Theresa May is slammed over Windrush Day video honouring UK Caribbean community as critics blame her for scandal that left legal immigrants under threat of deportation
- Monument to the Windrush generation to be placed in London’s Waterloo station
- Theresa May was blasted as ‘out of touch’ when she announced the plans
- Twitter users say she should apologise rather than thank the community
- Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government will spend £1million
Theresa May has been branded ‘out of touch’ and ‘robotic’ after she posted a video to Twitter announcing plans to create a Windrush memorial.
The permanent monument to the Windrush generation — who travelled from the Caribbean to the UK from 1948 — will be placed inside London’s Waterloo Station.
But when the Prime Minister announced £1million in funding had been earmarked before thanking the Caribbean community for coming to the UK Twitter users blasted her communications team.
James Wells MEP commented: ‘Does anyone in No 10 Comms team ever read the comments when Theresa puts this stuff out. So out of touch.’
Others slammed Mrs May for failing to apologise for last year’s Windrush scandal which saw at least 83 people wrongly deported by the Home Office.
Louise Rowntree said: ‘Whoever is doing your Comms: They got this so wrong. The only message you should be communicating is a humble apology.’
Theresa May’s tweet read: ‘On this Windrush day and everyday let us give thanks to those pioneering men and women.
‘They crossed an ocean to build a future for themselves, their communities and the UK, the country that will always be their home.’
The permanent monument to the Windrush generation — who travelled from the Caribbean to the UK from 1948 — will be placed at London’s Waterloo Station. Theresa May posted her announcement video to Twitter
Commenting on the tweet RD Hale likened Theresa May to an ‘abuser’ thanking its victim.
He said: ‘Imagine being thanked by your abuser who deported your friends, many never to return.
‘Thanked by the woman who refused to compensate so many victims. Thanked by the leader who wanted you out of the country.
‘As a father of mixed race kids, I’d like to say f*** you Theresa May.’
On June 22, 1948, around 500 migrants from the Caribbean arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex in 1948 aboard the MV Empire Windrush
Ian Saville tweeted: ‘If you show thanks by criminalising people, deporting them, making them unemployed, denying healthcare etc. They can do without that sort of thanks.’
And Rikin Parakh said: ‘Shame on you. You were part of the Windrush Scandal. Where in your soul can you justify this posting? Your face shows no real gratitude or love, just a robotic series of facial movements. Shame on you Theresa May.’
Theresa May said the memorial — situated at the country’s busiest railway station —will be seen by ‘millions of people from all around the world’ every year.
Both the memorial and the mayor’s funding were announced on Saturday, as the first Windrush Day was observed to mark 71 years since the arrival of the first ‘pioneers’
She added: ‘The Windrush generation helped lay the foundations for the country we know today, which is richer and stronger as a result of their hard work and dedication to the UK.
‘This monument will be a lasting legacy to the tremendous contribution the Windrush generation and their children have made to our great country.’
Even Mayor of London Sadiq Khan offered criticism of the announcement, blasting the ‘disgraceful’ way Windrush families have been treated as ‘a national scandal’.
What is the Windrush scandal and how did the fiasco develop?
June 22, 1948 – The Empire Windrush passenger ship docked at Tilbury from Jamaica.
The 492 passengers were temporarily housed near Brixton in London. Over the following decades some 500,000 came to the UK.
Many arrived on their parents’ passports and were not formally naturalised as British citizens.
1973 – A new immigration Act comes into force putting the onus on individuals to prove they have previously been resident in the UK.
2010 – The Home Office destroyed thousands of landing card slips recording Windrush immigrants’ arrival dates in the UK.
The move came despite staff warnings that the move would make it harder to check the records of older Caribbean-born residents experiencing residency difficulties, it was claimed
2014 – A protection that exempted Commonwealth residents from enforced removal was removed under a new law. Theresa May was Home Secretary at the time.
Under a crackdown on illegals, Windrush immigrants are obliged to provide proof they were resident in the UK before 1973.
July 2016 – Mrs May becomes Prime Minister.
April 2018 – Allegations that Windrush immigrants are being threatened with deportation break. Theresa May issued a grovelling apology to Caribbean leaders after major backlash
April 29 – Amber Rudd resigns after inadvertently misleading Parliament by wrongly claiming there were no deportation targets
Mr Khan said the way the Windrush generation and their families have been treated by the Government was a ‘national scandal’ as he pledged to invest up to £370,000 to support the immigration advice sector in London.
Both the memorial and the mayor’s funding were announced on Saturday, as the first Windrush Day was observed to mark 71 years since the arrival of the first ‘pioneers’.
Mr Khan said: ‘The Windrush generation have made an enormous contribution to our country and to the success of our great city, influencing almost every aspect of our culture and modern life. We owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.
‘Their experiences clearly demonstrate that the immigration process is difficult to navigate and the increasing severity of the hostile environment is putting Londoners with the right to be here at risk of destitution.’
Karen Doyle, national organiser of Windrush pressure group Movement for Justice, said: ‘Memorialising the arrival and contribution of the Windrush Generation is important and welcome.
‘However a gesture in bronze and steel feels empty and meaningless from a government that championed the hostile environment bringing destitution, detention, deportation, exile and death to this important generation.
‘It is particularly galling when there are still so many who live in fear of detention and deportation, the descendants and family members who are currently excluded from help by this Government.’
Ms Doyle added: ‘Ripping up the Hostile Environment polices would be a fitting monument. Most monuments memorialise issues and people that are long dead – the injustice faced by this generation and their families is still very much alive.’
On June 22 around 500 migrants from the Caribbean arrived at Tilbury Docks in Essex in 1948 aboard the MV Empire Windrush.
It was at the invitation of the British government to help rebuild the UK in the aftermath of the Second World War.
But in recent years, ministers and the Home Office have come under fire over revelations on how members of the Windrush generation and their children have been wrongly detained and deported – and others denied access to healthcare, work, housing benefits and pensions.
In the wake of the scandal, the Prime Minister established the Windrush Commemoration Committee to consider how best to create a permanent, fitting tribute to the Windrush generation and their descendants.
The committee’s chairwoman, Baroness Floella Benjamin, said: ‘Having a Windrush monument located at Waterloo Station where thousands of Windrush pioneers – including children like myself – first arrived in London, will be a symbolic link to our past as we celebrate our future.
The committee will work with designers over the coming months on a scheme for the memorial.
Who was on board the Windrush?
A baby less than two months old and two women aged 80 were among those travelling on the Empire Windrush.
Michael Murphy was just six weeks old when the ship arrived at Tilbury in Essex on June 21 1948, according to the passenger list.
At the other end of the spectrum was Maria Gray, who was listed as being 80 years old when Windrush dropped anchor at Tilbury.
Of the 1,027 passengers on board the ship, nearly half (46%) were recorded as being aged between 18 and 29.
Approximately 37 were two or under, and 40 were aged 60 or over.
More than half of the passengers on the Empire Windrush had left homes in Jamaica.
More than half the passengers on board the Empire Windrush had left homes in Jamaica
According to the official passenger list – now held by the National Archives – 541 people gave their last country of residence as Jamaica, out of a total 1,027 on board.
Bermuda was the last country of residence of 139 passengers, while Trinidad was listed for 74 people.
Some 66 passengers came from Mexico, but their nationality was recorded as Polish.
A further 44 passengers were from British Guiana (now Guyana) on the northern coast of South America.
England was listed as the last country of residence for 119 people – 12 per cent of the total on board.
Some 15 people came from other parts of the UK: 10 from Scotland, four from Wales and one from Northern Ireland.
Most of the passengers on board were aged between 18 and 29-years-old. The youngest was a baby of just two months old, the oldest was aged 80
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