Half a prison, Windrush and Commonwealth

Monday, April 30, 2018

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Dear Editor,

Our prime minister, Andrew Holness, addressed the Windrush matter very well, I thought, while in the UK for that recent Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting. He participated in a live town hall meeting with Jamaicans there which he handled very well — better than a Theresa May or Donald Trump could do I think. It was really refreshing and heart-warming to have a decent and able politician in charge representing Jamaica, more so on the international stage.

But this policy of alienation in the UK is nothing new. The only new thing is the measured outrage that it is being treated with over there. Former UK Prime Minister David Cameron's great idea to try and heal the wounds caused by decades of “benign neglect” was to offer to build a prison — half a prison, really — for Jamaicans who are currently in jail in the UK. We now can clearly see that many of those so-called Jamaicans should actually be designated British. And we would have to cough up the cash to build the other half for our own prisoners.

Holness told his audience of British residents of Jamaican descent or origin that they should never let anyone tell them they are stateless because, Jamaican passport or not, there will always be a place for them in Jamaica. It is nice to see that, though poor, we don't treat people with the same disregard and disrespect as the UK.

The UK has decided it wants to cut itself off from the European Union, and now thinks that it can regain its position in the Commonwealth as a poor man's substitute.

Britain thinks nothing of alienating the Caribbean because we are so small, even though there are 800.000 Jamaicans in the UK today. What it cares about is India with its 1.2 billion people, Australia, South Africa, maybe a few other African countries, or Pakistan, and that's about it. They will throw at Jamaica anything they want — trade-deal and otherwise — and expect us to lap it up. If we don't, it will be of no bother to them.

My only regret is that the heads of government agreed to let Prince Charles take over from his mother as head of the Commonwealth group of nations; that is surely the death-knell for what had the potential of becoming a real organisation carrying some level of self-respect, instead of a faded reminder of Britain's glory days as a colonial power.

Black Black

St Elizabeth

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