A prominent member of Barbadian postwar emigrants to the United Kingdom has called on fellow members of the ‘Windrush Generation’ to speed up their applications for British citizenship that is available to them now if they never obtained it while living there.
The Windrush Generation is named for Caribbean emigrants mainly from Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad and Tobago who were invited to England to fill a need for workers following World War II, from 1948 to 1971.
Most of them travelled on the vessel Empire Windrush, though in later years Barbadians departed by plane from Seawell Airport.
Many of those who helped rebuilt war-torn Britain were later deported to their original countries; others who remained in the country along with their descendants have suffered from the removal of benefits to which they previously entitled.
Following a huge international outcry the British Government agreed to compensate the Windrush migrants from a fund starting at 200 million pounds sterling, and to regularise the citizenship status of the ones who did not have such documentation.
But during a Barbados Museum and Historical Society lecture series on issues related to the Barbadian Windrush experience, Larrier took the opportunity to advise the affected Bajans who are on island now to make haste in regularising their documents before the cut-off period, after which all benefits will be lost.
Larrier said: “There are a number of people in Barbados who do not get pension [from the UK] but because of the reparations scheme … Those people are entitled to their pension.
“There are some people who get their pension but they do not have citizenship, if they don’t be careful the cut-off is going to come where you only get a pension if you have British citizenship. And that’s why it is now offered as part of the compensation scheme”.
“If you apply for the British citizenship once you have lived in England for those periods you would get it and it wouldn’t cost you anything.”
Larrier seized the opportunity of the questions-and-answers session following an installment in the lecture series delivered last Wednesday by University of the West Indies Registrar, Kenneth Walters.