Home African Caribbean The Great Irony Of The Windrush Day Celebration 2022

The Great Irony Of The Windrush Day Celebration 2022

by D Fitz-Roberts
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Having covered some of the most important and significant events in the UK Caribbean community over the past ten years, including the opening of the Brixton Windrush Square in 2010, the Black Cultural Archive official opening in July 2014, the Windrush Square Rally and Emancipation March in August 2016 to name a few, one would be forgiven for thinking the author would have naturally been invited to provide journalistic cover for the recently held Windrush Day Celebration at Waterloo Station.

Notwithstanding the tremendous effort sculptor Basil Watson put into immortalising the memory of the landing of the first 500 Caribbean nationals from the SS Empire Windrush at Tilbury Docks in 1948, the significance of the event was not universally shared as worthy of memorialising.

British Caribbean nationals are still being deported in their numbers from the UK to the Caribbean. As recent as November 2021, three out of fifty Jamaicans convicted of various crimes were forcibly placed on a flight capable of seating three hundred and fifty bound for Jamaica. The remaining forty-seven convicts were granted a last-minute reprieve for reasons unknown.

Many of these convicted Jamaicans spent most of their lives in the UK without strong or any ties to Jamaica but alas the three were shipped off like nomads where, no doubt, they will present new problems for the local Jamaican authorities and citizenry.

How then can one reasonably conclude that there is substantial reason to mark the arrival of more than 425, 000 Caribbean nationals in Britain up to 1962 when their experience here has been and continues to be characterised as less than hospitable and marred with inequality, disdain and humiliation?

Such was the feeling that overtook this author when he arrived at the Windrush Day Celebration, presented his credentials on a crisp business card that displayed his full name and the name of his publication, CaribDirect Multi-Media known throughout the community and was told by an English woman, ‘I’m sorry you’re not on the list so you’re not invited.’

‘Not Invited!’ The irony of this situation struck hard, the author, a second generation windrush Caribbean descendant intending to help promote the unveiling of a controversial monument to the arrival of Caribbean folk to Britain who were actually invited but not made to feel welcome when they arrived.

Granted the argument that the author would have had to have been screened prior would have sufficed but the fact that he was ‘not invited’ smacks of either an inefficient, ill-equipped or incompetent research team or outright prejudice on the part of the organising committee.

Either way, from the looks on the faces of many of the attendees, the invited few, it would seem the author may have been better off for being excluded. 

Why does this woman appear as though she would rather be somewhere else? Photo courtesy CaribDirect

D Fitz-Roberts

D Fitz-Roberts

D Fitz-Roberts is a multi-talented writer on socio-economic issues having worked in journalism across the Caribbean (Grenada, Guyana and BVI) in the 90s. He has worked in London with Black Britain Online, New Nation Newspaper and Caribbean Times. An academic with a passion for research on distributed ledger technologies in emerging economies he is keen to see the Caribbean embrace bitcoin and blockchain technologies to keep pace with the west. He writes periodically for mainstream publications and is the founder of CaribDirect.com. He is also the author of Caribbean children’s book LifeSucks! available on Amazon.


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