Home African Caribbean Who Really Are The Winners In The Post Office And Windrush Scandals?

Who Really Are The Winners In The Post Office And Windrush Scandals?

by Tony Kelly
1 comment

Tony Kelly resident Diabetes expert

In Britain over the past few days the four-part televised ITV drama   entitled Mr. Bates vs the Post Office has captured the hearts of the nation and the news coverage has dominated every sector of the media since then. Having not watched the serialisation  which dramatized the life and experiences  of decent law-abiding post office staff and  I might never do, as it is too painful,  there has been enough on subsequent television news programmes and commentary by reputable journalists for anyone to get the gist of one of the most serious miscarriages of justice in Britain. 

Over 700  decent, respectable and law-abiding sub postmasters/mistresses have been criminalized for theft, fraud and deception and false accounting  after a faulty computer system called Horizon was installed. Many have served prison sentences, lost their jobs, four committed suicide,  others have died which could  be from the toll of this  tragic situation, suffered  mental/nervous breakdowns, been ostracised in their communities, and had relationship breakups to name a few. They kept claiming their innocence and at no stage did the senior management with their power and control contemplate that something was wrong. Instead they lied during the various investigations and told victims that the money that had been stolen from their post office was only in that setting.  Clearly that has been proved not to be so and they knew it.

Some barristers cream or hive off most of what should be for victims as seen  in reports on television news of the victims getting pittance whilst legal teams command exorbitant sums for their services. Their fees are astronomical and that is morally wrong, indefensible and unjustifiable. It begs the question…do they have a conscience? Compare   and contrast those  huge monetary sums which these barristers  have earned over the years  with the miserly pay awards that junior doctors have had to accept after several years of training and running up debts in the process, working for the ridiculous starting sum in some cases of £20.00 per hour.  That is why I wholeheartedly support the British Medical Association’s stance fighting for a decent wage for the thousands of junior doctors who are there to save lives and seeing some of their stories on television whilst they struggle to eke out an existence, is incredible.

Britain is supposedly the so-called, world leader, world leading, world beating and world-class  country that one constantly keeps hearing about. Tell that to  both sets of victims as highlighted in this article since their reality is certainly different. The very laws of the land to protect them from such miscarriages of justice pale into insignificance as truth and rights are non-existent.

I clearly remember  in the earlier days of the Windrush scandal writing to the  chief person at the Home Office and  attending two separate meetings where I suggested to him that they should appoint community champions to assist the victims in overcoming the bureaucratic red-tape and form filling that is notorious in   government led departments. They are deliberately, in my view several pages in length to deter people from filling them in.  To have  two people contact me out of the blue last year with concern that they  have had to pay-out for so called advice from someone in the community  when there is a free service  set up with reference to the Windrush compensation scheme is upsetting and one wonders why is there always someone ready to prey on the vulnerability of others who are desperate for  assistance?

This Windrush Legal Advice Clinic, Community Interest Company  is a not-for-profit organisation assisting claimants through the Windrush Compensation Scheme Form and stabilising their immigration status. It clearly states on their website that ‘We are independent from the Home Office and provide this important service for free’. I am duty bound to include in this article their contact details for those who need it as they are the ones to assist in claims, etc and are based in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands.

  1. 07951 153 828
  2. 07902 157059
  3. 01902 382 542
  4. Email [email protected]
  5. Website WindrushLegalAdviceClinic

An alternative is to twice a month join online Roland Houslin’s The Windrush Compensation Scheme Chat, Justice for Windrush the second and last Sunday of each month 2.00 – 4.00 pm British Standard Time. Since the zoom link, log on details  and password  code are  long, it is best if one contacts him on WhatsApp  ++44 7999178111 or via email [email protected]   or Garrick Prayogg  ++447878915864 or [email protected]

Both of these organisations are free and that means there are no hidden charges.

Knowledge is power and I urge readers to let others know this vitally important information instead of going to people who want to charge for their services. The proverbial saying that  The love of money is the root of all evil  is certainly apt and the avarice/greed of some  wishing to make a quick buck at someone else’s expense is  deeply worrying and must stop.

Despite all the government spin wanting  the public to believe that they are on top of things, there apparently remain many unresolved compensation claims for Windrush victims after such a long period of time.  Why did it take this four-part documentary for the  government to act in such an expeditious way for the post office workers and  still drag their feet regarding compensation for the Windrush victims from various Caribbean islands? Over the last six years there have been numerous documentaries on all the major British television channels highlighting the plight of the Windrush victims  and the lack of compensation or the small sums that the Home Office have  begrudgingly paid out. Those documentaries have been painful to watch and have certainly  not garnered as much support and attention as this current post office scandal. Petitions surrounding the post office  miscarriage of justice have passed the million-signature  mark. I leave you to read between the lines and figure that out since it is not rocket science.

It is rather interesting that  the House of Commons decided to  recently start rushing through a law that justice can be achieved for these post office victims so all the criminal convictions can be overturned and rightly so,  yet still remain slow to act despite David Lammy, MP for Tottenham raising  the issues of the Windrush scandal in parliament from April 2018.  So nearly six years on there is no end in sight for several victims some of whom have since died, others not considered  eligible for medical treatment from the National Health Service with one  classic case of being refused chemotherapy for cancer,   lost their jobs,  homes re-possessed/made homeless,   pension rights curtailed, held in detention centres for months, illegally deported, stranded abroad as refused re-entry to Britain,  suffering depression and mental illness, unable to claim benefits, and the list goes on.

In case readers need reminding  here is a quote which puts the Windrush scandal in is truest context.

’The Home Office received warnings from 2013 onwards that many Windrush generation residents were being treated as illegal immigrants and that older Caribbean-born people were being targeted. The Refugee and Migrant Centre in Wolverhampton said their caseworkers were seeing hundreds of people receiving letters from Capita, the Home Office’s contractor, telling them that they had no right to be in the UK, some of whom were told to arrange to leave the UK at once. Roughly half the letters went to people who already had leave to remain or were in the process of formalising their immigration status’’

Surely after the current inquiry in to this scandalous post office affair ends, there has without a doubt got to be some accountable from the senior managers of the post office and  criminal prosecutions as that is of paramount importance and justice must not only be done but be seen to be done. The Horizon computer programmers  and the senior staff  must also be held accountable  having apparently threatened in the early stages a BBC  whistle-blower and face the courts to get to the truth. It goes without saying that politicians/government ministers and civil servants need to account for what they also did or not do from the outset.  This cannot be covered up and swept under the carpet.

This also needs to be the case for the many Windrush victims who are still fighting for compensation not to mention several who have still not put their head above the parapet as they remain scared. There is no harm in writing to ones MP in order to keep this above and not under the radar.

In answer to the question posed in the headline, it is clearly the government with their continued bureaucracy, the Home Office, the computer firm and the barristers who are the winners in these two cases and the injustices continue  with the victims being at the bottom of the pile.

Tony Kelly

Tony Kelly

London born Tony Kelly of Jamaican parents grew up in Jamaica and returned to live in Birmingham in 1979.
He is a graduate of Mico Teachers’ College and taught in Kingston high schools prior to working for 30+ years as a middle manager in central and local government with an emphasis on equity, equality, diversity and inclusion. He has a masters’ degree in socio-legal studies from the university of Birmingham.
For over a decade Tony has volunteered as a diabetes ambassador firstly for Diabetes UK and now for the National Health Service – Birmingham and Solihull Clinical Commissioning Group. A multi-award winner doing a yearly average of 150 health and well-being events, locally, nationally and internationally focusing on type 2 diabetes. He was diagnosed with this medical condition 18 years ago. However with a combination of physical activity and diet he has never taken medication thus proving with the right mindset and discipline it can be achieved.
As a diabetes advocate/activist Tony will continue delivering the message of healthy options to readers of CaribDirect.com .


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1 comment

Inderbir Kaur January 15, 2024 - 2:33 pm

Excellent article making logical comparison between the Post Office scandal and the Windrush and the government pathetic and evil response showing its ” othering attitude” to BME victims.


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