JIS News

Jamaican High Commissioner to the United Kingdom, Burchell Whiteman has praised the pioneering Jamaicans who were among the West Indians who arrived in the United Kingdom on board the Empire Windrush 60 years ago.
“I would like to praise the 492 Jamaicans who had ventured forth in search of a better future and in response to the needs of the United Kingdom at that time. I would also like to pay tribute to those who had preceded them as servicemen and women in the British Armed Forces, along with those who now fill important positions in academic institutions, in national and local government, civic life, the church and a range of professions,” Mr. Whiteman said.
The High Commissioner was speaking recently at a special garden party, held to honour surviving passengers, put on by the Sycamore Lodge in West London.
This year marks the 60th anniversary of the arrival of Empire Windrush, the start of mass migration to the UK from the British West Indies.
Mr. Whiteman also commended the Windrush generation for the lasting positive contributions they have made to British society. “For the Windrush generation, it had been a struggle against prejudice, harsh climatic conditions and other social difficulties. I commend you for having made a lasting contribution to the building of Britain in the 20th Century and strengthening community cohesion in the United Kingdom,” the High Commissioner added.
Also addressing the gathering was the High Commissioner of St. Vincent & the Grenadines, Cenio Lewis, who stressed the importance of communication and of listening to each other in the search for sustainable community life.
A range of activities have been held and are planned to commemorate the Windrush 60th anniversary, across the United Kingdom. These include church services, special supplements in local newspapers, including the UK weekly Gleaner and a special four-part documentary on BBC 4 television.
On June 22, an anniversary procession took place from Clapham North Deep Shelter, where the new Windrush arrivals were temporarily housed, to the Clapham Common Bandstand. There was also a special journey along the River Thames from Tower Hill to Tilbury Docks in Essex (where the Windrush docked) with veterans and their descendents.
Other major activities include a special exhibition now on at the Imperial War Museum, which will last until early 2009.