Caribbean Carnival marks 70 years since Windrush

There are many reasons why we should not only honour but also celebrate the contributions of migrants to the country and to our city. For the Windrush Generation, this year’s Caribbean Carnival of Manchester is a commemoration of their impact on the country.

Taking place on the weekend of 11 – 12 August 2018, the Manchester Caribbean Carnival welcomes all. Held at Alexandra Park, the celebrations will mark 70 years since The Empire Windrush arrived in England.

The SS Empire Windrush arrived at Tilbury docks on 22 June 1948 carrying passengers from the Caribbean, who were invited by Britain to assist with post-war reconstruction. This was the same year that the NHS was established. The Windrush generation went on to play a major role in the development of the NHS.

Prime Minister Theresa May has recently apologised to Caribbean leaders over deportation threats made to the children of Commonwealth citizens, who despite living and working in the UK for decades, have been told they are living here illegally because of a lack of official paperwork.

In her apology, Mrs May insisted the government was not “clamping down” on Commonwealth citizens, particularly those from the Caribbean.

Labour MP David Lammy, whose parents arrived in the UK from Guyana, describes himself as a “proud son of the Windrush”.

The Home Office did not keep a record of those granted leave to remain or issue any paperwork confirming it – meaning it was difficult for Windrush arrivals to prove they are in the UK legally.

In 2010, landing cards belonging to Windrush migrants were destroyed by the Home Office.

International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt said there was “absolutely no question” of the Windrush generation’s right to remain.

The government then announced it will effectively fast-track citizenship for people affected by the Windrush scandal, even if they lack a full set of documents to prove their status.

This year’s carnival will be focusing on the positive impact of the Windrush generation to the UK. The arrivals brought not only labour and manpower, but their brand of cultural music, dance and colourful vibrancy was a breath of fresh air to the UK after the war.

Organisers have stated that preparations for the carnival are underway, as they promise to bring an even brighter and fun-filled weekend of Caribbean celebrations.

TNT Arts & Culture

Photo Credit: Caribbean Carnival of Manchester

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