Basil Wilson

The Windrush Generation and the Bullrush to Deport

By Basil Wilson

When the SS Empire Windrush left the Caribbean in 1948 with 492 passengers, the 8,000 mile journey across the Atlantic represented the genesis of an influx of Caribbean workers into Great Britain. The English nation had emerged from the World War 11 triumphantly with the help of the United States. Britain had defeated the Nazis in Germany and the fascists in Italy but was no longer recognized as a leading power in the world.

America’s intervention into the war turned the tide in favor of the Allies. But Britain was facing the challenge of rebuilding its industrial base and the Americans stepped in with the Marshall Plan. Britain was forced to make an adjustment as after World War 1 and certainly after World War 11, its imperial position as a dominant actor was superseded by the United States and the Soviet Union.

Previously, Britain’s war hero, Winston Churchill, had boasted that the sun never sets on the British Empire. The sun had risen in the far flung colonies of the Empire and macro-colonies like India embarked on non-violent self-determination protests to extricate themselves from the clutches of the British Empire. India opted for independence in 1947 and Pakistan followed immediately. In the Caribbean, the micro-colonies sought self-government and ultimately self-determination.

In 1948, Britain in the rebuilding of its economy suffered from a shortage of labor. Caribbean economies had long since passed their economic zenith of primary export production and were wrestling with the chronic problem of surplus labor. The Caribbean eagerly sought the opportunity to traverse the waters to provide the desperately needed labor in British industry. Caribbean workers were distributed throughout the British provinces working as railroad workers, cleaners, drivers, factory workers and as nurses.

In many respects the maiden voyage of the SS Empire Windrush in 1948 marked the beginning of a more heterogeneous Britain. At the height of the British Empire, there was more an exodus of British workers leaving the home country to settle in Australia, New Zealand and Canada. At an earlier time in the pre-emancipation period, the British plantation system was characterized by absentee ownership. The Anglo-Saxons who had set up the plantations soon returned home and left their plantations in the hands of the Scotch-Irish and simply lived the high life back in Britain enjoying the profits from the lucrative sugar plantations.

By the end of World War 11, the British Commonwealth subjects are coming home to work and sojourn in the heart of the Empire. The British were quite comfortable and proud of the Empire from a distance but when the Empire began to crumble and the non-white subjects began to change British society, the welcome mat was transformed into an unwelcome mat. In many respects, a hostile environment was created for the new black immigrants.

Anyone who has lived in Britain is immediately struck by the fairly rigid class lines that is quite a hallmark of British society. The influx of former colonial subjects from the former crumbling Empire brought a new dimension of race and cultural pluralism. A sizeable segment of British society saw this as a threat to their traditional way of life. Perhaps no other political leader became the embodiment of that racist sentiment than the Tory Minister, Enoch Powell.

Powell gave an epic speech to Conservative activists on April 20, 1968 which became known as the Rivers of Blood address. In that analysis of Britain’s pending racial doomsday, Enoch Powell cited a conversation with a constituent who conveyed vividly his fears of the black invasion. The constituent mentioned to his parliamentary representative that he had three children and he saw no future for them in Britain and felt salvation for that generation was in migrating to one of the white former colonies like Australia, New Zealand and/or Canada. The constituent remarked rather alarmingly that in a few years the blacks would take the whip and turn the whites into slaves in their own country.

The Tory leader, Enoch Powell, saw it as his duty to save white England from the Windrush generation. Powell became a strong advocate of slamming the brakes on immigration and encouraging many of those already settled to return home to their respective countries. That sentiment manifested itself in the Immigration Act of 1973 where provisions were made for white members of the Commonwealth but entry for blacks or people of color became more than arduous.

The Windrush generation, as it is widely acknowledged, played an important role in the revival of the British economy in the post-World War 11 period. Many of those who travelled to Britain in the 1940s and 1950s came with limited documentation and those with passports, their children’s names were included on those passports.

The issue of documentation surfaced recently in British politics as there is a push to deport illegal aliens as it is in the case of the United States of America. Quite fascinatingly, there was quite an uproar in the British House of Commons on Wednesday, April 18, 2018. The Prime Minister, Theresa May, was forced to apologize to the Windrush generation as many of these British born citizens because of a lack of documentation were caught in the dragnet of the Home Affairs Office to deport illegal aliens. The leader of the Opposition, Jeremy Corbyn, kept the Prime Minister’s feet to the fire as many of the draconian deportation policies were passed when she was the Interior Minister in David Cameron’s administration that was elected in 2010. At the Commonwealth Summit that was held in London, Caribbean Prime Ministers made it known that there were aware of the shabby treatment meted out to members of the Windrush Generation and their offsprings. The May government has gone on record that they will recognize the authenticity of those British subjects.

The treatment of the Windrush Generation is a reflection of the English difficulty adjusting to Britain’s change in the global system. Brexit is a further manifestation of Britain’s anxiety concerning the loss of homogeneity.

As the result of the European Union’s free movement of labor, large numbers of Polish migrants began pouring into Britain in the 1980s. The Indian population, the Pakistani population, the Asian immigrants, the Polish immigrants and the initial influx of the Windrush generation has made Britain into a heterogeneous society. Enoch Powell’s panic about Rivers of Blood was merely a wild racist prognostication. There is much anxiety about the change in traditional British society but Britain like the rest of European capitals will invariably have to adjust to the movement of labor in this tumultuous age of globalization.


Jeffrey Boney

OPINION: Payday Lenders Wage New Wars against Consumers and Regulation

By Charlene Crowell (Deputy Communications Director, Center for Responsible Lending)

Nearly eight years ago, lawmakers in the United States Congress fought for and won a number of reforms that would help ensure that everyone would play by the same financial rules. The promise to the nation was that the days of ignoring the long-term health of the national economy, as an excuse to justify lucrative and short-term profits, were over. The Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act gave guardrails to lenders and consumers alike.

Charged to keep that vow was the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB). Serving as the nation’s financial cop-on-the-beat, CFPB worked to bring fairness and balance to the marketplace. So much so that 29 million consumers received nearly $12 billion in restitution from illegal and deceptive practices in its first years of operation.

Want an example? Consider the payday lending industry and its multi-pronged efforts to oppose reasonable regulation. Three recent developments unmask a determination that is as deceitful as the little loans it sells that set up deep debt traps for borrowers.

On March 22, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham introduced a Congressional Review Act resolution, S.J. Res. 56, to repeal the CFPB’s payday lending rule and prohibit the CFPB from doing something substantially the same in the future. An identical action was introduced earlier in the House of Representatives. These measures await action in both chambers.

Then, on April 9, and under the joint auspices of two payday lending lobbyists, the Community Financial Services Association of America (CFSA) and the Consumer Service Alliance of Texas, a lawsuit was filed that alleges the CFPB is “unconstitutional.” The suit also takes aim at the same payday and small-dollar loan rule set to take effect in August of next year.

According to the lawsuit, “The Final Rule rests on unfounded presumptions of harm and misperceptions about consumer behavior and was motivated by a deeply paternalistic view that consumers cannot be trusted with the freedom to make their own financial decisions.”

Reactions from civil rights and consumer advocates clearly indicated they weren’t buying that bit of swampland.

“It's no surprise that predatory payday lenders are behind litigation like this,” said Hilary O. Shelton, the NAACP Washington bureau director and senior vice president for policy and advocacy. “With little accountability for their actions, predatory payday lenders have long preyed upon communities of color, draining them of their hard-earned savings, and with their debt trapping practices, our economic futures. This CFPB rule establishes a much-needed set of transparent responsibilities for lenders and basic rights and protections for borrowers."

“At a time when many Americans are living paycheck to paycheck while financial institutions are making record profits, we need stronger protections for consumers against unscrupulous financial practices,” said Marisabel Torres, a senior policy analyst on issues related to Latino financial engagement and homeownership for UnidosUS.

Torres said that the payday industry is proving once again that they are focused on lining their pockets, not on the devastating financial harm their products cause.

Torres continued: “The CFPB’s payday rule has support from the Latino community, who are far too often targeted and exploited by predatory payday lenders, and we oppose attempts by the industry to impede the rule’s swift implementation.”

Two days later in an appearance before the House Committee on Financial Services, Mick Mulvaney, the CFPB’s illegally-appointed Acting Director made clear that a different director was in charge.

“The Bureau’s new strategic priorities are to recognize free markets and consumer choice and to take a prudent, consistent, and humble approach to enforcing the law,” said Mulvaney.

CFPB’s current mission statement, which changed under Mulvaney, shirks away from enforcement and instead will emphasize ways “to educate and empower consumers to make better informed financial decisions.”

Pardon me, but if I’ve been financially snookered by a lender who promised one thing and delivered something entirely different. A “humble approach” to legal enforcement would not be in my best interests. Most consumers—me included—would want full financial justice that held those who violate laws and rules accountable.

A bicameral group of 43 lawmakers told Mulvaney pretty much the same thing in a letter they sent to him on March 27.

Misleading promises are a key part of payday lending’s deceit. Add triple-digit interest rates to that deceit and it becomes nearly impossible for consumers of modest financial means to repay the typical two-week loan. Months, if not years later, loan fees wind up costing far more than the actual principal borrowed.

“The CFPB payday and car title lending rule is designed to help ensure that lenders only make loans borrowers can afford to repay—a baseline standard that responsible lenders already follow,” noted Mike Calhoun, the president of the Center for Responsible Lending. “This is the payday lenders’ latest attack in their war against consumers.”

From kitchen table discussions of household money worries, to predatory lenders seeking ways to bilk consumers out of their hard-earned monies, the CFPB was created to be the arbiter that brought balance and fairness to consumer lending.

Let the Bureau do its job.

Charlene Crowell says that misleading promises are a key part of payday lending’s deceit. (Center for Responsible Lending)


TRAVEL & TOURISM IN THE CARIBBEAN

IT’S IMPACT

According to the World Tourism Organization (UNWTO), the Tourism industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in the world. It is estimated by the Organization that about a quarter of the world’s population, 8 billion people, will take a foreign trip by the year 2020.

The Caribbean Tourism Organization (CTO) has stated that the Tourism Industry is the “economic backbone of most of the countries in the Caribbean”. There is a lot at stake for the region and special care, vision, imagination and boldness must be given to this industry. According to WTO, Travel and Tourism account for over 900,000 jobs in the region directly and indirectly and increase is anticipated if the region protects its physical environment and protects its natural resources.

The Caribbean region is the most tourism dependent region in the world, with the industry consisting approximately 40% of the GDP of the Region. This is why CARIB NEWS, from its inception over thirty- seven years ago, has made Travel Tourism a critical part of its coverage and serves not to just encourage visitors to the region, but to emphasize the critical and sustainable importance the industry plays in the lives of the people of the region. Every issue of the newspaper, and now on its website, Travel & Tourism gets attention because of the critical nature of this industry,

CARIB NEWS organizes two supplements each year with the focus on Travel & Tourism, one in the Spring and the other in the Fall when the subject becomes more collaborative and in-depth. This Spring, we are again looking at the Region, its Travel & Tourism, the challenges of natural disasters, the resilience of the region, but also the prospect for a future, that is reimaging the Caribbean, and the long term prospect for the region and the people of the region.

When the editorial board sits to plan an issue or direction of an editorial, success, impact and transformation are key elements that are examined. This edition, as we look at Tourism and Travel in the region, one cannot/must laud Gordon “Butch” Stewart, the Chairman of Sandals and Beaches Resorts. The editorial board of CARIB NEWS decided that Chairman Stewart would be the feature of this Spring special edition on Travel & Tourism.

Gordon “Butch” Stewart is the transforming force in the Travel & Tourism industry in the Caribbean, and has brought an international recognition or the highest quality of facilities and services to the region. Sandals and Beaches Resorts are the undisputed leaders of Caribbean luxury vacations, and one of the most well-known and award-winning hospitality companies in the world. As Butch Stewart is known to remark, “Sandals, Beaches exceeds expectations for guests, associates and the people who call the Caribbean home.

Butch Stewart has shifted the concept of all-inclusive to another level, and has developed and marketed a brand that benefits the entire region. As he stated, “we are nimble, privately owned, and committed to going where opportunities take us, including adding resorts”. Sandals is the largest private employer in the Caribbean region, and Chairman Stewart is concerned about the welfare of the employees, that is, the people of the region.

Chairman Stewart, often described as a “beacon of human possibility”, sees it as an extended social helping hand to the less fortunate of the region, especially where the chain has properties. This is evident in the philanthropic arm, the Sandals Foundation focusing on doing this in the Caribbean to help people and protect the environment. The Foundation, launched by Adam Stewart, the son of Chairman Stewart and with his support, is making a significant difference in the lives of many in the region.

Using the same commitment to excellence, dedication to mission, and a strong outreach arm, the Foundation is raising millions of dollars and committed untold hours of Sandals staff and Executives, to very important work. They work with schools, build hospitals, assist with scholarships, provide training for skilled positions, protect the environment, and expand the economic base for many.

When CARIB NEWS launched the annual Caribbean Multi-National Business Conference (CMBC) in Jamaica in 1995, Chairman Stewart was supportive and encouraging of the mission. At a meeting at his residence in Rio Ch…., Chairman Stewart remarked, “The single best thing for the Caribbean is for people to get jobs.... I believe in people working”. That was twenty-three years ago, Chairman Stewart’s message is still resonating across the region and his support for the mission of CMBC remains strong.

Chairman Stewart advises – “It is much about generosity of spirit as it is about hard work; it is about exceeding expectations; Invest in Quality”.

Chairman Stewart has been a fore of transformation, success and impact on the Travel & Tourism industry in the region and beyond, and the region is better for his presence. The Stewart legacy is also being transferred to CEO Adam Stewart, a good thing for the industry and the region.

We Appreciate and Salute Chairman Stewart


Cuba’s New President

A Post-Castro Era

Miguel Diaz- Canel was sworn into office by the National Assembly, to replace Raul Castro as President. This is after he was elected by popular vote in carefully organized elections to preserve the country’s political system

The 57 year old Diaz-Canel, in his first address to the Assembly stated “The mandate given by the people to this house is to give continuity to the Cuban revolution in a crucial, historic moment.” He made it clear as he began his term that he is committed to the mission of the socialist revolution led by the Castro brothers which they led in 1959.

The sworn-in session was held on the anniversary of the Cuban defeat of the Bay of Pigs invasion led and organized by the US CIA. Cubans celebrate this victory as a symbol of overcoming pressure of the “imperialist” agenda of the US. This symbolism did not go unnoticed as Cuba’s new President took a shot at the current US President for his action. Diaz-Canel said “since the current President (Donald trump) arrived in office, there has been a deliberate reversal in the relations and the United States, and an aggressive and threatening tone prevails.”

The new President made it clear that there would be no compromise in Cuba’s foreign policy, but he said he was open to dialogue with anyone who treated Cuba as an equal.

Washington, on the other hand, through the State Department issued a statement in part – “we are disappointed that the Cuban Government opted to silence independent voices and maintain its repressive monopoly on power, rather than allow its people a meaningful choice through free, fair and competitive election.”

It is the hope of the regional leadership, and certainly of CARIB NEWS, that the current US Government might take a more enlightened approach to working with the Region, where every member of CARICOM supports the Cuban Government. If the current US Administration can seek to open dialogue and meet with North Korea, it certainly can dialogue with a neighbor 90 miles off its coast. There is no imminent danger from Cuba for the US; all it takes it a little political courage and so small degree of humanitarian concern.

The Obama Administration took some steps in 2014, long overdue, to seek some sense of normalization; this has been reversed without any consideration for the progress that was made. There has been a concern in this country about “bullying”. Well, it appears to many in the region and the world stage at the UN that the US attitude towards Cuba is outright ‘bullying’ of a small nation by a larger more aggressive one. The economic sanctions placed on Cuba, led by the US, has been described as disgraceful.

With a new President in Cuba, the US should reach out for changes rather than engaging the same old diatribe.

CARICOM has offered its full support to Cuba and its new President; so have the vast majority of countries around the world. China has pledged its support for the new President and has offered to expand bilateral cooperation between the two countries. China is Cuba’s second largest trading partner after Venezuela and looking to expand its operation there.

President Diaz-Canel in his inaugural remarks said –“solidarity with others has always been a principle of the Cuban Revolution”; he went on to say “the welfare of our neighbors is also to share what we have with others – this is the spirit among Cubans, but we also try to educate our young generation in this spirit, to share what we have with others, because this is the only solution for the world.”

We welcome President Diaz-Canel and his formula for sharing as a solution for the world’s woes.