The following is a press release from McKenzie Beute and Pope - Immigration and Asylum Law Practise

PRESS RELEASE

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

WINDRUSH MAN TO BE BURIED

Dexter Bristol, a 58-year-old man who was born in Grenada on the 11 March 1960 and whose death is attributable to the problems he had trying to prove that he was a British citizen, is to be buried tomorrow 17 May 2018 at the Honor Oak Crematorium in south east London at 3.00 pm. His death, on the 29 March 2018, is subject to an inquest in July 2018, but initial thoughts are that he either died by taking his own life or that he had a heart attack.

Dexter's attempts to prove that he was a British citizen put him under enormous stress. The family have not heard from anyone in the government with offers of condolences or any other information despite bringing his death to the attention of Amber Rudd, the former Secretary of State, in person, at a meeting of Caribbean High Commissioners held at the Home Office on the 20 April 2018. Instead the government has tried to obfuscate the issue by advising the media that he did not make an application to the home office.

Dexter arrived in the UK in 1968, aged just eight, on his mother’s British Subject passport. In May 2017, Dexter’s life was to change forever. He had been unwell but had been deemed fit to work and had been offered a cleaning job. He was shocked to find that an offer of a job would fall through when he could not prove that he was a British

citizen and that his right to receive benefits was being challenged. He described this reality with a mixture of humour and incredulity, believing that it would be a matter of days or weeks at the most before he could prove his immigration status. What followed however was a ten-month trek through an almighty bureaucracy which started when the Home Office would tell him that there was no evidence of his immigration status or that he was lawfully in the UK. He was told that he could make an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain but to do so he would need a passport of his country of birth. This took Dexter to the Grenada High Commission but owing to a spelling error on his birth certificate and a family name which differed from the one he was known by in England, a passport could not be issued until a correction could be made. Dexter finally got a new birth certificate in August 2017 and a Grenada passport in November 2017. However, whilst all of this was going on, Dexter was also required to prove not just the day that he arrived in England but the story of his life in the country. This proved very difficult. Both his primary and secondary schools no longer existed, his National Insurance records went back to 1976 only and his medical records went back to the 1980s. He was required to show that he was in England on the 1 January 1973 and that he had remained for at least five years. This was despite him being named in his mother’s British passport as an eight-year-old minor.

With Dexter’s newly obtained Grenada passport, an application for a subject access of his file was made to the Home Office on the 19 December 2017. On the 10 January 2018, three weeks later, the Home Office wrote back advising that the photo ID submitted required a certification that this was a true likeness of Dexter. On the 16 January 2018, this information was sent to the Home Office. Under the Data Protection Act, the Home Office have 40 days to provide this information. This request is still pending in May 2018 and the matter has been reported to the Office of the Information Commissioner.

It was hoped that if there was a file for Dexter at the Home Office, that it might contain a landing card or details of his mother’s own naturalisation application, which might in turn provide some evidence of his own life in England. A slight breakthrough arrived in a document from the London Borough of Southwark on the 12 March 2018, which placed him in England in June 1974. His lawyers tried to reassure Dexter that he would be fine based on a similar case they had done. He was not so sure and would sink deeper and

deeper into despair as each piece of evidence came in or not as in the case of the request to the Home Office. To lift Dexter’s spirits, his lawyers wrote to him on the 29 March 2018 to say that we wanted to submit an application to the Home Office for a No Time Limit Stamp, using the evidence dating back to June 1974 and his mother’s passport which had his name in it. Dexter died that night and that letter, unopened, was found amongst his very few possessions. A copy of that letter was sent to his mother and she got hers on the 31 March 2018. Dexter’s death is the subject of an Inquest which is currently scheduled for July 2018.

Jacqueline McKenzie, Dexter’s family lawyer said” We have been doing Windrush cases for the past five years but in the past year, the numbers have increased as a result of employers, universities, landlords, banks and the NHS conducting checks on person’s immigration status. The fact that British people have been made to feel so unwelcomed and unworthy in their own country is a damning indictment on a government that was proud to predicate its immigration policy on the basis of hostility.”

Patrick Vernon, Director of mental health organisation Black Thrive and originator of the Windrush Petition believes that the “Windrush scandal has highlighted the issue of the impact of multi-generational trauma and mental wellbeing and these issues must be reflected in the compensation package offered from the government.”

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Contact:

Jacqueline McKenzie

McKenzie Beute and Pope

11 Sternhold Avenue

London SW2 4PA

Tel: 020 8671 7989

Mob: 07961 148 568

Email: [email protected]