This event has been cancelled.
The Grenfell Tower fire tragedy is now subject to criminal investigation by the Metropolitan Police Service. (MPS) This represents a real opportunity for the survivors to achieve some level of justice. However, it’s one thing to announce a criminal investigation, another to ensure that prosecutions are being brought, and convictions being achieved.
This important investigation must enjoy the complete confidence of the survivors, those affected by the fire, and the wider public.
There are three key areas of major concern:
- Maintaining public confidence
- Ensuring the appropriate resources, focus and remit of the inquiry.
- Determining the exact number of those thought dead.
- The immigration status of potential witnesses
- Independent and on-going community scrutiny of the police investigation
The MPS has said there are “reasonable grounds” to suspect both the council and the TMO that managed the tower block of Corporate Manslaughter.
The organisations under suspicion are Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea and the Kensington and Chelsea Tenant Management Organisation. Plus 60 odd Grenfell contractors involved in the refurbishment
The law on Corporate Manslaughter requires any prosecution to prove that there was a gross breach of a relevant duty of care owed to those who died.
However the 2007 Act does not give MPS the power to arrest any individual from the organisations under suspicion.
Criminal sanctions are negligible. Anyone found guilty is liable to a fine, not imprisonment. A fine would not represent justice for the Grenfell victims and their families. That’s why Gross Negligence Involuntary Manslaughter is a much preferable charge and can result in the guilty doing prison time.
The Mayor is responsible for the MPS. Every month the MPS report to the London Assembly and the Mayor about key issues of crime and public safety in London in order to keep up public pressure in demanding a thorough investigation.
To do that we need to ensure that Londoners attend these monthly meetings and demand the opportunity to ask the Senior Investigations Officer and his team public questions.
J4G has grave concerns that the Public Inquiry into the Grenfell Tower disaster is being undermined before it has even begun and that this is no accident. Today, 31st August, marks the end of the time granted by the Government under their so-called “Amnesty” for undocumented people impacted by Grenfell to come forward.
Whilst – thanks to the continuing total lack of transparency from the relevant authorities – the Campaign doesn’t know if any undocumented individuals who survived the fire have come forward, we seriously doubt it. The 12-month immigration “amnesty” appears to have been designed to discourage anyone from doing so.
Justice 4 Grenfell share the concerns expressed by many that the work of the Public Inquiry cannot be carried out thoroughly and its recommendations be meaningful without all the available evidence. The evidence of undocumented former residents of the Tower could be critical in establishing what actually happened on the night, why would the Government wish to prevent such evidence from being given?
The Judge chairing the Inquiry, Sir Martin Moore-Bik, has already indicated in his letter to the Prime Minister that he considers the 12-month period to be insufficient and that survivors will be discouraged from coming forward to give evidence as a result. The Leader of the Opposition has also written to the Prime Minister expressing his reservations about the limited immigration “Amnesty”.
J4G are calling on the Government to both extend the deadline and to grant a lifetime amnesty to anyone who comes forward. To do otherwise merely reinforces the impression that the Government are hoping for a cover up as opposed to a real understanding of all the factors that led up to the disaster that is Grenfell. Now is not the time to be pandering to a racist agenda.
2017’s Carnival officially opened at the end of the beautiful and moving Interfaith Service, dedicated to the victims, survivors, bereaved families and wider community impacted by the Grenfell disaster. The service took place at the Carnival Judging Point on Great Western Road on Sunday morning (August 27th) in front of an invited audience that included Grenfell Tower survivors, the London Mayor, Sadiq Khan and Emma Dent-Coad, MP for Kensington & Chelsea.
Clarrie Mendy, Carnival Ambassador and aunt of fire victim, artist Khadija Say spoke about a united, harmonious and respectful Carnival, honouring the memory of all those who lost their lives or who have suffered as a result of the fire.
The service set the tone for the two days, Carnival goers from far and wide honoured Grenfell in the minute’s silence held at 3 pm on both days, many also dressed in Green for Grenfell. Justice 4 Grenfell Campaign Coordinator, Moyra Samuels joined Ladbroke Grove firefighters for the minute’s silence on Monday.
The love and unity expressed during Carnival, the solidarity and the sorrow, all converged to make 2017’s Carnival a beautiful occasion, celebrating the best of humanity. Noticeably in a change from previous years, not all main-stream media coverage focused on the crime stats, many preferred to concentrate on Carnival’s response to Grenfell.
Justice 4 Grenfell wishes to thank everyone who came to Carnival, all the organisers, bands, troupes, sound systems, performers, vendors for helping to deliver a brilliant 2 days, we celebrated and we mourned. It was perfect, another example of the strength of our community.
At The Village Healing Circle
Acklam Village, 4-8 Acklam Road, Portobello, W10 5TY
Drop in for a cup of tea and a chat at 2pm every day. Grenfell residents are welcome to pick up New essentials from the village.
Tuesday 22nd August
3.30pm African Yoga for children with Pablo Imani
4.30pm Creative Writing with Zikko
5.30pm Fashion and Sewing Workshop with Jennifer and Rose
6.00pm Chanting with Nichiren Buddhists
Wednesday 23rd August
4.00pm Overtone Chanting ‘Love your unique sound’
5.30pm Yoga with Donna
Thursday 24th August
1.00pm Painting From Life! with Janet, Allison & Honey
2.00pm Children’s Singing Class with Emzee
3.00pm Creative Writing and Spoken Word Performance Workshop
5.00pm Boxercise with Micah
Friday 25th August
Info on pre-Carnival events coming soon
Justice4Grenfell Campaign notes the publication today of the recommended terms of reference for the Grenfell Tower Inquiry and the response of the Prime Minister Theresa May.
Judge Moore Bick had stated previously that the remit of the Inquiry would be narrow and that he felt it would not satisfy the demands of survivors or residents and the local community. We therefore welcome the fact that the inquiry has been broadened to examine such issues as “the response of central and local government in the days immediately following the fire”, however we remain of the opinion that the remit does not go far enough and that Kensington and Chelsea Council are not specifically named, when they are clearly culpable.
We believe that from the start of the process of announcing and setting up the terms of reference of the Inquiry, that the greatest consideration should have been given to the broadest remit possible to ensure all aspects of this avoidable disaster could be examined and lessons learnt to ensure such a disaster never occurs again. The broadening of the Inquiry terms of reference has only been announced following a massive amount of public pressure and this reflects the importance of the community never remaining silent and ensuring that their voices are heard.
J4G make the following comments:
- It is disappointing that the question of social housing especially social cleansing/gentrification will not be addressed in the Inquiry as this remains a critical issue not just for the community of North Kensington but across the country and goes to the heart of a changing ideological approach to social housing and the pursuit of profit rather than provision of safe, affordable, appropriate and adequate housing
- The Inquiry must have the ability and power to make recommendations regarding compliance in relation to a range of regulations; should this not be possible under the recommended terms of reference, then they will need to be broadened as the Inquiry unfolds, this will ensure that perfunctory answers are not given and that critical issues as they arise are addressed appropriately
- Community Advisors should be identified and contacted as soon as possible to be included on the Inquiry panel from the start of the Inquiry.
- The role of Dame Judith Hackett as chair of the Independent review is untenable given the building standards that are being challenged are those that she endorsed, such a major conflict of interest requires nothing less than her removal from the role
- Undocumented survivors must be granted a life time amnesty as they are not likely to participate in the Inquiry and their crucial evidence may not be included if they are only given a 12 month amnesty
The Government has the power and opportunity to ensure this Inquiry is meaningful, transparent and robust and that some justice is provided for the victims, survivors and their families, and the local community. In order for this to happen the Government must listen to and involve local community advisors. This will be the litmus test for community trust and confidence in the Inquiry process.
Lowkey, a North Kensington resident affected by the Grenfell disaster, brings the community together to call for justice with his latest release, Ghosts of Grenfell. Many of the local residents, key players in the community generated relief and support efforts, are featured in the accompanying video, demanding to know where are all those friends and neighbours who are still “missing”. Powerful, emotive, apposite.
Seven weeks after the apocalyptic fire at Grenfell Tower, the majority of survivors and evacuated residents remain without housing, despite all assurances to the contrary.
The official Grenfell Response newsletter of 1st August 2017 contains stark figures demonstrating the scale of the failure.
“So far, 174 offers of accommodation have been made, 45 offers have been accepted and 12 households have been rehoused.”
These figures are testament to the continuing misery and suffering people are enduring, people who’ve had such horrific and damaging experiences that even with exemplary care and rapid re-housing, it will take many years to recover.
The council’s approach to rehousing need – prioritising survivors from the Tower without taking into account individual circumstances of evacuated residents – whilst understandable, is proving too inflexible, causing some very vulnerable, evacuated residents great distress.
One such case is that of an 89-year-old disabled woman evacuated from Testerton Walk, her home since 1974. Bed ridden as the result of a stroke 3 years ago she had been cared for by her live-in son, Curtis, supplemented with a care package that provided 4 visits a day at home. Since being evacuated she’s been separated from her son, placed in 3 different care homes and hospitalised twice, the second time due to dehydration. This confirmed the family’s concerns about the level of care and attention she was receiving, since being evacuated she’s become very depressed and has lost a considerable amount of weight.
Despite being deemed a priority based on the housing needs points system, Curtis and his mum haven’t received a single rehousing offer. Returning to their previous home in Testerton Walk has been made impossible due to flooding caused by the temporary boiler. Their lives are in limbo, Curtis is deeply concerned about the serious impact this is having on his mother’s health
Another family of four also evacuated from Testerton Walk have been living in a hotel room for the last 7 weeks with no form of communication from the Council or other relevant authorities. The mother told J4G that, whilst she recognises these are extraordinary circumstances,
“It feels as if we’re forgotten, that our issues are not important; we’re made to feel that we should be grateful, but how can we move on with our lives?”
Whilst J4G recognises the complexities of the situation, leaving severely traumatised and disabled people unsupported in inappropriate accommodation that only serves to increase the severity of their trauma is not acceptable. Everything is taking too long, there remains a distinct lack of empathy and care from many of those in authority, rebuilding trust is more or less impossible in such toxic conditions. The Council must do better.